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Polk County News - Breakout

Council proposes tax rate

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Onalaska logoFrom Enterprise Staff

The Onalaska City Council approved a proposed tax rate for publication of 0.2410 per $100 value during a special called meeting Aug. 7. A public hearing on the proposed tax rate is slated for 5:15 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Onalaska City Hall.

Several personnel action requests were on the agenda for the Aug. 8 regular meeting. Council accepted the resignations of Officer Koriell Campbell and Court Clerk Tammy Seader and approved the appointment of Macey George as court clerk.

Council heard departmental reports on the police department, fire department, fire marshal/building inspector and library representative.

The police department drove 4318.7 miles during the month of July, worked 25 cases, served 23 city warrants and did 14 follow-ups. They conducted 589 subdivision checks, 118 business checks and responded to 362 calls, resulting in 25 arrests, 125 warnings and 159 citations. They assisted other law enforcement agencies 29 times and the fire department/EMS 15 times.

The fire department responded to 37 calls in the city and 24 calls in the county, clocking a total of 311 man-hours during the month of July. They provided mutual aid three times, responded to 21 medical calls, four structure fires, 20 grass fires, three motor vehicle accidents, four lake rescues, five assistance calls and eight landing zones.

The fire marshal/building inspector conducted three fire investigations during the month of July, two of which were burn ban violations. A fire in Impala Woods was a structure fire that was ruled accidental in nature due to an electrical malfunction at the electrical connection for the sewer grinder pump.

The library reported total current patrons at 1,812 and total holdings records at 15,525. The library was open 20 days during the month of July and serviced 965 patrons. A total of $841.65 was brought in and 35.8 volunteer hours were worked.

Other business included approval of the minutes, vouchers and financial reports.


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County reviews changes to proposed budget

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten
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Changes to the proposed fiscal year 2024 budget were reviewed by County Judge Sydney Murphy during the regular meeting of the Polk County Commissioners Court Tuesday.

The current ad valorem tax revenue, including both current and delinquent, is $27,839,181 and this is based on a 96% collection rate with a tax rate of 0.583000. Murphy said that 11.6897% of the budget goes to debt service, which is a significant decrease from previous years. She said basically 63% of the proposed budget is going to the general fund and a little over 25% is going to road and bridge, which includes a $906,782 increase for road and bridge from the prior year.

Changes to the proposed budget include updating revenues derived from county property rent such as Anco Insurance and Habitat for Humanity ReStore which are both located in the building in the 300 block of North Beatty that the county recently acquired. A 4% increase earmarked for discretionary salaries will be a new line item for every single department, whereas it was previously just one line item. An additional change to the proposed budget is increased allocation to the volunteer fire departments based on a formula determined by the fire chiefs.

Final approval of the budget is slated for a special called meeting of the Court at 10 a.m. Aug. 15.

Based on the recommendation of Polk County Fire Marshal John Fugate, the Court approved adoption of Fire Code-NFPA 1 Fire Code 2021 Edition from the National Fire Protection Association.

Several requests from Sheriff Byron Lyons were on the agenda.

“The auditor’s office estimates that due to vacancies, at least $217,482 would be remaining in the jail salary line item at the end of this fiscal year. The sheriff is requesting a portion of it to buy down all of the accrued FLSA and holiday hours and all but 20 hours of the comp hours earned so far by the dispatchers and the jail staff.” County Judge Sydney Murphy said. “The cost to do this will be about $100,482.09. He’s also requesting to move $30,000 from jail salaries to sheriff vehicle maintenance to cover the overage in that line item to fix two units that need new transmissions which will leave approximately $117,000 in jail salaries at the end of the budget year.”

The Court approved the requests.

Based on a request by the auditor’s office to begin the process of annual bids for the precincts, the Court approved advertising for fiscal year 2024 annual bids. This includes road materials, bulk limestone, tires, oil, grease, gas, diesel, pest control services, motor grader blades, material hauling and the demolition of disposal of nuisance abatement buildings.

The Court entered into an executive session for deliberations about officers and employees regarding the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or to hear a complaint or a charge against an officer or employee. However, no action was taken upon return to open session.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting.

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

Items on the consent agenda included:

•Approval of the minutes of the July 25 regular meeting;

•Approval of the schedules of bills;

•Receipt and recording of personnel action form requests submitted by elected officials since the last meeting;

•Approval of a memorandum of understanding with Polk Central Appraisal District to provide support during a time of natural or manmade disaster to include mapping services;

•Approval of a request from District Attorney Shelly Bush Sitton for asset forfeiture expenditure of seized property not to exceed $435 for training expenses;

•Approval of the re-appointment of Rachel Drake to Burke Center Board of Trustees for a two-year term beginning Sept. 1, 2023;

•Termination of a memorandum of understanding between Polk County and Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes approved on March 24, 2020 to provide constable reserve deputy patrol in Precinct 1;

•Termination of a memorandum of understanding between Polk County and Precinct 1 Constable Scott Hughes approved on March 8, 2022 regarding the monthly salary of Beau Price; and

•Receipt and recording of the 258th and 411th district judges’ orders setting the fiscal year compensation for the county auditor, assistant auditors, court reporters, court coordinators, bailiffs and labor pool staff pursuant to Local Government Code.

