Journalism in the public interest for Northeast Texas

County Commissioners swear in Jeff Jones as Constable of Precinct 2 Wednesday, Courthouse to host “Inherit The Wind”

in Lamar County by

Notice is hereby given that a Special Meeting of the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court will be held on the 28th day of February, 2018 at 1:00 p.m., in the Commissioners’ Courtroom located on the first floor of the Lamar County Courthouse, 119 North Main Street Paris, Texas, at which time there will be discussion and/or action on the following subjects:

1. Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag and the Texas Flag. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.

2. Approval of minutes. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.

3. Discussion and/or action regarding the Lamar County Commissioner’s Court allowing the “Paris Community Theatre”, including its’ staff, actors, cast, and crew, the use of the public areas of the Lamar County Courthouse, such as, the Courtrooms, jury rooms, restrooms, balcony, etc. in preparation for, and actual production of a famous American play, about the American legal system, called “Inherit the Wind.” The historic Lamar County District Courtroom, and the Lamar County Courthouse in general are excellent venues for just such an event. This play has been performed in the Courthouse in Clarksville, and other Courthouses around the nation which showcases high Courthouse drama. The Paris Community Theatre is requesting use of the building, after hours, beginning in early March through April 22, 2018. Judge R. Wesley Tidwell has approved the use of the District Courtroom for these dates. The Paris Community Theatre assures the Lamar County Commissioners Court that no staff members will enter any spaces that are not otherwise common areas of the Courthouse. During the production of the play, when the public will attend its’ performance, The Paris Community Theatre will hire off-duty police officers to act as security to safeguard the public and property. The Lamar County District Judges are in agreement that The Paris Community Theatre be allowed the use of the Lamar County Courthouse for the production of this important American play. Resolution No. R2018-005. The production dates for the play are FRIDAY, APRIL 20TH”, “SATURDAY, APRIL 21ST, AND “SUNDAY, APRIL 22ND. EVERYONE IS INVITED TO ATTEND. Tickets may be purchased through Paris Community Theatre, Josh Maxwell Managing Director, Paris Community Theatre, PCT Office 115 Clarksville St., In the Brown Centre for the Creative Arts. Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10am – 3pm. Phone – 903-784-0259. FAX – 903-784-4195. Email office@pctonstage.com. Seating is limited and everyone is advised to acquire their tickets early so as to be sure to attend this spectacular event in this very unique venue.—M. C. Superville, Jr., Lamar County Judge; R. Wesley Tidwell, Judge 6th Judicial District Lamar and Red River County, Will Biard, Judge 62nd Judicial District Lamar and Hopkins County, Bill Harris, County Court at Law Judge, Lamar County, Sydney Young, Attorney, Director of Inherit the Wind for PCT, Jill Drake, Assistant Prosecutor and Stage Manager for Inherit the Wind, Gary D. Young, Lamar County District and County Attorney.

4. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court to receive into the minutes a copy of the “acceptance letter” from Jeff Jones accepting the appointment to the position of Lamar County Constable Precinct Two position which was left vacant by Mike Ford. This appointment becomes effective upon the Courts’ receipt of this letter of acceptance, approval of a bond, and execution of the appropriate oath. – County judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.

5. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving and approving the Official Bond and Oath for Jeff Jones, Constable Precinct Two. – County Clerk, Ruth Sisson

6. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving into the minutes a copy of the letter dated February 21, 2018, that the County Judge sent to Mr. Tommy Henderson, Director of Operations with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This letter is in regards to TxDOT donating additional salvage “Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement” (RAP) material to Lamar County. This request for material will not be counted against Lamar County’s current (FY2018) 2060 Weight Tolerance allocation of $19,199. – County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.

7. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving an update and status report on repairs, and needed repairs, in the Courthouse and/or other County property. The item contemplates Lamar County Commissioners’ taking reasonable action as needed to repair and/or maintain County property. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.

8. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court to review and/or accept an “Engagement Letter for Initial GASB 75 OPEB Valuation for Lamar County” actuarial services to be provided to Lamar County for the September 2016 fiscal year by Gabriel, Roeder, Smith and Company(GRS) for a total cost not to exceed $2,500. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall

9. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ to approve “Master Interlocal Purchasing Agreement” between North Central Texas Council of Governments and Lamar County for actuarial shared services. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall

10.Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ to approve “Master Agreement Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Actuarial Valuations” between Gabriel Roeder Smith and Company (GRS) and Lamar County to perform an actuary of Lamar County’s OPEB. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall

11. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court regarding line-item transfers for various offices. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall

12. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court to approve payment of claims, payroll, and other bills. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall

13. ADJOURN

Lamar County Commissioners to discuss Homeland Security grants and interview for constable vacancy on Tuesday

in Lamar County by

Notice is hereby given that a Regular Meeting of the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court will be held on the 20th day of February, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., in the Commissioners’ Courtroom located on the first floor of the Lamar County Courthouse, 119 North Main Street, Paris, Texas, at which time there will be discussion and/or action on the following subjects:

  1. Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. Flag and the Texas Flag. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  2. Approval of minutes. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  3. Discussion and/or action regarding a Proclamation of the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court to adopt a Proclamation to recognize National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Week, February 17-24, 2018) in Lamar County, Texas. The Future Farmers of America motto is “learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve”. (Proclamation No. P2018-001) – Chisum ISD, North Lamar ISD, Paris ISD, Prairiland ISD, and Roxton ISD; Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  4. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving the annual “Racial Profiling Compliance” report from Lamar County Sheriff Scott Cass, as required by Article 2.132 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  5. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court hearing a presentation in regards to a Homeland Security Grant. The Grant is an application for the “Multi-Jurisdictional SWAT Team Ballistic Vest Project” for Lamar County in the amount of $10,137.50, no matching funds required. (Resolution No. R2018-002). Lamar County will administer this grant. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.; Lamar County Emergency Management Coordinator, Quincy Blount
  6. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court hearing a presentation in regards to a Homeland Security Grant. The Grant is an application for the “Multi-Jurisdictional Regional Hazmat Response Team Project” for Lamar County in the amount of $24,707.00, no matching funds required. (Resolution No. R2018-003). Lamar County will administer this grant. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.; Lamar County Emergency Management Coordinator, Quincy Blount
  7. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court hearing a presentation in regards to a Homeland Security Grant. The Grant is an application for the “Multi-Jurisdictional Surveillance Equipment Project” for Lamar County in the amount of $36,729.75, no matching funds required. (Resolution No. R2018-004). Lamar County will administer this grant. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.; Lamar County Emergency Management Coordinator, Quincy Blount
  8. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court interviewing and/or appointing a person to the Constable Precinct Two position for Lamar County. (§87.041 of the Texas Local Government Code). The appointment is made to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mike Ford, Constable Precinct Two, effective March 2, 2018. – County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  9. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Personnel – Discussion regarding deliberation of appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee; or to hear a complaint or charge against an officer or employee pursuant to § 551.074 of the Texas Local Government Code. This item is in regards to interviewing, discussing and/or appointing a person to the Constable Precinct Two position for Lamar County. – County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  10. Action regarding EXECUTIVE SESSION – County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  11. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving into the minutes a copy of the letter dated January 2, 2018, that the County Judge received from Mr. Tommy Henderson, Director of Operations with Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This letter is in regards to TxDOT authorizing the release of materials FY 2018 allocation, and for Lamar County to coordinate with Michael Gibson, Maintenance Section Supervisor to work out the details of securing the materials. Lamar County is participating in the County Assistance Program FY 2018. – County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  12. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving the Jail Commissary Audit Report for the year end September 30, 2017. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall
  13. Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court receiving an update and status report on repairs, and needed repairs, in the Courthouse and/or other County property. The item contemplates Lamar County Commissioners’ taking reasonable action as needed to repair and/or maintain County property. – Lamar County Judge, M.C. Superville, Jr.
  14. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court regarding line-item transfers for various offices. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall
  15. 15. Discussion and/or action by Lamar County Commissioners’ Court to approve payment of claims, payroll, and other bills. – Lamar County Auditor, Kayla Hall
  16. ADJOURN

