Proposed children’s home faces opposition/Youth 10 and under housed at former church and would attend local school

Posted by : admin | On : September 28, 2017

By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
TRINIDAD–A proposed children’s home to be housed at the former First Baptist Church of Trinidad faced pushback from speakers during the Trinidad City Council meeting on Sept. 26.
Hugh Roberts, along with his wife, Charlotte, and Matt Zimmer spoke to council members on behalf of “In His Hands Ministry,” then held an hour-long discussion. The children’s home issue first came up for council discussion in March 2015.
The ministry intends to obtain licensing from the state Child Protective Services (CPS) to house youth age 10 and under at the former church property on Lawrence Street, which Hugh Roberts said would need to be resurveyed and have required notices posted before opening.
The children’s home intends to send its kids to a local school district, preferably Trinidad, according to ministry speakers. But Charlotte Roberts said if community opposition dictated it, the children’s home would send its kids to Malakoff schools instead. Those at the children’s home would move through the state-certified Level 1 facility at 90-day intervals.
The 10,000-square foot former church facility already is zoned for such purposes and would need no approval from the city to move forward, ministry speakers said. Those proposing the children’s home do want to have community support, they added.
Mayor Pro Tem Kay Hernandez said the City of Trinidad has consulted with its attorney, who informed them that current zoning allows the children’s home on the property. “We (the council) can’t say yes or no, but the community can,” Hernandez said.
One community opinion came from Kenneth Carter, a former law enforcement officer. “We are not against the kids, they are just in the wrong town,” Carter said. Other concerns included strains on the Trinidad Police Department, other city services such as water, and the Trinidad school district.
The First Baptist Church property was sold by its former directors to Caney Creek Baptist Church, which in turn sold it to the ministry, Hugh Roberts said. Charlotte Roberts said the former First Baptist Church board of directors wanted the facility to house the children’s home.
Trinidad City Council took no action on the matter but urged further meetings with the community, including Trinidad ISD trustees.
In other action, Trinidad City Council approved Mick Coffman to the Trinidad Economic Development Corporation (EDC) board of directors and approved an audit of fiscal year ending (FYE) 2016, which Trinidad City Administrator Terri Newhouse said reflected city finances as “holding our own.”
The Trinidad council also approved the municipal tax rate and budget during an Aug. 29 special meeting. The tax rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year is 49.8045 cents per $100 property valuation. The budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2017 and ending Sept. 30, 2018 totals about $1.2 million.
Council members also cancelled the municipal election that had been set for Nov. 7 because no one signed up to face council incumbents Chris Quinn and Beth Parker. The position of Trinidad mayor also was to be decided on Nov. 7, but that election was cancelled, too, for lack of suitors.
Mayor Pro Tem Kay Hernandez, who is up for election in 2018, has served as mayor since its former occupant, Larry Estes, resigned in Oct. 2016.