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Court extends burn ban for 30 days

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By Emily Banks Wooten
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Based on a review of the drought index as well as the recommendations of the Texas Forest Service, the Polk County Fire Marshal and the Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved extending the burn ban for an additional 30 days during its regular meeting July 25.

Additionally, the Court approved making an exception for those who have permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), who are following TCEQ guidelines with regard to the type of equipment they are using to burn.

The Court approved reinstating the county’s life safety code NFPA 101 (National Fire Protection Association).

Action regarding Glover Road was considered and approved, specifically, approval to purchase the right of way for the Glover Road extension and authorization of a request for proposals for construction of the road. Union Pacific has agreed to fund the purchase of the property but for the sake of expediting payment to the owners, the Court approved purchasing the property, to be reimbursed by Union Pacific at a later date. Additionally, Union Pacific has agreed to collaborate with the Texas Department of Transportation on the closures for Glover Road and Frank Road at a total cost of $560,625.

Requests for proposals for disaster debris monitoring and consulting were discussed, with the Court approving KDF Enterprises as the primary and DRC Emergency Services as the secondary. County Judge Sydney Murphy noted that the total cost for Hurricane Ike in 2008 was $3,197,890 and the total cost for the tornado in 2020 was $19,801,649.

With the recent acquisition of the building at 321 North Beatty Ave. in Livingston, the Court needed to have agreements in place for the continued lease of the building to Anco Insurance and Habitat for Humanity. Following some discussion, the Court approved maintaining the existing lease agreements for a three-year term with exit clauses for either side.

Requests for variance from the Polk County Subdivision Regulation Design Standards Phases 1-6 of Magnolia Creek Ranch, located in Precinct 2, were approved as follows: Section 7.17, plat requirements, requiring that plats for developments of this size be prepared at a scale no smaller than one inch equals 200 feet; Section 12.8, road construction specifications, requiring all road intersections that are not at a 90-degree angle to have a rounded curve with no less than 25-foot radius; and Appendix S, minimum 175-foot centerline radius requirement.

The Court approved advertising for a request for bids for maintainer repair for Precinct 4 Road and Bridge.

Although the Court was slated to enter into an executive session to deliberate personnel, the item was tabled until the next meeting due to the absence of Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting, noting that the environmental enforcement officer rescinded his resignation. Additionally, the Court was apprised of one authorized emergency hiring in the maintenance department.

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

Items on the consent agenda included0:

Approval of the minutes of the July 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 and recording of personnel action forms submitted by elected officials since last meeting;

Approval of an update to the master street address guide;

Approval of the renewal of the lease agreement between Polk County and Mitchell Funeral Home;

Approval to file a claim with 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 April 1 through June 30, 2023;

Approval of “no change” in county road and bridge fee ($10) and child safety fee ($1.50) authorized by the Texas Transportation Code, Sec. 502.401-502.403;

Acceptance of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program;

Acceptance of the donation of a framed Houston Astros jersey from River Oaks Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram for the sheriff’s office;

Receipt of the county treasurer’s monthly report for June 2023;

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

Approval of Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes’ request to appoint Chuck Cotton and Justin Amundsen to reserve deputy constable.

Tyler Epstein addressed the Court during the portion of the meeting earmarked for

public comments, voicing his concern regarding San Francisco Road in Precinct 1.

Pastor Joel McMahon of First Methodist Church of Livingston opened the meeting with



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