A subdivision variance request, the sale and removal of a home from Precinct 1 county property, an agreement for a security access control system, a budget amendment for purchase of a tractor for the jail trustees farm, and a contract for additional research tools for judges and prosecutors were approved by Hopkins County Commissioner Court during their regular meeting Monday
Brinker Water Supply request
Brinker Water Supply was given permission to lay a 4-inch water line on the east side of right-of-way on County Road 3528 starting at County Road 3600, and continuing north about 2,580 feet; and for a few road bores on County Road 3531.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley told commissioners that the water supply company is looking to improve a water line in the area. One landowner would not grant permission for the WSC to cross the property, so permission was being sought to let the water workers do the work needed along the county road to proceed with the project.
Bartley recommended the court allow the request. The motion received unanimous approval from the court.
Water Group Appointment
Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom said Bartley had been serving as the county’s representative on the North East Regional Water Planning Group. Bartley, he said, had indicated he does not wish to continue serving on the board. Thus, a new member would need to be appointed.
Newsom recommended Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker to serve as the representative, and said he’d be willing to serve as an alternate for the group.
The county judge said the group has some hard issues ahead to consider, including protecting local water rights while considering the needs of those in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for water.
The Commissioner Court approved Barker as the county’s representative and Newsom as alternate for the group.
Precinct 1 Home Sale Removal
Barker recommended accepting the high bid from among four received for the sale of a home to be moved from the Precinct 1 barn property.
The Precinct 1 Commissioner explained that when four acres of land was purchased for the barn years ago the property had a house on it. The house has been a county rent house. Barker decided to sell and have the house moved.
Bids included: Johnny Northcutt $1,250, Michael Northcutt $2,500, Debora Clements $3,001.50 and Cydney Williams $8,520. Barker recommended the bid from Williams be approved. The court accepted the bid from Williams.
Williams will be contacted and have 30 days to remove the home from the property. The funds received will go against the bond to repay the funding; it will not go to Precinct 1, according to Barker.
Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office plans to utilize an unexpected $10,000 tech grant received from NCIC to the jail administrator, with no earmark on it, to apply toward purchase of a tractor for the jail Trustee Farm.
The total cost of the Kubota tractor is estimated at $30,250. Sheriff Lewis Tatum and Chief Deputy Tanner Crump proposed using the funds from NCIC, along with about $10,000 from the jail commissary fund and the rest from the seizure fund to purchase the tractor without using any taxpayer dollars.
Tatum said his office has been looking to purchase a tractor for the farm for a while. In the past, one has been borrowed from the Civic Center when needed at the farm. If they get one now, they should have it in time to plant potatoes on Friday in the farm garden.
Crump said the county changed companies Jan. 1 for the jail phone system. The county jail will receive more per call using the current system through NCIC. The new equipment arrived in January. The system should make it easier for families of inmates to add funding for inmates to use to make calls, and is better for investigative purposes as well, Tatum pointed out
To use the grant funding, the court had to agree to amend the budget to move the $10,000 from revenue to a farm expense line item, County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook noted. The court gave full approval for the amendment, so the tractor can be purchased for the jail.
Legal Research Tools
A subscription agreement with LexisNexis, Inc. for legal research tools for judges and prosecutors to use, as well as any others if necessary.
“I met with the judges last week, District Judge Eddie Northcutt and Clay Harrison, our county court-at-law judge. They asked for add a whole lot more research material for a little bit more amount of money. So, our price will go up in the contract,” Newsom.
The fee will increase from $609 a month to $638 a month this year and $657 a month next year under the agreement.
“We are saving probably saving $5,000 to $10,000 a year over what we used to do with West. We are parting company with West. We have left West and were are with Lexis only. I believe it’s a good buy,” Newsom said. “The judges say this should satisfy them to have all of the resources they need.
