Bids for road materials, continued participation in a grant program to help feed county residents, improvements to the courthouse, a new BOMAG machine for Precinct 4 and a reappointment to the county appraisal district board were among the items approved by Hopkins County Commissioners Courts
“We went out for bids for road materials and received back from all the normal vendors that send back every year,” Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook said.
“I just want to make mention that the material prices keep going up, up, up. As much money as we spend with these companies, I think it would behoove us — if that is the correct word– to do some communicating with the powers that be at each one of these vendors to try to get these prices down a little lower. It’s getting out of control, in my opinion,” Precinct 1 Mickey Barker said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker noted the prices for the materials continues to increase. He said it might benefit the county to communicate with the “powers that be” for each vendor in an effort to “get prices down a little lower.”
Hopkins County Commissioners went through the bids received for various road materials, with each commissioners selecting their top 1-3 choices, but approved all bids.
Basically, by designating their top choices but accepting all bids, the commissioners have the option to make a purchase from another bidder on the list if the top bidders don’t have the product they are seeking in stock, Aulsbrook noted.
Choices varied by commissioner based on varying costs per mile from the different businesses to each county barn Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price noted. For instance, a Paris business would have to travel less for a location in the northern part of Precinct 3 than to Precinct 1 or 2, thus, the hauling cost would likely be more for Precinct 1 or 2.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker said in other instances, trucks may not be available to perform or deliver the product at a specific time needed. In those instances the commissioner can opt to call on their second or third choice.
Bartley noted that if choice 1 doesn’t give him a good enough service, he defaults to his second choice in these areas when applicable.
Bids were for metal and plastic culverts, road materials, road oil, road surface sealant, oil sand, granular sub-base materials and shingles.
The county received no bids for chip sealing, according to Aulsbrook.
Aulsbrook asked the Commissioners Court to consider approving one final budget amendment to close out the 2019-2020 budget.
“It’s for security systems that were put in last budget year. We paid for it from the security budget and that budget wasn’t funded for it. So, we need to move general fund money over to cover it. We paid out $49,338 to install security systems in 2020. So, that’s what I would be moving to the security fund,” Aulsbrook said. “Those were approved and passed. I was just waiting until we paid for it all so I could get the total and move the money once.”
The 2019-2020 fiscal year ended last month and the new year began Oct. 1. Making this final amendment will allow for updated accounting to meet requirements prior to the annual outside audit of county finances, Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom noted.
Oct. 26 is the last day that any bills can be paid or financial business added to the 2019-2020 budget.
“My understanding is y’all got it to the penny this year. I don’t know that we’ve ever been able to do that just that perfectly. So I want to brag on Kelly [Kaslon], Danny [Davis] and Shannah and all their staff. They got it to the penny this year. I’m talking everything is accurate and balanced out. That’s really amazing because outside auditors actually allow quite a bit of allowance if you’re not perfect. But we’re perfect, so I really commend yall for good work,” Newsom said.
The court also approved a commercial work order of $34,100 from Horn Brothers Roofing for courthouse repairs. Newsom said the company is in progress of repairing windows at Hopkins County Courthouse, hence the equipment located outside the courthouse.
“We have a wonderful, wonderful courthouse. It’s 125 years old, but it takes quite a bit of maintenance to make it work,” Newsom said.
He noted the basement and first floor windows were repaired a couple of years ago for more than $140,000. The second and third floor windows need repairs. Those got under way last week and include work inside and outside of the courthouse.
The court approved the purchase of a Bomag from RB Everett and Company through Buyboard for $179,850 for Precinct 4. Price said they had a couple of pieces of equipment that have worn out. He plans to keep an older Bomag to be used as a mixer for the time being. Aulsbrook said Price is required to go out for bid for the project because it’s being purchased by Buyboard contract.
Newsom reported that each year the county approves a memorandum of understanding with East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. He recommended that the county do so again this year.
The court also approved the name change and ownership of Hopkins Energy LLC solar project agreement; the project is changing to NG Holdings Inc. out of Houston. This won’t change the agreement, just the name in the agreement.
A resolution authorizing the county participation in a grant program for 2021 which would allow Lamar County Human Resources Council to continue to serve Hopkins County residents by providing food for them. This is something the county does annually to allow LCHRC to feed rural homebound residents across Hopkins County. The county gives a small contribution to the program. An annual resolution approving an agreement is required in order for LCHRC to continue the service, according to Newsom.
Hopkins County Tax Assessor/Collector Debbie Pogue Jenkins agreed to again serve on the Hopkins County Appraisal District Board of Directors.