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Polk County News - Breakout


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Onalaska ISD ag students had an extremely successful day recently when they competed at Texas A&M University’s AggieFest Invitational Leadership Development Event. The students brought home lots of beautiful hard-earned hardware, including the AggieFest 2022 Overall Sweepstakes Winner plaque. Capturing first place in Ag Issues were Katy Stolley, AJ Pinkert, Rylee Taylor, Samantha Valdez, Lilith Maichetti and Kaleigh Park. Also winning first place was the Senior Skills team made up of Madalyn Green, Aidan Roberts, Thad Lille and Kierstyn Cox. Jillian McKendree earned first place for Greenhand Creed. Earning first place in FFA Broadcasting were Bri Sabino, Katie Boyce and Lilith Maichetti. The Public Relations team made up of Bri Sabino, Savanna Benningfield, Madalyn Green and Nikki Burchurt won second place. Also winning second place for Ag Advocacy were Nikki Burchert, Kierstyn Cox, Katy Stolley and Peyton Brooks. The Senior Quiz team came in third place with Jaykob Lowrie as 10th place high point individual, Brody Hoover as 11th place high point individual, Jerrett Purkeson as 15th place high point individual and Brylie Tieskoetter as 18th place high point individual. The Greenhand Quiz team came in fifth place with Ashley Byrd as 5th place high point individual, Wyatt Fraga as 10th place high point individual and teammates Kaydence Talbot and Jackson Stolley. AJ Pinkert placed seventh in Job Interview. Courtesy photo

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Goodrich ISD gets high marks

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Goodrich ISD Hornet Facing LeftThe Goodrich ISD board heard an audit report and maintenance updates last week in their monthly regular meeting for October.

Eric Carver of Axley and Rode gave an audit report on Goodrich ISD, saying the district is in good financial shape and very healthy.

“You all have a good, solid fund balance. We are giving you a clean, unmodified opinion. There are no material issues and no problems,” Carver said. 

This year, the district’s total assets were over $9.2 million. It is a $1.1 million increase from the year prior, with most being cash. 

“What you have seen in the last several years with the ESSER grants, you have received this federal money in several stages now,” Carver said. “You have been able to replace expenditures you would normally have in the general fund with some of this ESSER funding. It has allowed the general fund to build up a higher cash fund balance reserve.”

Liabilities were down $130,000, which Carver said was routine with what the school district is paying on their bond. Overall, the school’s position increased about $1.2 million, which he called a “very healthy position.”

Revenues were up $276,000, and that is a $500,000 increase from two years ago. Additional funding has been received in child nutrition, Covid, and security grants. Expenditures were down around $114,000.

Carver warned that an impending legislative session, increased costs across the board and covid funds drying up would likely mean additional expenses for all school districts.

The school district has about $4.7 million in general fund assets, with around $4.3 million of that in cash investments. The report reflected that the amount was good for operating reserves that can be accessed anytime.

Around $2.1 million have been set aside for future capital projects, which is about 75% of annual operations. There are also about $2.1 million in unassigned money.

Revenues for the past year were around $86,000 below what was expected, however, expenditures were around $600,000 below what was anticipated.

A waiver must be granted from the Texas Education Agency for any class size ratio above 22 students to one teacher. Goodrich ISD has filed waivers for kindergarten, second grade and fourth grade. Currently, there are 23 students in kindergarten, 26 in second grade and 23 in fourth grade. A few students have transferred from Goodrich and kindergarten is now down to 22 students. In fourth grade, there are also 22. Regardless of numbers, once filed, the waivers are good throughout the year.

All windows at Goodrich ISD have now been installed and all entrances and exits are labeled for safety.

In action items, the board approved new hires of a custodian and paraprofessional. 

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102722 color run A huge turnout showed up early Saturday to participate in the 5K Costume Color Run at The Bradford at Brookside to benefit Making Sports Possible (MSP). MSP is a local 501(c)3 non-profit that provides financial assistance to children ages 3-19 to participate in league sports throughout Polk County. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten

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Early voting underway in general election

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Early Voting Graphic

From Enterprise Staff

As of 5:40 p.m. Tuesday, 2,359 ballots had been cast for the Nov. 8 general election – 1,484 in Livingston, 208 in Corrigan and 667 in Onalaska.

Early voting for the Nov. 8 general election began Monday at three locations and will be available until 5 p.m. Nov. 4. The three locations are the Polk County Judicial Center located at 101 W. Mill St. in Livingston, the Onalaska Sub-Courthouse located at 14111 U.S. Hwy. 190 West in Onalaska and the Sechrest Webster Community Center located at 100 W. Front St. in Corrigan.

There is extended weekday and weekend early voting from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Polk County Judicial Center only, as well as from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, also at the Polk County Judicial Center only.

