The court approved sponsoring an application for the corporation to seek a STEP (Small Towns Environmental Program) grant of $350,000, which corporation General Manager Robbie Arrington told the court would be used for water-line upgrading for about six miles on White Oak Road.
The court’s motion authorized County Judge Dean Fowler to submit a letter to the Agriculture Department requesting grant assistance.
Commissioners also authorized sponsoring an application for 2015-2016 funding through the department’s Texas Community Development Block Grant Program. Arrington said that potential grant would be $273,800 for a new well, and that the corporation would add $13,700 in matching funds if it is approved.
The county government would be out no money for either grant, but regulations require it be the sponsoring agency.
In other business Nov. 27, the court took no action on renewing its contract with Inline Network Integration, which oversees the county’s computer system, nor on requesting proposals for computer hardware and software upgrades.
Fowler recommended delaying the renewal, saying Inline wanted to bid on the hardware/software upgrades. The county currently pays Inline $48,600 yearly for information technology maintenance and support, but the firm’s bidding on the upgrades would put that amount over $50,000, and the court by law must seek bids whenever it spends more than $50,000 in a year with any one vendor, Fowler told The Mirror.
Thus, the court will now decide whether to seek bids on the contract and upgrades separately or together, as law requires bidding on both, he said.
Concerning the upgrades, Fowler told the court that was necessary because the county is heading toward purchasing countywide software to run the jail, court system, judicial matters, and the financial system. Before that can be done, he said, the county must obtain new computers to get its “infrastructure up to date.”
He said the 30-year-old current software must be replaced.
In other business, the court cast 683 votes each for Huey Mitchell and Jim Ragland for the Upshur County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors. The county’s taxing entities elect the 5-member board, with each entity’s number of votes determined by its tax base.
The court also approved Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle’s request to seek a grant from the East Texas Council of Governments for four cameras to detect who is doing illegal dumping in his precinct.
Dolle said trash and brush are being dumped in about five places. He said the cameras do both video and still photography, and “hopefully, I can place them where they (dumpers) won’t know they’re there.”
ETCOG would reimburse the county for buying the cameras, he said.
The court took no action on purchasing constable ticket books from contingency funds after Pct. 1 Comm. Paula Gentry said some constables may have ticket books they aren’t using. Dolle indicated another constable had offered to give him some such books.
In other business, the court:
• Approved a tax resale deed and resolution from a tax suit by accepting a $7,284 bid on 5.26 acres in the Gilmer Independent School District, a property that had been foreclosed on for delinquent taxes.
• Closed a secondary bathroom on the courthouse’s first floor and approved moving its fixtures to the Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Office in Gladewater to bring that office into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The bathroom will now be used for storage.
• Approved spending up to $175 to purchase a chair for the County Clerk’s Office.
• Heard a presentation from the Gilmer High School Future Farmers of America “Ag Issues” team, which is appearing before several groups as practice for its upcoming state contest Dec. 5 in Huntsville. The team, which discussed the pros and cons of high fructose corn syrup, includes Catherine Williams, Morgan Long, Kara Smith, Madaline Oller, Bryce Carroll and Brennan Warren.
They said that while such syrup has economic advantages, it also causes health problems such as heart disease and circulatory disorders.