 

County Commissioners meet Wednesday at 9am

in Lamar County by

NOTICE OF MEETING OF THE
COMMISSIONERS’ COURT OF LAMAR COUNTY, TEXAS

Notice is hereby given that a Special Meeting of the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court will be held on the 14th day of February, 2018 at 9:00 a.m., in the Commissioners’ Courtroom located on the first floor of the Lamar County Courthouse, 119 North Main Street, Paris, Texas, at which time there will be discussion and/or action on the following subjects:

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Commissioners Court: Monday, Nov. 28 [LIVEBLOG]

in Lamar County by

Going forward, readers can expect liveblog of future Commissioners Courts and the City Council meetings. This should allow Paris Free Press to spend more time for pushing deeper into issues surrounding local government and the community. I will be posting live updates at meetings from my twitter @coltonsanders

Readers can reach out to Paris Free Press via twitter or facebook to pose questions to public officials in realtime. Paris Free Press is a public resource as much as it is a news organization. Feel free to use us in that way.


A liveblog of Lamar County Commissioners Court on Monday, Nov. 28 follows:

09:09 – Lamar County Commissioners are meeting right now for their regularly scheduled meeting. Livetweeting to follow…

09:11 – Chief juvy PO Darrell Bruce is speaking on Tree of Angels week, inviting public to attend ceremony 6:30pm 12/8 at Central Presb. Church

09:14 – fyi: Tree Of Angels is a tribute to surviving victims of violent crime and their families.

09:15 – Judge Superville is now speaking on remembering Pearl Harbor, the sunken USS Arizona, and WW2.

09:17 – Superville: the world that we live in today, it’s like that we forget how terrible war is

09:23 – Bud Mackey invites the public to attend ceremony on 12/7 in commissioners courtroom at the Lamar County Courthouse

Per the county agenda:

“…there will be a ceremony in the Lamar County Courthouse on the first floor in the County courtroom from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to listen to the children from the Trinity Christian Academy perform and sing songs.”

the annual lighted Christmas parade

‘Staging’ for the Annual Lighted Christmas Parade will begin at 4 p.m. at the Courthouse’s North, Northeast, and Northwest parking lots. The parade starts at 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend. Anyone interested in being in the parade can call Keri Daniel at 903-785-2397.

09:29 – Kari Daniel is speaking on behalf of Downtown Assoc. about evening Christmas Parade this weekend:

“This is the seventh annual evening Christmas parade” …this year’s theme is SMILE, “we wanted to continue the theme of the 100 year anniversary of the fire,” Johnny Crawford will be the 2016 grand marshall. “We’ve got a lot of entries.” Daniel says they’re keeping an eye on the weather. “Saturday afternoon- if it’s raining, we’ll just push it back to the next weekend,” which would make it the second time they’ve had to postpone the parade in the last seven years, she says.

09:33 – Commissioners vote to allow parade preppers to use county courthouse parking lots.

09:35 – “Get there early if you want a good seat” Public invited to evening lighted Christmas parade downtown 12/3 at 6pm

bbq for lcso, county surplus, and discussion on nepotism

jenny-barton-rushin-mem-2016
Sherry Yeatman presents Lamar County Sheriff Scott Cass and the Commissioners Court with a check for the Sheriff’s Office with funds raised by the Jenny Barton-Rushin Memorial Foundation at a BBQ Cook Off held in October 2016. Money was also donated to the Paris Police Department and Dylan’s Drivers.

10:07 – Lamar Co. Sheriff Scott Cass receives a donation from Sherry Yeatman of the Jenny Burton-Rushin Mem. Foundation

10:12 – Commish Court votes to renew contract with Auctioneer Express for county surplus and authorize Commish Ronnie Bass to handle dealings.

10:15 – Commish Layton is asking to abstain from voting in re: Randy Boren, citing a potential conflict of interest due to being Layton’s bro-in-law

10:19 – Layton is also asking to abstain from voting in re: Tire City, which is owned by Layton’s son.

