Commissioners Mike Spencer, Frank Berka and Cole Hefner approved, while Pct. 1 Commissioner Paula Gentry opposed. After the meeting, Gentry said she voted no because she did not vote to accept NETDATA’s bid at an earlier meeting.
In other business Friday, the court approved budget amendments, including moving $12,000 in funds to cover a shortfall in the food budget for jail inmates.
County Auditor Brandy Lee told the court that the jail food budget “is pretty much down to nothing unless we do this budget amendment.” That news came with slightly more than a month remaining in the county’s fiscal year.
In other action, the court approved a maintenance grant contract with the state office of the attorney general so Upshur County crime victims can keep track of inmates in the state penal system.
Under the Statewide Automated Victim Notification Service contract, a computer and software are available in the sheriff’s office to let victims keep tabs on where inmates are and when they are being released, said County Judge Dean Fowler.
In other business Friday, the court approved granting $2,058 through the United States Department of Agriculture to the Meals on Wheels program, which annually receives funding from the county.
Commissioners also approved a contract with the state which Fowler said will allow a person born anywhere in Texas to have a certified copy of his/her birth certificate printed in the Upshur County clerk’s office rather than having to go to the county of the person’s birth.
Fowler said the county must pay for the certificates under the “vital statistics” contract wtih the Department of State Health Services, but also will charge citizens for them.
The court also authorized the county road and bridge department to work at livestock pavilions at the Yamboree grounds. The work will be performed under an interlocal agreement with the city of Gilmer.
In other business, the court approved District Clerk Carolyn Bullock’s request to move a counter in her office at the justice center back to its original location as a security measure.
In the same motion, the court approved District Clerk-Elect Karen Bunn’s proposal to repaint the office beige or tan after she said she would furnish the paint at her own expense.
Bullock, who will be succeeded by Bunn Jan. 1, said she wanted to move the counter for two reasons: a “couple of incidents” had occurred at the window near where workers now sit, and items which the public should not see are left out on desks there. Bullock said filing cabinets will also be moved.
In other business Friday, commissioners approved letting Fowler execute the “First Amended and Restated Memorandum of Lease” involving Calthon Cattle Company’s lease on the county’s “school land” in West Texas.
The nine school districts lying partly or wholly in Upshur County receive revenue from the land. Fowler said the memorandum would be filed in Baylor and Throckmorton counties so that the entire lease need not be filed there.
Commissioners also Friday approved an amended plat for Walnut Creek Estates.
In addition, the court heard Jerry Holsworth, second vice-commander of local American Legion R.E. (Peppy) Blount post No. 320, report on the Gilmer-based post’s activities in 2013 and 2014.
He said about 180 veterans have come to the post for assistance, and that the local organization has put in more than 5,500 man-hours of activities. Among them are the annual outreach fair the Legion hosts for veterans to learn about potential governmental benefits, Holsworth noted.
The post also plans to have service officers available one day monthly at its headquarters for veterans to consult, he pointed out.
Holsworth said the local post’s membership has increased 150 percent, and that it has more members than any of the other 21 posts in its district.
In addition, the Gilmer post has formed three other organizations: American Legion Auxiliary Unit 320, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 320 and American Legion Riders of Post 320, meaning about 90 people are now associated with the Legion, Holsworth said.
“We’ve done very well” in just a few years,” summed up Holsworth, the post’s past commander. He also said the Legion found out Fowler was a “pretty good bugler” when the judge sounded “Taps” at a July 4 flag-lowering ceremony which the post sponsored at the Upshur County Library.
Also Friday, the court approved the county payroll by 3-0 vote with Berka abstaining, as he normally does. He has complained that the employees are paid before the court approves it.