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By Emily Banks Wooten
Another budget workshop was on the agenda for the regular meeting of the Polk County Commissioners Court Tuesday in which the Court discussed the fiscal year 2024 budget development; proposed salaries, expenses and allowances of elected officials for fiscal year 2024; and capital purchase projections.
“July 25 is when we will have the final numbers,” County Judge Sydney Murphy said, adding that Polk Central Appraisal District Chief Appraiser Chad Hill has presently been unable to give numbers due to the large number of protests the appraisal district is hearing.
“We know Polk County is growing and residential development is exploding. I-69 is here. We currently are in the process of building the I-69 loop around Corrigan. It’s knocking on our doorsteps on both ends. We know that I-14 is coming so we know that we have got to make a commitment to our residents. We owe it to our residents to have good infrastructure, good development and to continue to maintain our quality of life,” Murphy said.
“This Court has made every effort to ensure good quality of life. And we will continue to. The development that’s occurring in Polk County is going to have a very big impact on our school districts. We need to remember this is not a money-based budget, it is a need-based budget. We will continue to look at long-term projections for Polk County. We know that interest rates are increasing. We’ll keep an eye on that. Hopefully, the economy is stabilizing a little bit,” Murphy said.
The Court designated Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Dubose as the second Polk County representative to serve on the rural transportation planning organization with the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG). Dubose will join Murphy who currently serves as an I-69 representative on DETCOG’s rural transportation planning organization.
Additionally, Murphy asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Milt Purvis to serve on the Texas Department of Transportation’s rural transportation planning organization.
The Court awarded the bid for the Corrigan Sub-Courthouse renovation, including remodel and disposal of construction debris, to Truline Construction of Livingston. Truline’s bid came in at $130,840 and will be paid from the restoration project funds.
In old business, the Court discussed and approved Option 1 for the employee health coverage (major medical) for fiscal year 2024. “There had been some discussion with TAC (Texas Association of Counties) about having a dual option because those who had their spouse or family on it really took a hit with the increase in cost. Moving forward with the current proposal is not sustainable,” Murphy said.
In personnel matters, the Court reviewed and approved personnel action form requests submitted by department heads since the last meeting.
Fiscal year 2023 budget revisions and amendments were approved, as presented by the county auditor’s office.
The Court issued a proclamation designating July 3-8 as Youth Rodeo Week in Polk County.
Additionally, Murphy congratulated Precinct 1 Commissioner Guylene Robertson for recently being honored for her community service by the Management & Training Corporation which operates the IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility.
Murphy also apprised the Court that the Rotary Club of Livingston recently presented the 100,000th book to a child in Polk County through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and R.E.A.D. Inc. (Reading Encourages Advanced Development), the Polk County sponsor of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Items on the consent agenda included:
Approval of the minutes of the June 13 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 of and record personnel action forms submitted by elected officials since last meeting;
Receipt of commissioners’ annual road reports pursuant to Texas Transportation Code Section 251.005;
Receipt of treasurer’s monthly report for May; and
Approval of the bi-annual agreements with Deep East Texas Council of Governments for emergency 9-1-1 services – public safety answering point services and automatic location maintenance service beginning Sept. 1, 2023 to Aug. 31, 2025.
Rev. Brian T. Wharton of First United Methodist Church of Onalaska opened the meeting with prayer.