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By Emily Banks Wooten
The Polk County Commissioners Court approved scheduling a special called meeting of the Court for 10 a.m. Feb. 6 during its regular meeting Tuesday.
“We have multiple grants from various offices that have deadlines approaching. Scheduling this special session allows them an additional two weeks to get their applications consolidated and sent to the Court for approval,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said. “We also have two bid packets out and the special session will allow us to award those bids sooner so that work can get started.”
The Court approved a request from the sheriff’s office to apply for a rural law enforcement grant.
“Based on the population of Polk County, the sheriff’s office is eligible for $500,000 which may be used to increase the salary of deputies and jailers, hire additional staff or purchase vehicles, firearms or safety equipment but the first thing they must do with the available funding is increase deputy pay to a minimum of $45,000 and increase jailer pay to a minimum of $40,000,” Murphy said.
The Court approved updating the county’s driver/vehicle policy.
“Several, several months ago we were made aware that some of our policies were out of date and that we were non-compliant with the insurance companies and with the IRS. The IRS uses take home vehicles for non-law enforcement employees as taxable compensation which must be reported on an employee’s W-2. They county may be assessed penalties and interest for failing to report the taxable benefit. There are multiple vehicles and personnel that are exempt from this. It’s a minimal number of employees that will be impacted,” Murphy said.
In personnel matters, the Court approved personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting. Fiscal year 2024 budget revisions and amendments, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were also approved.
In old business, the Court approved a request to cancel a portion of Ridge Lake Estates Subdivision Phase 1, Lots 125, 127, 129, 131, 133, 146, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155 and 156 (removing lots) and re-plat the same as Ridge Lake Estate, Phase 1, Partial Replat No. 1, Lots 1, 2, 3 and 4.
During informational reports, the Court recognized the human resources department and heard the annual report from the AgriLife/Extension Office. This report will be covered in depth in the Jan. 28 issue of the newspaper.
Items on the consent agenda included:
•Approval of the minutes of the Jan. 9 regular meeting;
•Approval of the schedules of bills;
•Approval of an order designating surplus property;
•Receipt of 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 the last meeting;
•Approval of sheriff’s request to submit an application to the Office of the Governor for the fiscal year 2024 criminal justice grant program for special victims officer;
•Approval of sheriff’s request to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, for evidence/procurement manager position;
•Receipt of sheriff’s department 2023 racial profiling report;
•Approval of purchase of equipment for Precinct 2 Road & Bridge from Pavement Technologies in the amount of $22,950, to be paid from the American Rescue Plan Act funds;
•Approval of agreement with Deep East Texas Council of Governments for solid waste project;
•Approval of Amendment No. 4 to Contract No. HHS000285000012 with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services;
•Receipt of county treasurer’s monthly report for December 2023; and
•Receipt of county treasurer’s first quarter fiscal year 2024 report.
Sean Ferry with Pine Forest Baptist Church opened the meeting with prayer.