County Commissioners busy with second meeting in August

by Stephen R. Juneau

Tyler County Commissioners convened for their second meeting of the month at 8:30 A.M., August 18, in Room 101 in the Tyler County Court House. Commissioner Jack Walston gave an invocation followed by Judge Jacques Blanchette leading in the Texas Pledge being the 2nd meeting of the month.

Due to a number of guests out from Amanda Lake having an interest in Agenda Items E & F, Judge Blanchette—with the endorsement of all Commissioners—chose to address those two items of interest of those guest first up. (See Commissioners Court Decision Appealed.) Afterwards, Judge Blanchette went on to addressing all remaining items on the agenda.

Starting out was the approval of the Minutes from previous meetings. Next up was the consideration of budget amendments/line item transfers; however, since there were none to consider, the judge moved on to Item C: Paying County Bills. Item C was approved.

Item D required the opening of bids for emergency standby services in the event of a hurricane type disaster. The only bid received was from DRC Emergency Services. Their services included emergency supplies and support, debris management, tree trimming and removal, demolition, traffic control and fourteen other services. With hurricane season around the corner and favorable reviews of the company received by County Auditor Jackie Skinner, Commissioners voted unanimously to award DRC with the contract. According to Mrs. Skinner, ‟Projects projected to exceed $50,000 must be in compliance with the Competitive Bid Law." The Competitive Bid Law is designed to obtain the best products/services at the lowest practical price. Regardless of having received only the one bid, County Officials met the requirement of that law. Approved!

Item G was to approve the joint election agreements with cities and school districts elections with the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election. Approved!

Item H was to approve the appointment of Margaret Pope as alternate election judge for Pct. 18 for a two-year term. According to County Clerk Donece Gregory, ‟The law requires that the position of ‛precinct election judge in a General Election' be determined by the party that received the majority of votes in the last governor's race in that voting precinct. Hence, Gail Husband, a Republican, will continue in her role as election judge; while Margaret Pope, a Democrat, will serve as alternate." Approved!

Item I was for the sponsorship of a DETCOG (Deep East Texas Council of Governments) Lunch Meeting on Sept. 15. This is an annual ‟Board of Directors" meeting involving various government leaders throughout the twelve counties of Deep East Texas. The twelve are: Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, & Tyler. Commissioner Nash referred to the success of Tyler County hosting the event as people enjoy coming out to Tyler County for the event. He recommended the spending of more money on the event which Judge Blanchette endorsed. Approved! (The board will hold their luncheon in the First Baptist Church, Family Life Center, followed by their Board Meeting. DETCOG'S President is Lufkin City Commissioner Lynn Torres.)

J. Memorandum of Understanding between Texas A & M Agrilife Extension Service and County for IT Services. Judge Blanchette explained, ‟Here is the essence of what this is: It is a renewable arrangement that we have—renewable every two years. The county provides for Internet access and provides for the Usual and Customary Services that are afforded to the county. Any special types of needs they have pertaining to what they want, they are responsible for." Approved!

K. Revised Proposal to Provide Professional Engineering/Consulting Services Roof Condition Assessment of Courthouse, County Clerk, Annex, and District Attorney offices. This was a follow up from Commissioners Court held on Aug. 8. After a study of the conditions of Tyler County buildings, County Treasurer Sue Saunders, reported that the following structures were removed from the list as not being in need of repairs: Commissioners Complex, the Justice Center and the Nutrition Center. The removable of the three resulted in a sizable cost saving factor for Tyler County, it was approved!

Agenda Item L was for the appointment of Raymond Wooten to the Emergency Service District (ESD) #2 as a result of the death of Robert Mott who held the position. Commissioner Jack Walston cited that Wooten lived in that district and owned property there. He added that Mr. Mott was associated with the volunteer fire dept. for years before it became an ESD. Approved!

Item M was for a correction to ‟911" Maps on CR 3230 and CR 4368 since those maps have at times, erroneously routed drivers beyond them onto private property which is not maintained by the county. Approved!

Item N was to assist Woodville Youth Football League financially with $2,000 for equipment having had an increase in its youth enrollment. Commissioner Marshall pointed out that, ‟Dues were raised from $85 to $95; however, if it goes any higher the kids won't be able to play." The $2,000 is within the County's limit of $6,000 in donations to youth organizations which is included in the county's budget. Approved!

Item O was to seek bids on a 2016 dump truck having 14/15yard capacity. Approved!

Item P was for the Renewal of Title IV-E Child Welfare Contract #23938992 with Texas Dept. of Family & Protective Services. Title IV-E is Foster Care. Auditor Jackie Skinner described the contract as follows: ‟What that contract does is any child services that the Tyler County Child Welfare Board provides through their funds, providing the requirements are met, will be reimbursed to them by Title IV-E funds." Approved! [Kathy Harris, a Child Welfare Board (CWB) Member clarified as follows: ‟Child Protective Services (CPS) is responsible for placing children in foster homes. The local CWB Members are appointed by Commissioner's Court to be advocates of the foster children from Tyler County. The Title IV-E contract allows the CWB to apply for Federal Title IV-E Reimbursable Funds. These funds provide financial assistance related to the care of the foster children from Tyler County. Tyler County has eleven volunteers on its Child Welfare Board headed by Chairman Terry Allen."

The final item on the agenda was for the Renewal of SAVNS (Statewide Automated Victim Notification Service) Maintenance Contract #1772110 for Fiscal Year 2017. Judge Blanchette pointed out that the fiscal year for this contract renewal begins Sept. 1, therefore, it was up for renewal. County Auditor Jackie Skinner explained that the contract was actually twofold: ‟Contract with the State; but, also with APRISS: the vendor providing the service." The cost to the county is at $6,000. APPRISS—derived from the word "apprise," sets out to enable victims of crime to remain informed or apprised concerning the status of their incarcerated or released-from-prison attackers. Approved!
Having addressed all agenda items, Judge Blanchette adjourned the meeting.

Presiding over the meeting was Tyler County Judge Jacques Blanchette. All other county officials who make up the court were present. They include Commissioners Martin Nash, Pct. 1; Rusty Hughes, Pct. 2; Mike Marshall, Pct. 3; and Jack Walston, Pct. 4. Also present throughout the meeting were County Auditor Jackie Skinner, County Clerk Donece Gregory, County Treasurer Sue Saunders, and Ben Kissee representing the Office of the DA.