updated 7:00 PM UTC, May 27, 2020

County approves COVID-19 budget amendment

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – Tyler County Commissioners approved a measure to pay for COVID-19 related expenses out of the county’s emergency disaster relief fund on Monday.

The commissioners teleconferenced with County Judge Jacques Blanchette and other officials on Monday morning. 

County Auditor Jackie Skinner said that although the county has its existing disaster relief fund within the budget, the pandemic crisis has necessitated some amendments within the budget. “This is a different kind of disaster than we’re typically used to,” she said.

Skinner asked for commissioners to approve two distinct line items within the budget for COVID-19 related expenses, one for local expenditures and a second for mutual aid with other counties.

The separation of the line items for the expenses will track expenditures, so as to expedite reimbursements, Skinner said.

Retainer agreement approved

Skinner made a request to the court for the county to retain the services of Allison, Bass and Magee to assist with procuring grant funds for road repairs.

She spoke about a round of state-funded money the county can apply for, as soon as next month. The county is eligible for up to $200K under the grant. After discussing the particulars of the grant, the commissioners approved retaining the services of the firm, with a cap on the amount of pay.

Bids discussed

At its last regular meeting, the court received and opened seven sealed bids for the procurement of road and bridge materials for the county.

The move to award one of the bids was on Monday’s agenda, however Skinner said that since then some bids have come in, with bidders unsure of how to get bids turned in on time with offices closed. Additionally, she said the mail is stagnant on some days, and it has been difficult for some firms to make bids on items who ordinarily would do so.

She asked that the court reject the existing bids and go out for them again, so that everyone wishing to bid can do so. The new bid request will be accompanied by specific instructions on how to get the bids to the court. 

The commissioners approved Skinner’s request, but on another agenda item, went ahead and awarded a bid for petroleum products for the county to Gardner Oil.

Skinner said she checked on this item, and the county typically only receives one bid for it. When the bids were opened at the last meeting, two were received.

Other Business

During the public comments portion of the meeting, flight instructor Reno Jaton addressed the commissioners about the possibility of moving his business to Woodville and utilizing the county’s airport. 

Additionally, Jaton spoke about his business partner’s interest in offering skydiving lessons at the airport. Pct. 3 Commissioner Mike Marshall, who has been in communication with Jaton, said that such services can possibly earn the airport a little more attention.

“Anything that could bring in or attract people would be good,” said Marshall.

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