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updated 4:30 PM UTC, Nov 13, 2019

County receives audit reports; courthouse update

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Tyler County received an opinion of “unmodified” on its fiscal year 2018-19 audit. The findings were presented during Monday morning’s meeting of the commissioners court.

Darla Belt Dear, of the firm Belt, Harris, Pechacek, LLP was on hand to present a draft of the audit to county officials. Dear praised the efforts of county employees, particularly county auditor Jackie Skinner and her staff, for an exceptional job in handling the county’s expenditures. The unmodified opinion is the highest finding an entity can receive on an audit finding, Dear noted.
In the general fund, Dear reported total revenue for the county at $9,747,414 and total expenditures at $8,770,505.

“Overall we are in solid shape as a governmental entity. We are adequately reserved for any major concern that should effect Tyler County,” county judge Jacques Blanchette said. Blanchette expressed gratitude to Dear for her work in presenting the audit and noted that Sunny Gardner was responsible for compiling it.

Blanchette proposed a workshop with Dear so that new commissioners Stevan Sturrock and Buck Hudson to become familiar with the process used to compile the audit’s findings.

Skinner noted that the audit goes to the firm’s main office once it is put together, where it is examined and checked for accuracy by at least two more representatives. “It’s not just one person auditing all of the county business…it goes through four different layers,” she said.

Commissioners voted to approve the draft of the audit for a final presentation.

Courthouse project update
Under the standing agenda item of updates on the courthouse remediation project, Blanchette said the committee met last Friday with the LaBiche architectural firm, who are working as the preservation architects on the project, as mandated by the Texas Historical Commission.

Committee member Kay Timme reported that the two architects present at the meeting were “very pleased with the way things are going.” The last progress report indicated that LaBiche was 30 percent done with drawings, and once complete, they will present them to THC in order to move forward.

Blanchette said that in the meeting, it was revealed that general construction laborers will be able to work on parts of the project instead of workers who specialize in historic preservation projects, which will save the county money. The county will also be able to save on materials used in the project, Blanchette said.

Office lease revised, relocated
Commissioners approved a revised lease agreement for the office of State Representative James White. White’s office space has been relocated from the Tyler County Annex located on West Bluff Street to the suite of offices on North Charlton Street, which also houses the adult probation office and commissioners’ offices.

The Annex sustained water damage two weeks ago when a water heater burst and flooded the building. The damage also necessitated moving the tax assessor/collector’s office and the Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Office. The former was also moved to the building located at 203 N. Charlton, whereas the DPS office relocation will take a little longer.

“It looks like that may be a good place for him to satisfy the requirements of the state offices which oversee reps’ offices,” Blanchette said.

Other Business
During Monday morning’s meetings, county commissioners also approved the following items:
• Commissioners voted to move the county’s human resources and payroll departments into the treasurer’s office, effective in January 2020. They also approved training for those departments to take place in November at a cost of around $5,000.
• A renewal was approved for an existing interlocal agreement between the county and Lubbock County for the service of using regional public defenders on capital cases tried in the county.
• Commissioners approved a series of interlocal agreements between the county and Spurger, Warren and Woodville independent school districts for the use of materials and manpower on infrastructure projects.
• An interlocal agreement with Texas Department of Information Resources was approved. By requirement of the Secretary of State, an election security assessment exercise must be conducted. The exercise will be done at no cost to the county, unless a breach of security is found.
• Commissioners voted to approve the renewal of the Leads Online service for the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office. The service is used to assist in investigations.

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