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Commissioners Court Approves 1% COLA For County Retirees, MOUs, SART Resolution

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Hopkins County Commissioners Court approved funding for two groups of people, retirees and a rail district. A line item transfer, MOUs with Sulphur Springs ISD and approving a resolution designating a Sexual Assault Response Team were also approved by during Monday’s Commissioners Court session.

Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook asked the Commissioners Court to consider approving a cost of living adjustment for people who have retired from Hopkins County. The amount requested was a 1% COLA, a 1% cost of living adjustment. Aulsbrook said those who have already retired from the county would appreciate a raise.

The Commissioners Court agreed to the 1% cost of living increase for county retirees.

(Front row) Frank Brown, Sulphur Bluff resident, spoke during public comment portion of the Dec. 27, 2021, Commissioners Court about road conditions near his residence.

Aulsbrook also presented and received court approval for a line item transfer, to move $16,504.75 attained from the sale of equipment through Auctioneer Express to the Civic Center’s from sale of assets into the special projects line in the Civic Center budget so that the funding can be used for special projects or purchases.

Hopkins County Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker noted that the court has designated approximately $26,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to Northeast Texas Rural Transportation District. Barker noted that NETEX is trying to upgrade the railroad. Hopkins County is one of six involved in NETEX. The funding is expected to be presented at the next NETEX meeting. The money is to be designated for purchase of cross ties along the rail line.

Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley asked the court to consider approving a 3-year radio tower lease agreement with East Texas Broadcasting Inc.

“This is just a contract renewal we have at the Purley Tower in Purley, Texas. We own two communications towers and we lease two communications towers, which it takes to spread throughout our county to communicate between the law enforcement and first responders,” Endsley noted.

The contract was expected to increase in cost with a 5-year renewal. After talking with the owner agreed to a 3-year contract as well as keeping the rate the same.

After the Commissioners Court approved the contract for use of Purley Tower, Endsley asked them to approved memorandums of understanding between Sulphur Springs ISD and Hopkins County Emergency Management and Hopkins County Fire Department.

“This is just a standard MOU that the school district has presented us. It just gives our understanding of what each other expects from each entity. It’s just a common MOU we’re doing with all the school districts. Sulphur Springs happens to be, I think, number 3 now,” Endsley said.’

The Commissioners Court was asked to approve a resolution establishing an 8th Judicial District SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) to monitor any sexual assault cases through the judicial process in Hopkins County and all of the 8th Judicial District.

Hopkins County Sheriff Lewis Tatum said after collaborating with the District Attorney’s office, a committee is being formed to begin monitoring sexual assault cases’ through the judicial process to meet what he understands is a new state mandate. While there’ve been no problem that he’s aware of getting cases prosecuted, there have been in some other counties.

“I think every district’s got to have it now. It’s another one of them unfunded mandates. I don’t know where this is coming from because we haven’t had any problems here. We’ll address the issues,” Tatum said.

Judge Robert Newsom said the order that the court will be addressing includes SAFE-T Program Director Mary Ferguson, District Attorney Will Ramsay; Sheriff Lewis Tatum; Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson; Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)/Trainer Kim Basinger and Donna Pendleton, and anyone else the presiding officer wants on the board.

A request from Farmers Electric Cooperative Inc. to construct electrical power distribution facilities which will cross County Road 3538 at the intersection of FM 900 as well as three prior work sessions and one regular court meeting conducted earlier this month were all also approved under one consent agenda during the Dec. 27, 2021, regular Commissioners County meeting.

Clyde Bostick, Republican candidate for State Representative for Texas House District 2.

Sulphur Bluff resident Frank Brown offered thanks to Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley for patching holes on one road, but noted that north of his driveway 1,115 feet of road has yet to receive repairs. He said the roadway has eroded and is down to about 6 1/2-7 feet wide, with the shoulders busting out on it, instead of 22-24 wide that it used to be. He said he’s talked to two people who’ve complained about that road. He said he’s also been asked why there’s no rock on the rock road, why it’s lower in the middle than on the sides.

Clyde Bostick introduced himself as a Republican candidate for State Representative for Texas House District 2.

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Author: Faith Huffman

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