10:20 – Layton: I have no (financial) interest in either business, but i wanted to put this out there and be open about it,

“I want everyone to know I don’t have any interest in Randy Boren Trucking. And I don’t have any interest in Tire City. I used to own Tire City and I give that to my son…10 years ago…I buy a lot of my tires from American Tire Company out of Dallas…which the tires that I buy from them we have to really keep in stock because you never know when you’re going to blow out…a truck-tractor tire or trailer tire and that’s something you just can’t go get.”

“It has to be a good deal,” Layton said if he were to buy tires from his son’s business. Wants to be “in the light of day” about it with the public.

Superville: “In the past, Lonnie would come in and say, ‘look, here’s an estimate from company a, b, and c. Tire City is the cheapest, I’d like to do that. The court would say OK and they would approve it.”

Commissioners read this Texas Statute and cited a discussion from the attorney they keep on retainer, David Brooks, who Superville said seemed to be in agreement with Layton abstaining from voting in regards to Boren or Tire City. David Brooks ‘wrote the book‘ on county and special district law.

after 9 years of public service, commissioners bid Russ Towers farewell with high praise

10:34 – Commish Court is now recognizing outgoing County Clerk Russ Towers for his service and dedication to his time working for Lamar County.

Superville: I want to be the first to tell you publicly, what a fine human being I think that you are. Ever since I met you, when you were (an employee) at the county clerk’s office, and later when you became the elections administrator, and later when you accepted the appointment to fill the vacancy at the county clerk’s office, each challenge you stepped up. I think the citizens think that what we do is easy, and I’m here to tell you it’s not easy. It’s extremely difficult to do what we do. And Russ has stepped up to each challenge with a smile on his face and has bent over backwards to get along with everyone, including me… I don’t think I’ve ever seen Russ Towers have a bad day– or at least it hasn’t shown. I don’t know a single person in this building who does not have a huge amount of respect for Mr. Russ Towers.

Malone: I’d like to say that Russ has always shown me and everybody I’ve ever seen him deal with all the respect they deserve. He’s done a good job. He’s helped me a lot…I probably had some pretty dumb questions. He’s always been kind to me and helped me along. It’s been an honor working with you, Russ. You’ve done a good job, and I hope the best for you where ever you go to.

Layton: Mr. Russ, I’d like to say thank you for what you do, what you have done. I can’t say enough good things about you. I’ve come to you at lunch time. I’ve come to you at the end of the evenings and brought stuff to you– for instance that affidavit, I think it was about lunch time that day, and you said, ‘well, let me see if I can find it for you.’ You didn’t say, ‘Well, let’s wait until after dinner,’ or whatever. Within just a few minutes you got back and you had that for me, so man you never put anybody off that I know of. So I just want to say thank you for what you’ve done for me, and I know you’ve done a lot for the others. I plan on bugging Ruth a little bit like I did you– not very often– but I just can’t say enough good things about you.

10:36 – All the commissioners are giving high praise for our County Clerk. Commish Bass thanks Towers on behalf of the taxpayers for his effectiveness

Bass: I haven’t known you that long, but what I’ve learned recently is I see a man that’s very effective at his job. And when I say that– we have to work very efficiently. The taxpayers command us to be efficient. So we are– we’re efficient. You and the auditor probably have one of the hardest jobs here, in keeping all of us happy and keeping all the public happy…and in doing so you do it effectively. Everything that you do is finished, we don’t have to question it…you’re going to get the job done. Also, my hat is off to you for opening your door to assist Ruth and not just throw things on her. Because that effectiveness would not be there if you did that. And I appreciate you doing that. I kinda had Rodney help me when I came in in the transition. And I would’ve totally been lost without that help, so I know you helped Ruth in that transition. I appreciate you doing that for the taxpayers. It saved us a lot of money and that being effective at your job is going to continue. I wish you well in everything you do. I think that you’re a person that is going to succeed in anything you do because you have your mind set. You don’t accept defeat in anything, and I appreciate that.

Mitchell: Russ, it’s been great. It has been great. I value our relationship. As the agenda item says: we appreciate what you’ve done…your service to the people, our friends and neighbors, they say you served well. I appreciate what you’ve done and I know that whatever the next door is that opens up, you’ll do well.

