Voting System, Road Use Agreement Approved
Hopkins County Commissioners Court did not approve an application for a 381 agreement, approved a road use agreement with a solar farm company, appointed a person to the local Workforce Development Board, reviewed annual road reports and updated voting management system for the County Clerk’s office during their Monday meting.
Hopkins County Commissioners Court was asked to consider granting a 381 agreement to J-B Weld Company.
“For those who are not familiar with that, it’s more or less like an abatement. It’s slightly different,” Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom said.
Under a 381 agreement, businesses receiving abatements are required to provide documentation the terms of the incentive agreement have been met. The business is billed for their taxes, but receives a reimbursement for the agreed upon exemption when proof of terms are met.
Newsom expressed concerns regarding the agreement request from J-B Weld, a “traditionally Hopkins County and Sulphur Springs business” that was “bought out” a few years ago. He said he received a copy of the agreement request last week.
“They sent in something last December, allegedly, but we never received it. Roger [Feagley, Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation executive director], I don’t think you received it. I don’t think the city of Sulphur Springs ever received it,” Newsom said.
The issued came up, apparently, after the business did not receive the incentive for the tax. Local officials met with company representatives via Zoom. J-B Weld, submitted the proposal received this month and presented to the court requesting a Chapter 381 agreement, according to Newsom.
Commissioner Wade Bartley asked if the proposal was to be retroactive for time that would have been in the agreement if submitted and approved in December. Newsom affirmed the request was for the agreement to be retroactive.
The proposal failed, receiving no motion for approval from the court.
Road Use Agreement
Hopkins County Commissioners Court did approve a request from Pine Forest Solar 1, LLC to use county roads in constructing the solar farm.
Essentially, Feagley reported, the agreement allows the business to have trucks carrying equipment and materials drive up and down the county roads in Precincts 2 and 3 to access the solar farm. It also allows them run wires across or under the roadway where necessary.
Bartley said company representatives had contacted county officials, speaking with him directly, noting their intent to help maintain the roads which will have heavier traffic during the construction phase of establishing the solar farm.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker suggested requiring any lines going under the roads to be incased in pipe.
When asked, Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Anglin said it was his understanding there would be some boring of roads required.
County Clerk Tracy Smith asked for approval for a new system for absentee request and ballot management program, which will be paid for with grant funds.
“The one we have is several years old. It’s kind of obsolete now,” Smith said.
The funding will pay for the system, licensing, maintenance and support agreement with VR Systems Inc. out of Florida for 5 years.
“I’d like to go ahead and get that approved so we can go ahead and get that in place to start using that this election,” Smith told the court.
Each commissioner annual is required to conduct an inventory of county roads which are then filed in the court minutes and with the Grand Jury. All of the reports totaled and the complete report submitted to the state.
Barker reported that there are 125 roads in Precinct 1. The 214 miles of road in Precinct 1 include 142 miles of oil roads, 33.4 miles of rock roads and 38.7 miles of dirt roads.
Anglin reported the 219.92 miles of roads in Precinct 2 includes 185.71 miles of oil roads, 18.2 mile of rock roads and 15.92 miles of dirt roads.
Bartley said the 210.3 miles of roads in Precinct 3 include 124.95 miles of oil road, 49.05 miles of rock road, 9.9 miles of dirt roads, 26.4 miles of chip seal roads.
Commissioner Joe Price reported the 219.1 miles of roads in Precinct 4 include 136.6 miles of oil roads, 50.4 rock roads, 31 miles of dirt road and 1.1 mile of chip seal road.
Additional Court Action
A county holiday calendar very similar to the 2019-2020 calendar was approved. The only change is instead of President’s Day, county employees will be off on Veterans Day added.
Hopkin County Commissioners Court also appointed David Burnt to searve on the local Workforce Development Board
Sheriff’s and constables fees for 2021 were approved as presented. Officials reported the fees are unchanged.