•Bobby Gokey addressed the Court during the portion of the meeting earmarked for  public comments, attempting to clarify statements previously made by Tyler Epstein regarding San Francisco Road in Precinct 1, calling Epstein’s statements untrue.

Lindell Mitchell of the Livingston Church of Christ opened the meeting with prayer.


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OEM urges be prepared for wildfires

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FireFighter STOCK

From Enterprise Staff

The Polk County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is urging everyone to be prepared for wildfires due to the elevated wildfire risk.

“Hot and dry weather conditions in the state are expected to continue with no substantial precipitation in the immediate forecast to bring relief. The National Weather Service and Texas Forest Service warn that an increase in fire activity is possible for our area late this week as high temperatures persist, winds increase and soil moisture is depleted,” Polk County Emergency Management Coordinator Courtney Comstock said.

“According to the Texas Forest Service, wildfires due to lightning may emerge in dry fuels and could be difficult to contain and extinguish,” Comstock said.

Residents are encouraged to prepare a go-bag should you need to evacuate your home. Plan evacuation routes and know where you will go to seek shelter and safety. Know how to obtain information by following the OEM on Facebook for notifications and updates; visiting the website at www.PolkCountyOEM.com for information; and registering for AlertMePolkCounty to receive emergency alerts from the OEM, by visiting https://polk.genasys.com/portal/en.

To prepare for wildfires, the OEM recommends the following:

•Inform everyone in your household about the evacuation plan.

•Update important documents and store copies securely online.

•Ensure insurance policies and IDs are current.

•Locate an outdoor water source with a long hose.

•Create a 30-foot fire-resistant zone around your home.

•Practice evacuation routes with family and pets.

•Decide on a safe evacuation location.

•Keep your vehicle fueled and ready for quick departure.

•Follow local authorities’ instructions and safety guidelines.

•Prepare a go-bag with ample supplies, including a first aid kit.

•Gradually stock up on essentials to minimize shopping trips.

•Handle flammable household products with care.

•Keep your cell phone charged and have backup charging devices.

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Former local inducted into hall of fame

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From Enterprise Staff

Scott GallowayScott GallowayScott Galloway, a 1995 graduate of Livingston High School, is one of three people who were inducted into the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association (SWATA) Hall of Fame during a ceremony held July 21 at the 69th annual meeting of SWATA in Arlington. His mother, Terri Galloway of Livingston, was given the honor of pinning him in the prestigious ceremony. The other inductees were Doin Dahlke and James “Bubba” Wilson.

Galloway is currently the Director of Athletics for the White Settlement Independent School District. He served WSISD as Associate Director of Athletics from 2018-2022. Prior to that, he served DeSoto ISD as Assistant Athletic Director & Director of Sports Medicine from 1999-2013 and 2015-2018. He worked for Texas Health Resources from 2013-2015 in sports medicine and orthopedic service line development.

Galloway holds a Bachelor of Science degree in health education from Texas A&M University and an MBA from WGU Texas. He has supported teams in 11 UIL state championships and 10 UIL state runner-ups. He is an author and presenter for the Texas High School Athletic Directors Associations’ athletic administrator’s certification course, and serves on the THSADA TAAC committee.

He helped author and implement HB 2038 which governs how Texas public schools manage concussions. He is a frequent national speaker on topics including sickle cell trait and sudden death, GPS and athletic performance, concussion, and program development.

Galloway was inducted into the inaugural Texas State Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Honor. He has been awarded the John Harvey Humanitarian Award, the James Dodson New Horizon Award, the Eddie Wojecki Award and the Bobby Gunn Unsung Hero Award by the Southwest Athletic Trainers Association. He was awarded the Athletic Training Service Award by the NATA and the Most Distinguished Athletic Trainer Award by SWATA. He has served on the NATA Finance Committee, the NATA Compensation Task Force, and the NATA Diversity Equity Inclusion and Access Task Force. He currently serves as the District 6 National Director and serves on the executive council as secretary-treasurer for the NATA.

He and his wife, Melissa, have three children, Lucas, Emmerson and Darby.

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Proposed tax rate on special agenda

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Onalaska logoThe Onalaska City Council will review and consider approval of a proposed tax rate for publication during a special called meeting at noon on Monday.

Several personnel action requests are on the agenda for the regular meeting of Council at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Council is slated to accept the resignations of Officer Koriell Campbell and Court Clerk Tammy Seader and to approve the appointment of Macey George as court clerk.

Departmental reports will be presented on behalf of the police department, fire department, fire marshal/building inspector and library representative.

Other items on the agenda include approval of the minutes, vouchers and financial reports.

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