Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday approved financing for a new piece of equipment for Precinct 4, budget amendments moving funds left over from two FEMA programs, a contract with Van Zandt County for jail officials to assist with improvements and an application for a grant which would pay for 1 1/2 staff salaries at the District Attorney’s Office.
County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook told commissioners that the county received two quotes, one for 3.5 percent from Alliance Bank and one for 3.25 percent from Guaranty Bond Bank for financing of a new reclaimer for Precinct 4. She recommended the Commissioners Court approve the low bid from Guaranty to be financed over five years, with the payments to start in two months from approval.
The court approved the low bid from Guaranty to finance the reclaimer for 3.25 percent interest.
Aulsbrook also noted that budget amendments were needed to move funding from labor and in-kind matches once two FEMA project, one dating back to 2015, were closed out and completed into three precinct budget. The funding is in the road and bridge fund balance. Precinct 4 already received the funding before the end of Danny Evans’ term as commissioner and a road grader purchased with the funding.
“This if from FEMA 4223 and 4255, after they receive their labor and in-kind matches back there was money left over that you each received,” Aulsbrook said. “It’s the matches that you did with your salaries and equipment. After all the bills were paid and all the money came back, that’s what you had left over.”
The Commissioners Court approved moving $86,853.42 to Precinct 1 budget, $254,810.75 to Precinct 2 budget and $17,457.15 to Precinct 3 budget. Precinct 2 received more funding because the precinct had more damages than the other precincts, and how oil is obtained and in-kind matches were more, according to Aulsbrook and Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley.
Sheriff Lewis Tatum asked the Commissioners Court to approve an interlocal agreement with Van Zandt County which would pay wages of Hopkins County jail supervisors.
At the request of Van Zandt County officials, Hopkins County jail supervisors were sent to Van Zandt County jail to help the other county get their jail up to standard and in compliance with state standards. The HCSO jail supervisors worked on their days off in Van Zandt County, assisting in the process. The agreement will allow Van Zandt to pay the HCSO employees for the time they spent at the other jail. Tatum said normally an agreement would be approved first, but due to the immediate need, the work was performed quickly to help the other county. Tatum said Van Zandt County has a long way to go yet and likely will utilize HCSO jail supervisors again.
Aulsbrook said she had talked with the the Van Zandt County auditor and everything was in place. Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom reported he’d also spoken with the Van Zandt County judge, who was appreciative for the help from their Hopkins County neighbors.
The interlocal agreement with Van Zandt County was unanimously approved by the Commissioners Court at the Jan. 11, 2021 meeting.
Also approved by the Commissioners Court was submission of a grant application for victim assistance coordinator and legal assistant services to the Office of the Governor.
Aulsbrook explained this is a grant that the District Attorney’s Office has applied for and received for several years. The funding covers the cost of the victim assistance coordinators and half the cost of another staff member’s pay. The grant is the reason the DA hasn’t asked for a budget increase in those areas in a number of years. The DA’s budget already has built in the required matching amount for the grant.
Aulsbrook also introduced Katherine Janway, who was present in the courtroom and will be working in her office in areas of auditing and cash counts. She resides in Precinct 4.