Commissioners hammer out plans for TxDOT grant

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Monday was a long day for Robertson County Commissioners as they met first in a workshop and then as the Court to make plans for spending TxDOT funds allocated to Texas counties with oil and gas truck damage—an opportunity Judge Jan Roe and the court jumped on a few months ago. Though commissioners have to do a little more work to “seal the deal,” like making precise measurements and listing likely contractors and charges, the County will soon see some additional funds in its Road and Bridge funds.

During the regular meeting, the Court accepted collections from of the County Clerk’s office of $32,476.75 and from the District Clerk of $8,269.29. It also spend several minutes at Treasurer Mindy Turner’s request trying to work out how to pay Election Office staff for both hours over 40 and holiday hours when they coincide as they did at the end of May when the primary run-off resulted in the Election Office working both over time and on Memorial Day—a county holiday. The County pays time-and-a-half for hours over the usual 40 and holiday pay for hours worked on County holidays.

The panel approved Constable Vince Angele’s request to purchase a new patrol vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe at $31,200, this month rather than waiting until the new budget cycle begins on October 1. He explained that one of his Pct. 1 vehicles had reached 100,000 miles on the odometer, the point at which county vehicles are supposed to be traded, and the County would save about $5,000 by buying a 2014 vehicle now rather than waiting for the 2015’s. Some of the cost of purchase will be defrayed by the sale of the old Tahoe.

Under “construction-related matters,” Roe asked that any County staff members who had noticed issues with recent construction contact her in writing so problems could be resolved. Commissioner Donald Threadgill (pct. 2) noted that courthouse square yard levels were still too high, resulting in flooded sidewalks when it rains, but he doubted much could be done about the problem since grass seed had already been planted.

Next, Roe and the Court accepted the donation of a law library, contributed by recently retired Houston attorney Kenneth Kay. Kay has retired to Wheelock, his wife’s home town, and with his donation, filled a lot of holes in the County’s law library.

The Count looked at the County Appraisal District’s proposed 2015 budget but did not approve it until Appraisal District staff came into the Court a few minutes later to answer questions. Though the budget was slightly less than the previous year’s due to a decrease in attorney’s fees after a law suit against the District was settled, Commissioner Threadgill questioned the office’s practice of increasing staff salaries most years (3% for 2015), even when other County employees were not receiving raises. The Court approved the budget but urged the Appraisal District to revisit that practice.

The panel passed the order which will allow it to limit the types of fireworks sold in case drought conditions return by July 4, but all agreed there is no reason to institute a burn ban now (a situation which would also mandate a limit on the sale of certain types of fireworks).

Commissioners allowed the County to change the name of New Bethlehem Rd. to “Bethlehem Church Rd.”—Bethlehem Church is the road’s only occupant.
Next, the court agreed to meet one more time—on the following Monday—to complete work on the TxDOT TIF grant. It authorized use of County equipment to provide part of the in-kind match for the grant and authorized Grantworks out of Madisonville as its TIF grant manager.

The Court approved an invoice listing of $385,052 with modifications. By looking closely at the listing, Roe and the panel found a couple of incorrect listings which lowered the total by about $50,000.

The panel concluded its business by approving a budget analysis report for May, 2014 and adjourned.

Melissa Freeman | Robertson County News

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