By Emily Banks Wooten
In old business, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved a policy regarding the use of county buildings, grounds and facilities during its regular meeting Tuesday.
“Under Chapter 291 of the Local Government Code, per TAC (Texas Association of Counties) guidelines, the policy should recover the cost of any non-public use and should prohibit the use of any political purposes. Otherwise, the county would be required to provide the same access and use to any organization that requests it,” Polk County Judge Sydney Murphy said.
“We’ve prepared a proposed policy for the use of buildings, grounds and facilities. As it’s written, it does not stop or preclude the public from using the county-owned facilities. It just outlines the process for requesting the use of county-owned properties. This one excludes the Polk County Commerce Center and Dunbar–the commerce center because we have a long-term contract for that and Dunbar because it’s a designated emergency management area for sheltering. And Dunbar basically has its own agreement that’s already been set up that includes maintenance, utilities, setting up, everything,” Murphy said.
Following a public hearing in which no one spoke, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved a request from Ken Shipman to cancel a portion of Four Corners Subdivision Phase 4, Block 1, Lots 15-30 and Lots 65-73, Block 3 (removing lots) and re-plat the same as for Four Corners Phase 4 (The Park), also known as Lot 29A.
“Basically, this is a section that was not developed by the original Four Corners Subdivision,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent said. “I think Mr. Shipman has taken ownership now. He’s just readjusting some of this, combining some lots to have for his personal use and I think he’s going to build homes on the other lots.”
Commissioners approved rescheduling the regular commissioners court session set for Feb. 22 to Feb. 18. The change was necessitated due to the Court’s attendance at the V.G. Young Institute of County Government School for Commissioners Courts in Bryan.
A memorandum of understanding between Polk County and the Polk County Precinct 1 constable to provide constable reserve deputy patrol in Precinct 1 was approved.
“Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes has requested approval of another MOU to allow Keagan Newman to be compensated $20 an hour for up to 30 hours per week to provide patrol services in Precinct 1,” Murphy said.
Commissioners approved a request from Sheriff Byron Lyons to purchase a 30-foot by 40-foot storage building for the sheriff’s office to store supplies and personal protective equipment to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the sheriff’s office and jail. Rocking P Construction submitted the successful bid of $33,930 with an additional $4,798 expense for shelves. The project will be paid for with money available in the capital outlay buildings fund.
A proposal from AT&T Services for enhanced cybersecurity measures for elections, to be funded by the Help America Vote Act grant, was approved for the Polk County Clerk’s Office. The proposed total is $40,044.54 and will be funded by grant funds received last year that have been extended from 2021 to 2022.
Commissioners also approved a proposal from Kofile for archival digitization of historical records for the Polk County Clerk’s Office, to be paid from the county clerk records management fund.
Nuisance abatement hearing determinations–and orders to abate the nuisances–on Cause Nos. ET0010-ET0019, all in Precinct 1, were approved.
Following a recommendation from Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis, Commissioners approved a proposal from Shepherd Surveying Company of Abilene to determine the appropriate boundary lines between school lands owned by Polk County and land owned by the Sunday McAdams family with the responsibility for the cost to be shared by both parties.
In old business, Commissioners approved minutes of the Dec. 14 regular meeting.
During informational reports, Murphy recognized Wendy Timm of the Polk County Clerk’s Office who was recently recognized as exemplary in 2021 by the Vital Statistics Registration Process for the State of Texas.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet apprised the court that he and Purvis recently attended a Texas Department of Transportation Meeting in Lufkin. He reported on upcoming changes regarding the off-system bridge replacement system regarding signs and different things.
“As of right now, there’s not any plans for relief on the traffic in Livingston regarding a loop or anything like that. It’s pretty much status quo,” Overstreet added.
In personnel matters, Commissioners reviewed personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and also reviewed an authorized emergency hire at the sheriff’s office.
Commissioners approved the consent agenda which included:
The schedules of bills;
An order designating surplus property;
Renewal of the Americare contract for primary EMS/ambulance service for Polk County;
Enrollment in the Texas Association of Counties annual cybersecurity training;
Receipt of the constable warrant service program quarterly report for the period ending Dec. 31, 2021;
The appointment of Keagen Newman to reserve deputy constable for Precinct 1;
The appointment of Anthony Brugnone to reserve deputy fire marshal;
Ratifying approval of the request from Republic Services for Sam Houston Electric Cooperative overhead easement at the Polk County Landfill;
Use of $5,400 from the justice court building security fund balance for security improvements for the Precinct 4 justice of the peace courtroom;
Updating signature cards for the county treasurer on all bank accounts; and
The sheriff’s request to purchase two 2022 Ford Explorers for jail transport in the amount of $62,222.50, to be funded from insurance payment on damaged vehicles.
Kevan Wood of First Baptist Church of Livingston opened the meeting with prayer.