Commissioners lend support to Hearne’s civic center project and approve bid to build county election center

During its second regular session, the Robertson County Commissioners Court handled a number of routine matters and agreed in principal to support the city of Hearne’s efforts to convert some downtown buildings into an education and civic center. Though not asking for funds at this time, the Hearne hoped that in the near future the County would provide two to four payments totaling $60,000 from County Hotel/Motel tax (about half of the County’s collections from Hearne hotels and motels) in support of a new civic center. The County would, in turn, have a say in how the facility was managed. Hearne Economic Development Director Kent Brunette provided the County with a similar agreement from the city/county of Nacogdoches to serve as a model.
The court voted to record its contracts with both major political parties to hold primary elections. It also approved district clerk collections of $7,428.37 for September and $6,469.27 for October.
Next the panel approved a $21,000 plus purchase of a computer, monitor and external drives for the Precinct 2 constable’s office, so that Constable Benny McRae and Deputy Paul Shipper can download extensive video files from patrol vehicle recorders. Currently, Pct. 2 does not have an office computer. Though the pair requested two, the Commissioners and Judge Jan Roe thought it would be advisable to hold off on the purchase of the second to make sure the new Pct. 2 constable’s office in the restored historic courthouse would have room for two desktops.
Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez asked the County to make a decision on whether or not the cities and county would combine their 911 dispatch. He explained that the City’s Police Department facilities were outdated and that its jail probably could not pass an inspection. Before the city decides what to do with its police and fire department facilities, he needed to know if the County would centralize county/city 911 dispatching and if the county jail would take prisoners typically held in the Hearne City Jail, thus allowing the City to design combined PD and Fire Station facilities without those two elements.
County Sheriff Gerald Yezak said he would be glad to meet with Gomez and Judge Roe said she would move forward with forming a committee to consider the advisability of merging 911 dispatching. Roe and the commissioners also voted to allow the County to be the agent for the city of Hearne to secure a grant to complete improvements to the Humble Water System
The court allowed Commissioner Robert Bielamowicz (Pct. 4) to clear trees that contributed to a blind curve on Richard Haley Rd. to improve visibility for better traffic safety, and turned the floor over the Jim Hanks, County Courthouse construction manager. Hanks said that the historic courthouse was almost completed. The roof is done except for a few decorative items, the courthouse clock is being shipped, and the doors are being moved in.
In response to Commissioner Donald Threadgill’s request for better access to the AC units, contractors are putting in another access panel, and walkways will allow workers to access each one of several units, said Hanks. County offices will move into the reconstructed courthouse on the weekend following New Years, and Roe said she hoped to have an open house so that county residents can take a walk through the courthouse on January 2 or 3.
In other construction business, the panel accepted a single bid to construct the County Election Center from Kingham and Thacker out of Bryan. Hanks said the request for bids had gone out both locally and state and nation – wide but Kingham and Thacker is the only construction firm to make a bid. Negotiations with Kingham and Thacker will begin shortly so the project and get underway soon.
The Court approved a service renewal with Appriss, a company that assists the County’s Victim’s Assistance program at no cost to the County. It approved a $2,000 payment from County HOT tax to Camp Hearne for advertisement of its October event.
The County approved a request made by International Technologies Management to conduct geophysical surveys in Precinct 2 and also approved the lease of a quarter acre in Wheelock to Energy Exploration Partners for minerals development. Next it approved a second computer purchase, this one for On-sight Septic inspector Kenny DeBoard to enable him to do floodplain monitoring.
After approving an invoice listing of $82,305.57 and allowing commissioners to go out for bids for contract hauling, fuel and rock, the Court adjourned.

Melissa Freeman | Robertson County News

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