Bill Pupo

Meeting facilitator Bill Pupo transcribes the community’s conversation at the Duncan Town Hall last week.

DUNCAN – It was very nearly standing room only at the third community conversation meeting at Duncan Town Hall last week.

Facilitator Bill Pupo mediated a conversation between town and county officials and residents to discuss the best steps to take for the advancement of the community.

As the third in the series, much of the conversation focused on developing more businesses, more opportunities and better maintenance of assets and facilities.

Committees were being reformed and the flow of ideas was there, but the funding required for many steps is still a process in need of development.

The condition of the roads in Duncan is a prime example of the problem the town faces. As Town Manager John Basteen discussed, the annual budget of the town is just $1.2 million in total. That’s a problem for a town with a lot of holes to patch.

“Conversationally, it’s about $1 million a mile,” Pupo said in regard to the average cost to repair a crumbling road. Basteen had put estimates at $760,000 to repair High Street in Duncan.

“It may take 10 years, but we do have a plan,” Duncan Mayor Anne Thurman told the audience, discussing plans to apply for Colonias grants.

As solutions go, the town has considered raising its tax revenue through annexation of areas around Duncan — the Family Dollar in particular would be a shot in the arm. Currently, Duncan collects only $12,000 in property taxes per annum, and at least $6,000 was not received in back taxes from delinquent property owners.

Several attending community members voiced their interest in seeing the town grow and prosper but were disinclined to be annexed, in spite of certain incentives offered by the town.

While conversation became slightly heated in the room, Pupo praised the spirited discussion but offered to members of the community that some of their ideas might be “champagne expectations with a bottle of water.”

In the meantime, Duncan will have to take small sips to meet its goals.

“Patience is something I want to ask of you all; please be patient,” Thurman said.

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