County lifts burn ban
Approves satellite recycling site for Onalaska
By Emily Banks Wooten
Having received a favorable drought status update from the Texas Forest Service in light of the recent rainfall, the Polk County Commissioners Court approved lifting the burn ban in the unincorporated areas of the county during its regular meeting Tuesday.
The establishment of a satellite recycling collection site at the Onalaska Loop Citizens Collection Station, utilizing surplus revenues in the waste management fund, was approved by the Court.
“Our collection station and landfill have resulted in a surplus of revenues in the form of landfill host fees. There’s already over 1,000 volunteer hours clocked so there’s a lot of public interest in having a recycling center in the Onalaska area.,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said.
“It’s been estimated we’d probably need two containers, a covered drive-thru, restrooms and signage. Revenues collected during 2022 were $47,480.57 and the expected cost does not exceed $20,000 at this time,” Murphy said.
The Court approved proceeding with the purchase of materials and authorization of the sewer line construction.
The Court approved a request for a certificate of exemption to exempt from the county subdivision regulations the development of Abstract 593 of the William White Survey (117.01 acres) located in Precinct 2 and consisting of 16 tracts, all over 10 acres, with individual access to existing public roads with no other common areas and/or streets. In related activity, the Court approved a plat for Rolling Pines Section 3 Subdivision located in Precinct 2.
The Court approved sheriff’s and constables’ fees effective Jan. 1, 2023 and direct notification to the state comptroller, pursuant to Texas Local Government Code 118.131.
Other action included approval of the transfer of the lease of school land from Cooper Ranches LLC to Harley Portwood Ranch.
“The Brazos River runs through the Polk County school lands and because the path of the river has changed over the years, it’s created a situation where a section that is being leased by Cooper Ranches is on both sides of the river, making a significant portion of it, 356 acres virtually, in accessible,” Murphy said.
Other items approved by the Court included an agreement with Thompson Consulting Services LLC for disaster debris monitoring; the county investment policy as presented by the county treasurer; and updates to the master street address guide.
In personnel matters, the Court approved personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting, approved the appointment of John Fugate as fire marshal and the appointment of Nathan Sexton as environmental enforcement officer.
FY2022 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.
In old business, the Court approved the minutes of the July 26 meeting and will also awarded the 2017 GLO DR 4332 (Harvey) Program, GLO Contract No. 20-065-018-C064 to CC Blacktop of Onalaska for a total award of $399,056.54 which exceeds the grant by $87,716.47 but the difference will be covered by Precinct 1.
Murphy apprised the Court of Governor Greg Abbott’s designation of Polk County as a primary natural disaster area due to recent drought. She also apprised the Court that this month’s Spotlight on Polk County is on the Polk County Memorial Museum.
Items on the consent agenda include:
- Approval of the minutes of the Aug. 9 and Aug. 15 meetings;
- Approval of schedules of bills;
- Approval of order designating surplus property;
- Receipt of county auditor’s monthly report, pursuant to Local Government Code Sec. 114.025;
- Approval of adoption of the Texas Health and Human Service Commission indigent healthcare eligibility standards, documentation and verification procedures according to the act with the addition of the following provision of optional services as allowed under V.T.C.A. Health & Safety Code, Section 61.0285;
- Approval of adoption of healthcare eligibility standards, documentation and verification procedures for the state fiscal year that runs Sept. 1, 2022 through Aug. 31, 2023;
- Ratification of agreement between Debtbook and the auditor’s office;
- Approval of applications submitted by charitable entities for the FY2023 Juror Donation Program as presented by the district clerk; and
- Receipt of county treasurer’s July 2022 report.
Five citizens addressed the Court during the portion of the meeting reserved for public comment. Carolyn
Bischoff, Jeanette Blesener and Shawn Loring expressed support for the recycling center and their desire that the Court approve the satellite center in Onalaska. James Buck, a resident of the Yaupon Cove subdivision in Onalaska, expressed concern about the rats, feral cats and snakes that are coming to his house from the condemned house next door. Nina McAfee, another resident of Yaupon Cove, expressed concern about nine condemned houses in the subdivision and 96 acres that is being clear-cut without proper permits.
Rev. David Darden of New Beulah Baptist Church opened the meeting with prayer.
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