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County approves opioid settlement resolution

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TCCommCourtLogoBy Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – At its regular meeting on Monday morning, the Tyler County Commissioners Court began its agenda with a trio of tabled items from previous meetings.

Two of the items, which pertained to part-time employees of the county and which ones are deemed essential workers, with regard to the American Rescue Plan Act funds, were requested to be tabled by county treasurer Leeann Monk, pending more information on the topic. Monk requested the items be tabled again, so that she can gather more information on the topic.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in March and intended to expedite the nationwide fiscal recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from determining which employees are designated as essential workers, in order to receive the premium pay amounts from the stimulus funding, the commissioners will also discuss and determine at a later meeting how and when the funds will be distributed.

The third item under tabled items was a renewal of the county’s IRIS service. The service, which is provided through the company TechRadium, Inc., is a communications infrastructure service used by the county’s emergency management office. 

Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe recommended to renew the service.

Opioid Resolution adopted

The officials adopted a resolution for Tyler County to support the state’s allocation method for a recent opioid settlement.

Before reading and adopting the resolution, the commissioners and Judge Jacques Blanchette looked at the terms of allocation for the settlement. The county stands to receive about $130K from the settlement, and adopting a resolution is the necessary step for an entity to get in on the funding.

In March, Purdue filed an estimated $7 billion bankruptcy plan, which placed the company’s value into a trust set up to allocate toward opioid abatement efforts nationwide. 

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced at that time that his office had worked “aggressively” to hold the pharmaceutical giant accountable “for its reckless contributions to the opioid crisis,” as Paxton stated in a news release.

Paxton said that the monies that would come from the settlements would be put toward treatment facilities, educational programs, foster homes and more.

More recently Paxton announced a $290 statewide settlement with Johnson & Johnson to resolve opioid-related claims, which will be disbursed in the future in a manner similar to the Purdue monies.

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