Cove council forum

VFW Post 8577 Commander Ron Abrahamson introduces the candidates for Copperas Cove City Council Place 6 Friday evening. From left are incumbent Marc Payne, Vonya Hart and Terri Deans. A fourth candidate, Gary Kent, was not present for the forum.

COPPERAS COVE — Three of the four candidates for Copperas Cove City Council Place 6 — incumbent Marc Payne, Terri Deans and Vonya Hart — attended a candidate forum Friday night to field questions about the pandemic, utilities and roadwork.

Gary Kent, a fourth candidate, did not attend.

The candidates met at the VFW Post 8577 in Copperas Cove, an event moderated by William Abel of the VFW.

The first question Abel asked was about the pandemic and how the city handled it.

Hart said residents should show grace for how the city council responded to the pandemic.

The city council deadlocked on a vote on May 16 to extend the city’s disaster declaration. Mayor Bradi Diaz had to break the tie and voted in favor of extending it.

Councilman Dan Yancey was absent from that meeting.

“We have our own different opinions of how that could’ve happened,” Hart said. “But remember how we were as a city and how this came into our city … so any decision that was made at that time, I support it.”

Deans said no city or state was prepared any more than another for the pandemic and its effects.

“I wasn’t part of the city council when they made the decision,” Deans said. “I think they did the best they could with what they had at the time. There were no right answers. There were no wrong answers.”

Payne was one of the ones who voted in favor of extending the disaster declaration.

“When this came up, I tended to lean toward the professionals as far as what they recommended,” he said. “I would vote for it again, because when we attack these things early on, we have a much shorter painful time.”

To address the utilities and the fallout from the sudden discontinuance of Fathom Water Group, and the sudden resumption of responsibility from the city, Deans said that in her opinion, the city did the best it could with what it was up against.

Payne said the city has gone to great lengths to investigate and try to find out why some water bills are too high. For some people, the answer is as simple as having a water leak, he said.

Hart also implored the residents to show grace to the city. She said she sees the system getting better and progressing to a full resolution.

Early voting begins Tuesday. The locations are the Copperas Cove Civic Center, 1206 W. Avenue B, Copperas Cove, and the Gatesville Civic Center, 301 Veteran’s Memorial Drive, Gatesville.

Early voting is Oct. 13 through Oct. 16, Oct. 19 through Oct. 23 and Oct. 26 through Oct. 30.

The time for Oct. 20 and Oct. 27 is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. All other days, it is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ballots by mail can still be requested by sending applications to Early Voting Clerk, P.O. Box 6, Gatesville, TX 76528.

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