By Emily Banks Wooten
During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved moving forward with a request for proposals to perform a forensic review of financial records with regard to the monies that were taken from the jail commissary fund.
“We are going to have to have a forensic review and it will have to be performed to determine the exact amount that is missing or as close as they can get to it,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said. “Our crime policy coverage through Texas Association of Counties will cover up to $100,000 for a forensic audit. Without going out for proposals for services out there, we don’t know what that would cost the county.”
The Court approved moving forward with its strategic planning process. “On March 14 the Court received a strategic planning guide that we developed based on recommendations from others to help guide the process of engaging the community, our elected officials and our staff in developing some strategic goals and a plan for accomplishing them. This process helps us set policies for how the county is moving forward and for building budgets and also for having goals that are important to the community,” Murphy said.
“We do engage in economic development. We do engage in advocating for different groups and also providing support to some of those areas. The idea is we move forward with the strategic planning guide and take what we’ve developed from our end and turn it over to the economic development corporation for them to get the business perspective and the economic development perspective and also allow the chamber of commerce and our local business people to participate,” Murphy said.
The Court received the fiscal year 2024 budget adopted by the Polk Central Appraisal District on April 5. “The budget reflects a 9% increase from last year and increases the county’s allocation amount by $88,220.33 so our total allocation will be $634,201.33. The majority of the development we’ve seen when we’ve approved the different plats and subdivisions and RV parks is in the unincorporated areas of the county,” Murphy said.
“Last year there was an 8.3% increase and most of that was in pay and operations and part of it was the increase in the cost of goods and services. Also, they’re trying to get their pay scale comparable to the surrounding area and to other counties of our size,” Murphy said.
When it came time for the selection of county depositories and sub-depositories, Murphy submitted an affidavit of abstention and allowed Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis to handle the matter, citing the fact that her husband, Matt Murphy, serves on the Board of Directors of First State Bank of Livingston. Based on the recommendation of County Treasurer Terri Williams, the Court approved First State Bank of Livingston as the county depository and First National Bank of Livingston and Citizens State Bank of Corrigan as the county’s sub-depositories.
The Court reviewed the district attorney’s proposed criminal case file hard copy destruction and retention schedule, though no action was required. The state is moving to electronic files as much as possible due to the amount of space required to store massive amounts of paper files. The proposed retention schedule outlines plans to review, scan, index and shred.
A request from Republic to close the Polk County Landfill to commercial traffic on Saturdays was approved. This action applies to the landfill only, not the citizen collection stations, and only applies to commercial traffic and not residential traffic.
A certificate of compliance for Two Creeks Crossing RV Park located in Precinct 2 was approved.
The Court received and approved the constable warrant service program quarterly report for the period ending March 31 from the Precinct 4 constable’s office but has not yet received the report from the other three constable’s offices.
A request for a capital purchase to be paid from the general fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2023 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt, specifically, a request from the Precinct 3 justice of the peace to replace the courtroom benches, not to exceed $2,000, was approved. It was noted that the benches will be replaced with chairs, allowing for increased flexibility in the courtroom.
In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action forms submitted since the last meeting and review one authorized emergency hiring in Precinct 4 Road and Bridge.
The Court approved fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments as presented by the county auditor’s office.
Several proclamations were presented, including one for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, one for Child Abuse Prevention Month, one declaring April 9-15 as Public Safety Telecommunications Week in Polk County and one declaring April 23-29 as Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Polk County.
Items on the consent agenda included:
Approval of the minutes of the March 28 meeting;
Approval of the schedules of bills;
Approval of an order designating surplus property;
Receipt and recording of continuing education certifications/transcripts of elected offices as submitted;
Approval to file a claim with the state comptroller, pursuant to Government Code Sec. 61.0015(B), for reimbursement of a portion of the juror fees paid by Polk County during the period of Jan. 1 through March 31 of this year;
Approval of a resolution in support of the district attorney’s victim coordinator and liaison grant application to the Office of the Attorney General;
Approval of a resolution in support of the sheriff’s office other victim assistance grant application to the Office of the Attorney General;
Acceptance of a total loss offer for a 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe and removal from the county inventory as of March 27, 2023;
Approval of a memorandum of understanding for Leggett ISD for local disaster preparedness (sheltering);
Approval of an interlocal agreement with Corrigan-Camden ISD for the county’s provision of election equipment and services for the May 6 general election as recommended by the county clerk; and
Approval of an agreement with Certified Payments for credit card processing in the district clerk’s office.
Lindell Mitchell with Livingston Church of Christ opened the meeting with prayer.