Voters heading to the polls will select the following:

U.S. Representative, District 8


Lieutenant Governor

Attorney General

Comptroller of Public Accounts

Commissioner of General Land Office

Commissioner of Agriculture

Railroad Commissioner

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 3

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 5

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 9

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 5

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 6

Member, State Board of Education, District 8

State Senator, District 3

State Representative, District 9

Justice, 9th Court of Appeals, Place 2

Trustees, Livingston ISD School Board

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Commissioners court passes resolution for no more unfunded state mandates

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Polk County LogoBy Emily Banks Wooten

A resolution that there be no further unfunded state government mandates was approved by the Polk County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Tuesday.

County Judge Sydney Murphy said the resolution is similar to one the North and East Texas Judges’ and Commissioners’ Association approved at its annual conference.

“It addresses the county governments’ struggles to finance essential services under a 3.5 revenue cap while also funding the state’s statutory obligations that have been passed down to local governments. All of you are aware that constantly we receive legislative mandates and at this time the legislative mandates are eating up our taxpayer dollars and leaving very little revenue because we must follow those first and then leaving very little for the commissioners to build roads, for us to provide adequate services to our own taxpayers,” Murphy said.

Regarding the drought status, Murphy remarked that although a little rain was received Tuesday morning, neither the Texas Forest Service, the emergency management coordinator or the fire marshal are “comfortable,” so the Court approved extending the burn ban in the unincorporated areas of the county for an additional 30 days.

The Court approved action regarding submission of the General Land Office Community Development Block Grant Regional Mitigation Program applications, including a resolution to submit applications; execution of interlocal agreements with eligible water districts; and a resolution for financial management and procurement policies.         

A request from The Oasis of Texas Subdivision, Section 1, in Precinct 3, for a variance to the Polk County subdivision regulations requirement to obtain all necessary permits for proposed water and sewage facilities prior to plat approval was denied.

The Court approved, upon conditions met, Ridge Lake Estates Subdivision in Precinct 4. The re-bid of #2023.08 for pest control services resulted in the receipt of two bids with the Court accepting the bid from Broken Arrow for $7,004.

In personnel matters, the Court reviewed personnel action form requests submitted since the last meeting and reviewed two authorized emergency hirings, one in maintenance and on in the jail.

Fiscal year 2022 and fiscal year 2023 budget revisions, as presented by the county auditor’s office, were approved.

Presenting the delinquent tax office annual report, Jennifer Moffett reported that her office mailed 22,693 warning notice letters to delinquent taxpayers. She said the goal is for everyone on the delinquent tax list with a current address to receive correspondence several times before a suit is filed.

“We have filed 254 real property and personal property lawsuits to collect delinquent property taxes on 445 accounts. Our dismissals resulted in a total of 161 lawsuits involving over $780,000 in taxes, penalties and interest being dismissed. We’ve taken 361 tracts of property to the tax sales for $2.1 million,” Moffett said.

During the portion of the meeting reserved for public comment, Pastor Wayne Bickley of Soda Baptist Church said he wanted to go on record recognizing Pastor Jim Mayland and his contributions to the community since he moved here from Iowa in 2015. Bickley said Mayland is leaving in November to move to Wisconsin. “When he got here, he threw a rock in the lake and the ripples from Jim Mayland have moved throughout our community. He is going to be sorely missed,” Bickley said, citing a lengthy list of Mayland’s local involvement.

Items on the consent agenda included:

Approval of the minutes of the Oct. 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;

Approval to file a claim with the 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 July 1 through Sept. 30, 2022;

Receipt of the constable warrant service program quarterly report for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022;

Approval of the local assistance and tribal consistency fund agreement and accept funds in the amount of $121,933.16;

Approval of a renewal agreement with Texas Department of Public Safety for release of driver records for county employment;

Approval of a request from Sheriff Byron Lyons for asset forfeiture expenditure of seized property not to exceed $1,200 for K-9 school training;

Approval of a memorandum of understanding between Polk County and Burke for storage of a vehicle (truck and trailer) and the Precinct 3 Leggett facility;

Approval of an update to the master street address guide;

Approval of the use of $984 from maintenance capital outlay (budgeted funds) for the cleaning of air ducts at the Polk County Probation Center Office Building 2;

Approval of an updated agreement with Stericycle for disposal of medical waste at the Polk County Jail;

Approval of fiscal year 2023 Contract 23-1000824-1 (Oct. 1, 2022 through Sept. 30, 2023) between Polk County Aging Department and Deep East Texas Council of Governments for Older American Act Program (congregate and home-delivered meals);

Approval of the refinance of 2019 Caterpillar motor grader for Precinct 1 Road and Bridge;

Receipt of county treasurer’s fourth quarter investment report; and

Receipt of county treasurer’s annual investment report.

Bishop Nickson opened the meeting with prayer.

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