State of the City and County

Two leaders, one a mayor, the other a county judge are discovering they have very much in common. At one time their issues would be miles apart, but growth ignores a long gone distinction between city and rural concerns.

Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter noted,  " Lufkin is growing. They are busting at the seams. They keep annexing more and more territory, more and more land, which what it does it shrinks our rural areas. " Mayor Jack Gorden responded,  " There are similar needs between the city and the county and as time goes by I see us working more closely together. "

The collaboration has already begun. They recognize that population shifts from rural to urban will create a need for a larger infrastructure. Ignoring the need would create a nightmare for residents and developers.

The mayor said,  " The number one thing to me is better jobs. More and better jobs. " together they plan to take care of existing industry, while attempting to attract new. Judge Suiter said,  " We still need to go after large industrial base companies an technical companies. We want to have a place for our kids to grow up, go to college, come back to work, make Angelina county prosper and we can't do that just with fast food and retail industry. "

Major projects in the works include the expansion of Highway 59, which during construction  may hurt sales tax revenue, but once completed will help move traffic along. An airport study, landfill expansion and the pursuit of a mental health facility are other programs on the 'to do' list.

Quality of life remains a big concern. The judge is excited about developments of the Cassel Boykins Recreation Area. It will provide the first and only handicap fishing pier for the physically disabled. The mayor is spreading the word about Lufkin to retirees. They emphasize what is achieved in 2008 will take the work of an entire community. No one can handle the issues alone.