Superville: I actually saw Russ pull Ruth to the side, and if I remember this correctly…I think Russ told you his door was open, and he meant it, and I know you spent a lot of time in there with him showing you what’s what. In fact, I think he actually hired you so you could learn more about being a county clerk, and I think that is fantastic. You’ve been to many meetings now, sitting next to Russ. And I think that Russ made that happen. And you as well have been gracious in your succession to the County Clerk…so I respect you for being such a gracious successor. And the reason I wanted to say all that to both of you and to everyone in this room is that I think that is leadership. I think that is the American way. I think that we need more people like the two of you in America, and in this county and in this state. And I think that you are both an example for all of us. And I commend you both for that. I don’t think I could’ve done what the two of you have done. And I know it was hard for both of you. Somehow, somewhere the good Lord gave you the grace to do it, and I commend you for it.

10:42 – Commish Court will officially commends County Clerk Russ Towers for his work.

10:44 – Russ Towers is speaking on beginning as an employee and his time as the County Elections Administrator and all that he learned.

Towers: Gosh, thank you to the court, to all of the commissioners and the county judge for the opportunities that you’ve given me over the years. You know, when I started here in 2007, I had no idea what elections were all about. And it’s not a dream job at all. And the commissioners court in 2008 gave me the opportunity to build an office. Started from the ground up. Kathy had already laid the groundwork for official elections, but I got to make it into what it is today. And you know I would come to the judge with all these crazy purchases, and as long as I found a way to get the money, you didn’t care. And all the commissioners court, you helped me along the way with the purchase of the poll books and the purchase of the online reporting software. And those are the cool things that…the citizens of Lamar County get to enjoy now. And Kathy retired, I was given the opportunity to be the county clerk…through a very historical moment. So thank you for that. And I’ve gotten to work closely with a group of women who I’ve loved over the years, that I’ve grown closer to. Nita, thank you. You’ve been a pleasure to work with. Thank you for helping with this proclamation today. You’ve always been so special and supportive and helpful to me. Sheriff, you’ve always been there for me when I need you. When I needed support, when I’ve needed deputies on election night, you’ve always taken care of me and I appreciate it. Nicki, you’ve always been so kind and so sweet and helpful. Kayla, you’re awesome…at your job and I hope you know that. And everyone appreciates you. And Ruth you’ve taught me more about myself– I think– this year than I knew. So this was a hard year, but I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome and I couldn’t– I trust you. And I trust her. And I trust that the office is now in good hands, and it will be. I may not be the County Clerk. Starting on Monday next week, she’s going to. But still, my heart will always be with the office, and a piece of it will always be with Lamar County, too.

Early voting numbers begin to decline, but turnout still considerably higher than 2012

in Lamar County/Latest News by

In the past nine days, well over 8,500 people in Lamar County have cast their vote for the general election.

With less than one week left in an election that seems to have become a kind of caricature of itself, many Lamar County residents cite a desire to get the process over with, and the uncertainty of what election day might bring– in the form of long lines and hectic personal or work schedules– as their prime motivator to get to the ballot box early.

img_0347
A voter enters the Lamar County Courthouse annex, aka “the Old Post Office” on Lamar Ave. for early voting Wednesday. (Colton Sanders, Paris Free Press)

But turnout has waned since Saturday, with daily totals now dropping below 1,000. Lamar County Elections Administrator Tricia Johnson said that one reason for the drop is that many people think early voting is over.

“Some people think we’re finished voting. They think (the last day) was either last Friday or Sunday,” because early voting typically occurs in the final two weeks of October, Johnson said.

But election day falls later this year, which gives voters until 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4 to vote early. (Election day falls on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November)

During the first week of early voting for this election, turnout was several hundred people above the daily totals from the 2012 election. Only 5,712 people had cast their ballots at this point in 2012.

As of Wednesday, the total number of votes are at 8,762, setting the county on a path to break it’s past record for early voting.

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Commissioners to address PJC’s proposed expansion Monday at 9 a.m.

in Lamar County/Paris Junior College by

Lamar County Commissioners will meet Monday, Oct. 10 at 9 a.m. to discuss a possible resolution supporting Paris Junior College’s expansion of its taxing district to include all of Lamar County.

