No show: Plum Grove council members absent from crucial budget, tax rate meeting

Councilwoman Deborah Bell, City Secretary Missy and Mayor Mary Arrendell sit in Plum Grove City Council chambers waiting for the remaining council members to show up on Sept. 11. Four of the five council members were no-shows.

September is a crucial month for cities, counties and governmental bodies all across the country. It is a time when tax rates are set, budgets are created, and both are approved in time for the new fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1.

The City of Plum Grove is in limbo as four of the five members of council failed to attend the Sept. 11 regular council meeting. Only Position 1 Councilwoman Deborah Bell, Mayor Mary Arrendell and City Secretary Missy Pouncey were in attendance.

Sources close to some of the council members say the group plans to sit out the next meetings as well on Sept. 19 and 28, the latter of which is when the budget and tax rate must be passed.

Their decision to sit out the meetings will be unexcused, according to Mayor Arrendell, except for one councilmember who will be outside the country at the time of the meetings and had already advised the City he would be absent.

With required legal deadlines looming, Pouncey went forward with posting notices for the 2024 fiscal year budget and tax rate hearings in print publications.

Pouncey told Bluebonnet News that she is posting a legal notice for a no-new-revenue tax rate, though she is getting little to no direction from the absent council members about what tax rate they hope to set.

“I am assuming that none of the council members will want to go with a higher tax rate,” Pouncey said. “Since we are required by law to have our budget hearing and tax rate hearing information in print publications, the City has no choice but to move forward with getting the information posted.”

According to Pouncey, the budget hearing is set for 6:30 p.m., with the tax rate hearing to follow at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Plum Grove City Hall.

When asked what will happen if the council members fail to show up for the meeting to approve the tax rate and budget, Pouncey said the City is seeking advice from the City Attorney and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


  1. Fk’n Sht Hole…Liberty county is like a 3rd world country now. Round them all up and force them back across the border. City of Plum Grove will always be corrupt until you run all those corrupt women out of the city.

  2. Is there an allowance in the proposed budget to build a wall around Plum Grove so we can keep all these illegals contained? Can we at least get that?

  3. Got to raise those tax rates to be able to afford to pay for all the service calls and resources these wets consume. What a damn burden- way to go Liberty County officials! And I see they are still allowing development out there by Colony Ridge even though it’s pretty clear that doesn’t align with the safety and sanctity of your legal constituents, even though there is legal recourse for you to stop it- just like any other criminal enterprise or environmental hazard.

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