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County earmarks ARPA funds

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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The Polk County Commissioners Court approved expending some of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds during its regular meeting Tuesday. One of the items approved was the purchase of automated CPR devices from Life-Assist in the amount of $96,412.80 for Allegiance Ambulance and Texan EMS for the ambulances operating in Polk County.

The Court approved to advertise for bids for the remodel of the Precinct 4 Road and Bridge buildings. The remodeling project will also be paid for with ARPA funds.

Other projects approved to be funded with the ARPA funds include the construction of secure parking and a break area for the Onalaska Sub-Courthouse, not to exceed $48,000; improvement of the recycling drop-off services on the Onalaska Loop, not to exceed $45,000; and the purchase of two pro-gravity recycling trailers from Pro-Tainer, not to exceed $32,000.

Having learned of a solid waste infrastructure for recycling grant available through the Environmental Protection Agency in which no match is involved, the Court approved applying for the grant and procuring an engineer to assist with the application and project if grant funds are awarded. In related activity, the Court appointed Kari Miller, Jessica Hutchins and Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis to serve as the scoring committee.

Although bids will not be let until January of 2026, the Court approved the temporary closure of a bridge on Nine Bridge Road at Piney Creek Branch and a bridge on Old Bering Road at Long King Creek, both in Precinct 3.

Purvis was quick to emphasize the bids will not be let until 2026 but that Tuesday’s action by the Court was to allow the Texas Department of Transportation “to get it moving in their system.”

The Court entered into an executive session to consult with Attorney J. Eric Magee. Upon return to open session, the purchase of the Pritchard property in Livingston Old Town, Block 3, Lot 1, part of Lot 3 and Lots 4 and 7 at a cost of $190,000 was approved. This is what is referred to as the courthouse parking lot which is located on the block west of the Polk County Courthouse.

During the executive session, the Court received a status report from outside counsel regarding Tyler Epstein v. Thomas Timber Investments LLC, et al, Cause No. CIV22-0716 in the 411th District Court. The Court also received a status report from outside counsel regarding T.F.R. Enterprises Inc. v. Polk County, Cause No. CIV22-0460 in the 411th District Court. The second item was approved to be added to the January agenda for action.

The Court approved requests for capital purchases to be paid from fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2023 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt, as follows: an aging department request for one desktop printer, not to exceed $500; a district clerk’s request for two desktop scanners and three desktop printers, not

to exceed $2,093; and a district attorney request for software and accessories, not to exceed $11,991, for purchase authorization in 2023.

Offers to purchase tax foreclosed properties in Precinct 3, specifically, Lot 22 of Block 4 and Lot 17 of Block 15 in Moscow, Cause #T15-204, were approved.

In personnel matters the Court approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and reviewed an authorized emergency hiring at the sheriff’s office. Additionally, an update to the personnel management system was approved.

Fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

During informational reports, the Court reviewed an appraisal report for Polk County school lands located in Throckmorton County. The purpose of having the land appraised was to determine the value so the Court can either consider selling it or swapping it for other land of equal value. The land was appraised at $720,000.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis informed the Court of the death of John D. Clifton, “a longtime supporter of Corrigan and Polk County.”

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of order designating surplus property;

Receipt of the county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;

Ratifying an agreement between Polk County and First Choice Grease Services for pickup at the aging center and the jail; and

Acceptance of the Governor’s fiscal year 2023 Criminal Justice Grant Award #4588601 for bullet-resistant shields for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

As this was the last meeting for Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet and Precinct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent who are both retiring effective Dec. 31, other members of the Court, as well as many in the audience, expressed their appreciation to the two men for their work and dedication over the years.

Polk County Maintenance Superintendent Jay Burks opened the meeting with prayer.

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