PJC’s tax district is currently limited to the Paris city limits and the old Cunningham school district, a small area in the southeastern part of the county.

Community colleges rely mainly on property taxes from their district, tuition/fees, and funds from the state to operate, and PJC has one of the smallest tax districts out of the 50 community colleges in the state.

In a recent interview with KETR, PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin said tuition is right at the state average.

“If you look at the surrounding community colleges, we have some (where) tuition is lower than ours. So there is that point that we really can’t go any higher,” Anglin said.

The clearest benefit from voting yes would be the decrease in tuition for residents in the county.

Those who live in the county could expect to add $85 a year to thier property taxes for every $100,000 their home is valued at.

At the same time, however, tuition would drop from $100 per credit hour to the in-district rate of $55 per credit hour, ideally making PJC more affordable to Lamar County residents.

What that looks like on paper

Students from outside the tax district pay $300 in tuition for a 3 semester credit hour course while in-district students pay $165 for the same course, based on literature provided by PJC.

According to an economic impact study completed by Economic Modeling Specialists International in 2014, Paris Junior College employed 485 people in 2012-13. During this same time, enrolled more than 10,000 students in total.

Commissioner’s Court is a public meeting, and therefore the public can come to express their opinions on any agenda items or other county issues.

Citizens of Lamar County can voice their support or concerns by attending at 9 a.m. or calling their commissioners. Contact information can be found here, and you can determine which precinct you reside in by using this map.

For background reading, click through to the following articles:

  1. PJC’s 2015 report (Paris Junior College)
  2. PJC Fact Sheet Summer 2016 (Paris Junior College)
  3. PJC’s annexation fact sheet (Paris Junior College)
  4. PJC eyes taxing district election (Herald Banner July 2016)
  5. New Paris Junior College taxing district?  (KSST July 2016)
  6. Anglin: PJC threatened if tax district vote fails (Herald Banner August 2016)
  7. PJC Tax Annexation Interview with Dr. Pam Anglin (KSST August 2016)
  8. PJC’s new proposed tax rate is confusing (Sulphur Springs News Telegram September 2016)
  9. Voters to decide on PJC property tax question (KETR September 2016)

Also on the agenda:

  • Receive an update on repairs to Lamar County Courthouse and county property
  • Public hearing and decision on 2016-17 annual county clerk records management and archive plan that will call for the continuation of a $10 filing fee
  • Allowing Reverend Rodney C. Slaughter and other community leaders to use courthouse parking lot to conduct a “Community Revival” to promote peace, understanding, and good will in our area
  • A potential contract with RWCS Janitorial Services
  • A potential contract with Northweast Texas Pest Control
  • Line-item transfers for various county offices

Ronnie Bass appointed new Precinct 3 commissioner

in Lamar County by

Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville appointed a new Precinct 3 commissioner Monday.

Ronnie Bass was appointed by the county judge following the Sept. 30 retirement of incumbent Rodney Pollard. The commissioners accepted his resignation during a meeting Sept. 12.

“Rodney has left Ronnie in a really good situation,” Superville said Monday, referencing several bids read earlier in the meeting for equipment to be used in Precinct 3. “There are about 200 miles of road in each precinct… each commissioner only has $1 million to maintain (those roads). … It’s a tough job, but it’s vitally important.”

Superville said a formal letter will be sent to Bass offering him the position of appointee for the remainder of Pollard’s term, which ends Dec. 31. If accepted, commissioners are expected to approve his appointment at a future meeting.

Bass’ elected term will begin Jan. 1 and continue until Dec. 31, 2020.

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County to hold final public hearing on tax rate

in Lamar County by

Lamar County commissioners will hold the final public meeting to discuss the proposed 2016-17 fiscal year budget and tax rate at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Commissioners will discuss and possibly adopt the proposed .4066 effective tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year, a one percent decrease compared with the current tax rate of .4275.

The commissioners will also discuss and possibly adopt the property tax increase reflected in the proposed 2016-17 budget, which will raise property taxes by one percent compared with last year’s budget.

