The county Commissioners met Monday, April 13th, for a regular session. Commissioner Fearl Smith was unable to attend, due to health issues. The session opened with the usual business of the county, followed by a brief discussion of road conditions around the county. Recent rains have improved conditions in local lakes and on farms and ranches, but have made it difficult to grate the roads.
District Clerk, Tracie Pippin addressed the commissioners concerning the approval of the Court Payment Card Processing Participation Agreement between the County and Tyler Technologies. This agreement will be for e-filing purposes, mandated through the Texas Supreme Court, for probate cases. Criminal cases are not mandated to participate at this time. The District Clerk’s office is planning to put this in place well before the required date of July 1, 2016. They are doing so in order to get the system running smoothly in plenty of time before going “live”. Commissioners approved.
Next was a briefing on the courthouse repairs. Currently the Law Library is undergoing renovations. Water damage to the ceiling, walls and floors are currently being repaired, causing Grand Jury to meet in the Assembly Room.
A proposal to upgrade the panic buttons throughout the courthouse will be discussed at the next meeting. Training will be scheduled for an upcoming date and some equipment, but not all, will need updated. These items are funded through the Courthouse Security funds.
Judge Mitchell Davenport reported that the Renee Bates Auction is scheduled for May 1st, to sell off surplus property.
Sheriff Melvin Mayo brought to Commissioners a proposal to “unite” the various cell phone plans currently being used by the county. Currently the county pays 3 different bills. In the proposal by Sheriff Mayo, the plans would be combined into one plan, which will be beneficial for the county in a couple of different ways. First, as one plan, all county employees that carry a county cell phone will be a part of a cost share pool of 4200 minutes. According to the usage from the past, this would likely be “more than adequate”, said Mayo. Combining will allow the county to go onto a Government 300 Plan, used for small entities. All together there are 28 phones being used. The plan will also include unlimited data, unlimited texting, and unlimited mobile to mobile services. The service and plans are through AT&T. Currently the county is paying up to $60 per month for some phones. With the new plan, some will be $50 a month and others $35 per month, saving the county money. One very important feature is being added to the phones…Push to Talk. This feature will enable county employees to communicate between each other at the push of a button, improving response time in many different scenarios from road work to accidents. Sheriff Mayo explained how, at a recent car wreck, response personnel from the Sheriff Office were working traffic control a far distance from their vehicles. Communication is a key in making sure that all involved with the accident is safe. Officers were having to go back to their vehicles to use the radios during this accident, as their hand-held radios were out of range. The Push to Talk feature will hopefully alleviate that issue. Sheriff Mayo will test the phones, then bring the results for final approval.
Commissioners approved a proposal made by Sheriff Mayo to replace LED lights at the LEC. Mayo also reported the roof repairs were 100% complete, and recent rains caused no issues.
Before adjourning, the commissioners discussed a “plan” to help the ailing Commissioner Smith, until he is able to resume duties. Commissioner Brock offered to act as a backup for Smith, with all commissioners willing to assist.