Broadband Expansion, Final Plat, Software Agreement Approved By Commissioners Court

Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday, April 25, 2022, considered requests to expand broadband further into the county, for a final plat, a software agreement and asset disposal.

Hopkins County Commissioners Court

Broadband Expansion

As part of the consent agenda, the Commissioners Court agreed to one request from Frontier Communications and two requests from Spectrum/Charter which would allow the businesses to expand services further into rural Hopkins County.

“I want you to know that, especially with Spectrum, that is broadband – broadband being brought into our rural areas. So, it’s really a big deal. It allows people in really rural areas to have really good internet connection so that if you wanted to you wouldn’t have to come to Sulphur Springs, to the city limits or to an area that has really good connections. This will be in the country that we will have excellent broadband,” Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom noted.

The process is a slow one, that is expected to take several years to complete, but expansion of broadband internet into the country has begun over the past few months and continues. The expansion is made possible through a federal program funneled through the state and regional levels, such as Ark-Tex Council of Governments.

Frontier Communications will be boring 2781 feet, and install handholes, drop boxes and ducts in Precinct 3. Spectrum/Charter will be constructing and placing meter base poles or ground mount meter bases on County Road 3506 in Precinct 3 and on County Roads 4711, 4712, 4700, 4714, 4715, 4712, 4719 and 4763 in Precinct 4.

Commissioner Wade Bartley said he had reviewed the requests and had no problem with the work in Precinct 4. He then made the motion to approve the requests as presented.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Price said he had no problem with the request, except it included a county road that is not on his road inventory. He said the list includes a County Road 4360; there isn’t one in Precinct 4.

Newsom said the list includes only numbers sent to his administrative assistant for inclusion on the court agenda. He suggested checking on the matter, and otherwise proceeding with the motion. The commissioners agreed. Price then seconded the motion, with the noted road issue. The motion passed unanimously.

Final Plat

The court then considered a request for a final plat for Oak Grove subdivision.

County Clerk Tracy Smith noted that the request is simply the final draft of the preliminary proposal the Commissioners Court approved at the March 14, 2022 meeting. The property is off of County Road 1126 and County Road 4120.

At the March meeting, Price said as he understood it, the subdivision is located in both Precincts 1 and 4. He’d looked at it but Precinct 1 Commissioner Mickey Barker had not had an opportunity to do so at that time, because he’d been on extended sick leave due to illness.

Barker, who only returned to work part time at the last court meeting, Monday said is aware of the request but as yet had no opportunity to go out and look at the property. Price reiterated he has no problem with the part of the plat located in his Precinct.

County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley said county officials had met with the applicant for all the required preliminary meetings and work. The applicants is simply seeking to subdivide the land, not create a subdivision, and has everything in order, ready to go.

Price made a motion, which Barker seconded, to approve the request to subdivide the plat. The request was unanimously approved by the court.

SAFE Software

Endsley asked the court to consider approving an agreement for SAFE software for Hopkins County environmental officer. Essentially, the fire marshal said, the software being used is about to be dissolved. The proposed SAFE software, Endsley said, will be better for the county because most of the vendors use the program. It should help cut down on manhours by reducing some work redundancy.

Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley and Aaron Welch address Hopkins County County Commissioners Court on April 25, 2022.

“I think it’s also going to cut down on cost per year, so I think you’re going to save a lot of money going forward with it as well,” said Aaron Welch, who Endsley noted has been hired as a consultant since he’s had past experience working with those types of computer systems.

There would be installation fees. After the initial fees, if the county chooses to renew the agreement, the cost currently is $450 each year following the initial year. That fee would include updates and any other changes, and tech support. If the county, after a year chooses not to renew the agreement, they would no receive updates nor tech support for their system, according to Welch.

“The current system that we’re on right now, we’re on borrowed time. So, we hope this transitions over before our time runs out,” Endsley said, affirming that the total fee, which was not noted during the work session, is less than then amount the county has been paying for the service.

Welch said he would be on hand to help facilitate the transfer. A $1,000 fee per day will be charged as stipulated in the agreement for onsite training, for “however many you want” on site.

Bartley made the motion to approve the recommended SAFE software agreement for the county environmental to use. Barker seconded the motion, which the Commissioners Court then approved.

Asset Disposal

Price said he plans to dispose of 8 pieces of equipment from Precinct 4 at auction:

  • New Holland P95P backhoe
  • 2 Rex mixers
  • pump trailer
  • International 4900 truck
  • GMC 3500 truck with flatbed
  • 50-foot bush hog rotary mower
  • 8 12-inch shop lights.

Bartley plans to dispose of four pieces of equipment from Precinct 3 through AuctioneerExpress.com, an online auction business based out of Mount Pleasant:

  • Case Super L backhoe 4×4 with extended boom,
  • 100 CX Case tractor, open top with four-wheel drive,
  • 6320 John Deere tractor cab, side boom mower and ditcher and
  • hydraulic dump bed for a 1-ton truck.

Bartley said he also plans to put in a live auto auction a 2006 GMC half-ton pickup when the time comes to replace it with one that is on order. When the new one comes in, it will be sent to auction.

“Some of this equipment is wore out. These tractors have got a lot of hours on them. Some on repairs, it’s just not feasible to spend the kind of money they want in repairs on this reequipment. We hope to replace it somewhere down the road,” Bartley said.

Barker too has two REX mixers that will be auctioned soon. He has yet to speak to Auctioneer Express, but that is the auction service he plans to use to dispose of the property.

Price made a motion, which Bartley seconded, to approve disposal of the property as stated; it was unanimously approved by the court.

Miscellaneous

The Commissioners also reported receiving routine reports from both constables, county and district clerks, Extension Service office, Homeland Security-environmental and law enforcement, fire department, both justices of the peace, sheriff, tax assessor collector and treasurer’s offices.

Bills, revenues and expenses, payroll, and financial statements were approved as presented.

Author: Faith Huffman

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