Of that amount, $163,789 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.

The amount of revenue and percentage increase in revenue are based on the proposed budget. These figures are subject to increase, or decrease, depending on the actions taken during the special meeting Thursday.

In other business, commissioners are expected to approve a resolution authorizing the submission of an application o the Texas Department of Agriculture for a Texas Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Relief.

The meeting will be held at the Lamar County Courthouse, located at 119 N Main Street.

Editor’s Note: You can view the meeting’s agenda here

Second public hearing for proposed county tax increase on Monday

in Lamar County by

Lamar County Commissioners are scheduled to hold the second public hearing on a proposed tax increase Monday, September 12.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Rodney Pollard is set to turn in his resignation, and will step down at the end of September three months before his term expires. No announcement has been made to fill his seat, however the likely candidate is Ronnie Bass who won the Republican primary in March with 62% of the vote.

Commissioners plan to make updates in three places of the county personnel handbook:

First, the county will pay 50% for the cost of health insurance for the spouse of eligible county employees who retire before October 1, 2016 until the spouse reaches Medicare eligibility. The county will also pay 50% of the cost for the children of the retiree until they reach the age of 26 or become eligible for Medicare. The county will no longer pay the health insurance for the spouses and children of those who retire after September 30th, 2016.

Second, they will discuss amending the handbook so that a day of holiday pay would mean 12 hours for law enforcement personnel, 10 hours for road hands, and 8 hours for other county employees; and they will discuss setting a yearly limit of 60 hours of holiday time, to be consistent with the county’s vacation policy.

Lastly, in place of the current ‘benefit time,’ commissioners will discuss amending the overtime pay rate for law enforcement personnel covered by the 207(k) exemption of the FLSA. The new overtime rate for law enforcement personnel will be calculated based on a ‘salary basis’ using 171 hours during a 28-day pay interval.

Charles Edwards of Resource Management & Consulting Company will speak before the court regarding the 2017/18  Texas Community Development Block Grant (TCDBG) program for infrastructure improvements. This year’s application guide states the program’s objectives are to create jobs, and to improve housing conditions and public facilities, primarily for persons of low-to-moderate income.

The court will also consider approving a contract with Resource Management & Consulting Co. for the administration of the county’s 2016 TCDBG for disaster relief.

Also on the agenda is:

  • Moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
  • A presentation from AFLAC about online enrollment for insurance services to elected county officials and employees
  • The sale of Precinct 1 equipment via Auctioneer Express
  • An update on repairs to the courthouse and other county property with possible action
  • PUBLIC HEARING concerning a continuation of a $10 filing fee for district court records
  • Approving and receiving the 2016/17 annual written plan for district court records archive.1
  • Discussion and/or action regarding Lamar County Commissioners’ Court entering an “Order of the Lamar County Commissioners’ Court of Lamar County – In Re: Tax Levy, Lamar County Levee Improvement District No. 1.”2
  • A proclamation from the court to honor Commissioner Pollard for his service to the county
  • Memorandum of Understanding Agreement between Lamar County and Texas A&M AgriLife extension service pertaining to IT services for the next two years.
  • Line item transfers for various offices

1. Section 51.305 of the Texas Government Code states “The commissioners court of a county may adopt a district court records archive fee of not more than $10 for the filing of a suit, including an appeal from an inferior court, or a cross-action, counterclaim, intervention, contempt action, motion for new trial, or third-party petition, in any court in the county for which the district clerk accepts filings as part of the county’s annual budget. The fee must be set and itemized in the county’s budget as part of the budget preparation process and must be approved in a public meeting. The fee is for preservation and restoration services performed in connection with maintaining a district court records archive.”

2. The Commissioner’s Court agenda goes on to read: “This Lamar County Commissioners’ Court Order is made pursuant to a “Certificate of Resolution” made by the Board of Supervisors of the Lamar County Levee Improvement District. The Board of Supervisors are resolved to assess a tax of $3.00 on each acre of land located in the levee improvement district for the maintenance and improvement of the levy. The levy is designed to protect and benefit these lands and the total cost of maintenance and improvement of the levy is estimated to be $13,800.00”

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