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Court appoints interim tax assessor-collector

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Following an executive session during its regular meeting Tuesday, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved the appointment of Steve Hullihen to serve as the county’s interim tax assessor-collector following the retirement of Polk County Tax Assessor-Collector Leslie Jones Burks effective May 31.

“With the appointment of Steve Hullihen as the interim, we can continue to maintain operations in that office, which will allow the voters to then decide who they would like to have represent them as tax assessor-collector,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said.

The Court held a budget workshop in which several things were discussed, including the long-range impact of changes to the longevity policy; an adjustment to the pay scale; requests for new positions; a request for vehicles to be included in the Enterprise Fleet Leasing Program; capital purchases and maintenance capital outlay (buildings); and budget considerations and timeline. An in-depth review of the budget workshop will be presented in a subsequent issue of the Polk County Enterprise.

The Court took action regarding the request for bids for the Corrigan Sub-Courthouse, 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, as well as the request for bids for the Precinct 4 Road and Bridge renovations, to be paid from the American Rescue Plan Act funds. Beard Drafting and Design has been retained on both matters to provide the specifications for the request for bids and once the bids for each have been reviewed by the commissioners, bids will be let, then considered for approval on May 16. For the renovation of the Corrigan Sub-Courthouse, $150,000 was included in the capital purchases projection listing. For the renovation of the Precinct 4 Road and Bridge building, $168,000 has been allotted.

Expenditures from the maintenance capital outlay buildings (budgeted funds) were approved for the replacement of the air conditioning unit at the jail laundry facility and for the replacement of windows at the Dunbar complex. Spring HVAC will replace the air conditioning unit at the jail laundry facility at a cost of $16,000. Onalaska Glass will replace the windows at the Dunbar complex, which is a historic building, at a cost of $86,479.92.

The Court approved a request for 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 for courtroom furnishings in the amount of $1,070.89 for the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace.

Sheriff Byron Lyons’ request for the purchase of a replacement vehicle for a patrol officer using the funds paid by insurance for the totaled vehicle and a determination on how to fund the remaining balance was approved. A deer collision resulted in the county’s insurance company deciding to total the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe and pay $16,118.84 for replacement. The sheriff’s office found a replacement vehicle for $23,684.26 which leaves a difference of $7,565.42. There is a balance in the personnel line item of the sheriff’s budget so it was determined that will fund the remainder.

In similar activity, the Court took action to replace the information technology department’s totaled vehicle, a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox in which insurance paid $17,620.88. A replacement has been found for approximately $19,000 leaving a difference of approximately $2,000 which will be paid for from contingency funds.

An order authorizing the sale of fireworks during the Memorial Day period of May 24 through midnight May 29 was approved.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed personnel action forms submitted by elected officials and department heads since the last meeting.

Additionally, the Court approved fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments as presented by the county auditor’s office.

A proclamation recognizing Soil and Water Stewardship Conservation Week was presented, as was the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for fiscal year 2023 on behalf of the Government Finance Officers Association. The award recognizes the work of Kari Miller, assistant to the county judge, and County Auditor Louis Ploth.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the April 11 regular meeting;

Approval of the schedules of bills;

Approval of an order designating surplus property;

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

Receipt of the county treasurer’s second quarter fiscal year 2023 report;

Receipt of the county treasurer’s monthly report for March;

Approval of a renewal agreement with Texas Department of Public Safety for the release of driver records for county employment;

Approval of a memorandum of understanding with Onalaska ISD for local disaster preparedness (sheltering);

Ratifying an agreement with Beard Drafting & Design to provide bid specifications for the remodel of the Corrigan Sub-Courthouse and the Precinct 4 Road and Bridge office;

Approval of an extension of Bancorp South equipment finance lease #27 (for eight Mack granite 64FRF dump trucks) from April 20, 2023 to June 30, 2023, with additional interest payment to be paid from the road and bridge capital leases fund; and

Approval of a request from District Attorney Shelly Sitton for asset forfeiture expenditure of seized property, not to exceed $27,988, for the purchase of a used 2022 Ford Escape.

Pastor Sonny Hathaway of Central Baptist Church opened the meeting with prayer.


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