Funding for the resource is paid out of the law library fund, not the general fund, Aulsbrook noted. Filing fees through the court system have been appropriated for this fund, according to Newsom. Approximately $18,500 have been appropriated for the law library fund, according to Aulsbrook.
Laura Peek asked for a variance from the county’s subdivision regulations.
Barker said he’d looked at the property in question. Peek is retiring and plans to sell 48 acres, keeping three for herself. There is a pool on it which would not give the full 200 feet.
“It’ll be like 13 feet less, 187 feet, than the rules require but it will not affect anything as far as emergency vehicles or anything of that nature,” Barker said.
The Commissioners Court approved the variance request.
JP security system
The court approved a $12,718 contract with Firetrol Protection Systems for a security/access control system to be put in at the Justices of the Peace and Tax Offices. The JPs have about $24,000 in a JP security fund that has not been spent; the funding would come from that fund.
This will allow a new system to be install to put the offices on the in-house system which goes directly to and is monitored by the sheriff’s office. This should mean quicker dispatch and response times should an alarm button be triggered by staff in the offices. It cuts out a step in the process. Previously a monitoring company would be alerted if an alarm is triggered, then notify the sheriff’s office, where a dispatchers would then send a deputy to check things out, according to Newsom and Tatum.
Affordable Housing Application
The Commissioners Court also passed a resolution supporting a housing tax credit application for Reserve at Sulphur Springs.
Newsom said that, unlike a lot of other counties, Hopkins County declared a state of disaster in 2018 due to the deluge of rainfall. As a result Hopkins County has enjoyed some benefits from the federal government. Along with that, Hopkins County has received a housing request to build a total of 80 units, rental property, in Sulphur Springs. The project needs city and county officials’ approved to submit the application for the project to proceed. The company will come in and build affordable housing for senior citizens and those in need of affordable housing, according to Newsom.
“It’s a unique opportunity and there is a particular company, which is Brian McGeady. They are going to call it the Reserve at Sulphur Springs. They are going to build it at Bell Street at League, so it’s in the city near Sulphur Springs Elementary,” Newsom said. “It’ll be a real asset to Hopkins County because we are real short of affordable housing right now.”
Newsom said with 100s projected to be coming into the area as solar farms are being constructed, affordable housing is even more of an issue to consider.
According to the resolution, McGeady plans to submit a full application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for funding through the Competitive Housing Tax Credit Program for proposed Reserve at Sulphur Springs. The resolution was read for the record and will be submitted to TDHCA.
County Road 1120 resident Dale Crumpton, during the portion of the meeting designated to citizens comments, asked why the road hasn’t received substantial improvements in the last 3 years. He said it was his understanding, FEMA funds had been awarded to the county and designated for repairs to CR 1120. He cited previous conversations and attempts which were unsuccessful in attaining an answer to that question.
Crumpton said recently his new four-wheel drive all terrain vehicle hit a pothole it just about knocked the vehicle off the road. The front end of the vehicle had to be repaired. He was asked if he’d hit a curb. He said his granddaughter’s vehicle had a tire and wheel damaged due to the road. He said he was told the road is so bad that a dump truck can’t be driven down it.
Even with precinct workers patching the road, putting gravel out it’s still like a roller coaster, according to Crumpton.
He said one neighbor had taken to painting the potholes white so people can see and try to avoid them. This has proved helpful during rain, when pot holes fill up and are hard to see.
Crumpton said he was told the road was to be fixed, ditches to be cleared and the road bed to be raised. He wanted to know why those things have not been achieved.
Barker said he couldn’t speak for anything the previous commissioner, but did know funding had been allotted by FEMA for road repairs. Oil and sand were put down to the north of the road. Crews have brush cut, picked up logs and trees and packed the roads. He said road crews are limited in what repairs can be done in winter due to the weather.
Crumpton was invited by Barker to wait until the conclusion of the regular court meeting so he could talk with him about the matter. Crumpton appeared to take him up on that offer.