Not in time for November election however
By Emily Banks Wooten
An order transferring voter registration duties from the tax assessor-collector to the county clerk was approved by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday.
“We met, Commissioner Purvis and myself, with (County Clerk) Shelana Hock and (Tax Assessor-Collector) Leslie Jones Burks and discussed combining the two instead of having them split and Shelana has very graciously agreed to consolidate those services in her office,” County JudgeSydney Murphy said, emphasizing that the change will not be made prior to the November election.
Previously, the county clerk and her staff have run the elections, while the county tax assessor-collector served as voter registrar and as such, was responsible for disseminating the voter registration cards. “My office will start integrating this Jan. 1,” Hock said.
In old business, the Court approved a new formula to determine the distribution of the road and bridge portion of the tax rate in conformance with the revised precinct boundaries. The new formula allows 75% of the funds as a base for the four road and bridge precincts with 20% being based on mileage and the remaining 5% based on the number of wooden bridges.
Precincts 3 and 4 have more area, or road mileage, while Precincts 1 and 2 are more densely populated. Looking at mileage, Precinct 1 has 114.6476; Precinct 2 has 156.3383; Precinct 3 has 288.7514; and Precinct 4 has 300.3530. Precinct 1 has no wooden bridges, whereas Precinct 2 has four, Precinct 3 has 15 and Precinct 4 has 19.
A tentative breakdown of road and bridge funding based on the new formula reflects 21.4% for Precinct 1; 22.9% for Precinct 2; 27.4% for Precinct 3; and 28.2 percent for Precinct 4.
“Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances,” Murphy said. “That’s probably about the fairest one we can come up with,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis said.
The Court discussed fiscal year 2023 employee benefits, specifically, the annually determined contribution rate for the Texas County & District Retirement System and employee health coverage for major medical. Regarding the retired employees, the Court approved keeping the contribution rate the same with no increase and no decrease. Regarding the employee health coverage for major medical, there are three options. Following some discussion of the options and the stated concerns regarding the costs to employees for their spouses and children, the Court agreed to schedule a meeting to explain the options to the employees and receive their input. The meeting is slated for 4 p.m. June 22. Presently, there are approximately 40 employees who have a spouse and/or family covered.
The status of the drought index was discussed and the Court agreed not to take any action at this time to regulate the use of certain fireworks for the July 4 firework season. However, it is possible the Court could potentially adopt a burn ban between now and July 4 if drought conditions do become a cause for concern.
A request for a capital purchase to be paid from the Precinct 1 Road & Bridge fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2022 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt, specifically, the purchase of a used excavator not to exceed $100,000, was approved.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson informed the Court that she found one that should come in around $28,500.
Capital improvements to be paid from the general fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2022 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt for the courthouse restoration, not to exceed $5,730,000, were also approved.
The Court approved closing the fiscal year 2022 reimbursement resolution, finalizing all expenditures to be included for issue of authorized debt in
2022 Series Tax Notes (including the auditor’s verification of those expenditures previously approved) and including those authorized and pending payment prior to Sept. 30, 2022 (open invoicing/bids), stating the total to be authorized.
Murphy and Robertson were appointed to serve on the Deep East Texas Council of Governments Board of Directors for the 2022-2023 term will be considered.
The Court approved authorizing Goodwin Lassiter & Strong to advertise for construction bids on 2017 GLO DR 4332 (Harvey) Program, GLO Contract No. 20-065-018-C064.
Two requests for variance from the Polk County subdivision regulation design standards were approved. Rocking R RV Park in Precinct 1 provided an equitable alternative to the requirement that their streets be built to the standard required by Section 10.3(5)(d)(i) and Lagoon RV Park in Precinct 2 provided an equitable alternative to the minimum required street width of 24 feet for all roads per Section 10.4(A)(8). In conjunction with this item, the Court also approved infrastructure development plans for both RV parks.
Several items pertaining to personnel matters required action. The Court approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and reviewed two authorized emergency hirings, one in the district attorney’s office and the interim fire marshal. The addition of a fulltime maintenance worker to the Precinct 2 road and bridge department was approved. Also approved was the addition of a temporary part-time position in the district clerk’s office to assist the temporary district court.
“Just as the courts are facing a tremendous backlog of cases due to COVID, the district clerk’s office has also been impacted by the COVID backlog. This won’t affect the budget because it will paid from the COVID funds,” Murphy said.
Fiscal Year 2022 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the County Auditor’s Office, were approved.
During informational reports, the Court presented the Polk County Commissioners Court Bobby Smith Memorial Scholarship, which is sponsored by Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, to the following recipients: Trace Flores of Big Sandy High School, Divine Byers of Corrigan-Camden High School, Brandon Izaguirre of Goodrich High School, Addison Hinton of Leggett High School, Wendy Anguiano of Livingston High School and Mattie Adams of Onalaska Junior Senior High School.
Also presented was the Law Enforcement Scholarship which is sponsored by Management & Training Corporation, the operators of the IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility. Recipients included: Ethan Murphy of Big Sandy High School Zackary Purvis of Corrigan-Camden High School, Marisa Olivares of Goodrich High School, Jessee Calderas of Leggett High School, Jordan Board and Charles Brooks of Livingston High School and Michael Arnold of Onalaska Junior Senior High School. The reason Livingston has two recipients is because the recipient from last year decided not to attend school and the monies were still there.
A proclamation designating elder abuse awareness month was presented to Adult Protective Services.
This month’s “Spotlight on Polk County” was on the AgriLife Extension Office. Additionally, the Court was apprised of the construction of a fence around the community garden at the county annex.
Items on the consent agenda were approved, including:
- The minutes of the May 24 regular meeting and the June 3 special called meeting;
- The schedule of bills;
- An order designating surplus property;
- Submittal of a request to the state comptroller for unclaimed rural electric cooperative capital credits;
- Lake Livingston Water Supply Corporation’s request for sanitary control easement on Rodgers Street located in Wiggins Village No. 1 Subdivision in Precinct 2;
- An interlocal agreement with Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool and an application for the provision of insurance coverages to include workers compensation, auto (physical damage and liability) and general, public officials, law enforcement liabilities;
- A memorandum of understanding between Polk County Fire Marshal Department and the City of Livingston for dual use of fire prevention equipment;
updates to the master street address guide;
- A change order to update the price sheets for road materials from East Texas Asphalt;
- Ratifying the appointment of a court coordinator and bailiff for the temporary district judge appointee;
- A request from the county treasurer to terminate the contract with Openedge;
- A request from the county treasurer to access online banking at Citizens State Bank in Corrigan;
- A lease agreement renewing the supplemental county parking at 321 N. Beatty Ave.;
- The removal of Deryl Oates as reserve deputy constable for Precinct 3;
- The removal of Anthony Brugnone as reserve deputy fire marshal;
- The addition of Robert “Bob” Wright and Jose Cruz as reserve deputy constables for Precinct 2; and
- An amended resolution expressing the intent to reimburse expenditures to be incurred by Polk County, Texas (reimbursement resolution).
- Pastor Sean Ferry of Pine Forest Baptist Church opened the meeting with prayer.