By Emily Banks Wooten
Proposed expenditures from maintenance capital outlay buildings—which are budgeted funds—for the installation of a secure transaction window for the Precinct 3 justice of the peace and an HVAC unit for the Polk County Sub-Courthouse in Onalaska were approved by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday.
Based on the recommendations of Polk County Maintenance Superintendent Jay Burks, Commissioners approved a quote of $5,100 from Covenant Security Equipment for the window and a bid for $3,490 from Delta T Heating & Cooling for the replacement of the HVAC unit that recently caused damage in the office of Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent.
“I’d also like to say that Jay and his department did an excellent job in getting that and got it back together in a timely manner,” Vincent said.
“The maintenance department has done a tremendous job,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said.
Commissioners approved a $66,177.50 expenditure from the general fund balance for the installation of air scrubbers—specifically Reme Halos with LED bulbs (an in-duct air purifier)—in county buildings to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. According to Burks, both the sheriff’s offices and the jail have already been completed with air scrubbers. The hope is that this will not only help reduce the spread of COVID-19 but will also help with flu season.
The Court approved to advertise a request for qualifications (RFQ) for architecture services relating to renovations at the Polk County Sub-Courthouse in Corrigan. According to Murphy, there’s a lot of wasted space with the present configuration. In related activity, Commissioners appointed Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis, the county maintenance department and Jessica Hutchins from grants and contracts to serve on a committee to review and make recommendations regarding the RFQ.
Commissioners approved rescheduling the regular commissioners court session set for Tuesday, November 23 to Monday, November 22 due to the court’s attendance at the Deep East Texas Council of Governments meeting hosted by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe on the 23rd.
The Court received a nuisance abatement hearing determination for Cause No. A00440. Following a hearing in Polk County Justice Court it was determined that the public nuisance referred to be immediately abated and removed by the Polk County environmental enforcement officer and/or the Polk County commissioner and the nuisance be disposed of by state law. Located in Precinct 2, the nuisance referred to is a dwelling at the end of East Hickory in the Yaupon Cove subdivision which was basically abandoned following the April 2020 tornado. An order to abate the nuisance was approved.
Commissioners reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and were made aware of five authorized emergency hirings – two in the sheriff’s office, one in Precinct 2 road and bridge and two in Precinct 3 road and bridge. In other personnel matters, Commissioners approved the reappointment of Jacob Chapman as county fire marshal for the two-year term beginning October 1 and also approved an update to the personnel management system.
Fiscal Year 2021 budget revisions #2021-18 and amendments #2021-18(A) were approved as presented by County Auditor Louis Ploth.
Offers to purchase the following tax foreclosure properties in Precinct 2 were approved: Lot 43-A of Section 1 and Lots 34 and 48-B of Section 2 of Yaupon Cove.
Although Commissioners were expected to review the drought index in Polk County and consider any necessary action relating to a countywide burn ban, the item was deleted from the agenda in light of the recent rainfall received.
During informational reports, a presentation on Section 3 as required by the Texas Department of Agriculture for CDBG Contract #7220361 was made by Murphy. The grant, in the amount of $275,000 and strictly for water improvements, is being funded through HUD and the Department of Agriculture.
Commissioners approved the following items on the consent agenda:
Minutes of the August 24 meeting;
Schedules of bills;
An order designating surplus property;
The appointment of Joshua McDonald to reserve deputy fire marshal;
Ratification of the appointment of reserve deputies for the sheriff;
Contract renewal with Appriss Inc. to provide a statewide automated victim notification service;
An agreement with the City of Livingston for firefighting services;
An order of special election to be held November 2;
An interlocal agreement between the county and Memorial Point Utility District for the county’s provision of election equipment and services for the November 2 election, as recommended by County Clerk Schelana Hock;
Acceptance of a grant award and authorization of County Judge Sydney Murphy to execute Contract No. 2215176 with the Office of the Attorney General for the district attorney victim coordinator and sheriff’s victim coordinator and liaison grant program for 2022-2023;
Ratification of approval of a memorandum of understanding with Iteron Systems for COVID-19 screenings and vaccinations for the public;
A request from Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes for asset forfeiture expenditure of seized property not to exceed $1,474.68 for towing/storage; $700.02 for travel; and $7,000 for purchase of law enforcement equipment; and
A request from District Attorney Lee Hon for asset forfeiture expenditure of seized property not to exceed $150 for serving legal documents and $5,018.64 for investigative services.
Sonny Hathaway, senior pastor of Central Baptist Church of Livingston, opened the meeting with prayer.