By Emily Banks Wooten
The Polk County Commissioners Court received the yearly audit during its regular meeting Tuesday.
“Robert and I both appreciate the opportunity the Court gives us to come back to Polk County,” Darla Dear with Belt Harris Pechacek, the county’s independent auditing firm, said. “I want to thank Louis Ploth and Stephanie Dale from the auditor’s office, the treasurer’s office, all the JP offices. We really appreciate everyone’s input.”
Referring to the firm’s opinion page, Dear said the county received an unmodified opinion that it has done a great job. The report reflected that the general fund total revenues were $24,997,493 and total expenditures were $22,240,319. The report also reflected an ending fund balance of $19,131,706.
The Court approved action closing the Glover and Frank Road railroad crossings in Precinct 3 which have presented ongoing concerns for a number of years regarding ingress and egress. Union Pacific has agreed to collaborate with Texas Department of Transportation to provide funding to close the crossings and build a new road between Old Hwy. 35 and Frank Road. Although the final bids have not been received yet, the total cost is estimated to be $560,625.
Action regarding regulating mass gatherings and outdoor musical festivals in the unincorporated areas of the county, pursuant to Chapter 751 of the Texas Health and Safety Code and Chapter 2104 of the Texas Occupations Code, was approved. Following this action, promoters are required to obtain a permit from the county and if they do not, then they are in violation and may be cited and/or shut down. The county fire marshal looked at other counties’ policies and made a few changes.
One bid was received to remove and replace the windows at the Dunbar Complex. The bid – for $116,000 – from Williams Glass, was more than the Court had budgeted for the project so the Court voted to reject the bid and rebid the project.
Melanie Taylor, CEO of the Burke Center, gave a brief history of the Burke Center, apprising the Court that it was founded in 1974 by 13 county commissioner courts. “Basically, you gave birth, and the state took custody,” she said. Redistricting several years ago resulted in Hardin County leaving to go with another center. The same thing is happening now with Jasper County, also due to redistricting. The Court approved a revised interlocal agreement between Polk County and Burke Center, removing Jasper County from the agreement.
The Court approved a request for a capital purchase to be paid from (stated) fund balance and included on the fiscal year 2023 reimbursement resolution for the year-end issuance of legally authorized debt, specifically, emergency management’s request for 13 automated external defibrillator (AED) units for Polk County buildings, not to exceed $18,096.
As part of a continuation of ongoing settlements, the Court approved the settlement terms with Allergan defendants, and authorized the county judge to execute the settlement participation and release forms regarding statewide settlement offers in the matter of Texas statewide opioid multi-district litigation for the county in the matter of In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. L:17-MD-022804.
One portion of the infrastructure development plan for Livingston Reserve RV Park located in Precinct 2 was conditionally approved, with the Court tabling action on two other two portions of the plan.
In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action forms submitted by department heads since the last meeting and also received and recorded personnel action forms submitted by elected officials since the last meeting.
Fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments as presented by the county auditor’s office were also approved.
During informational reports, the Court recognized the county auditor’s office – specifically, County Auditor Louis Plot and Assistant Auditor Stephanie Dale – for receiving the Government Finance Officers Association’s “Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting” for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2021.
Items on the consent agenda included:
Approval of the minutes of the April 25 meeting;
Approval of the schedules of bills;
Approval of an order designating surplus property;
Approval of a resolution designating May 22 as “Jury Appreciation Day” in Polk County;
Approval of a memorandum of understanding with Corrigan-Camden ISD and Livingston ISD for local disaster preparedness (sheltering);
Approval of the district clerk’s request to approve Tyler Technologies defendant access software and products;
Approval of the fire marshal’s request to access Brycer Compliance engine software;
Ratifying Amendment No. 2 to the General Land Office Contract Number 20-066-018-C125 for the community development block grant disaster recovery Hurricane Harvey buyout/acquisition program;
Accepting a 2022 Toyota Tundra awarded to the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office and authorize maintenance and operations expenses for the vehicle to be funded from the Precinct 1 asset forfeitures;
Accepting a 2005 Ford F250 pickup truck awarded to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and add the vehicle to the county insurance policy;
Accepting an automated license plate reader and speed trailer donated to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office;
Approval of a request from the district attorney to exempt certain vehicles from inscription required on county motor vehicles, pursuant to Section 721.005 of the Texas Transportation Code; and
Approval of the purchase of a new ham radio, coax and antenna for the annex building, not to exceed $15,000, to be paid from emergency management capital outlay (budgeted funds).