North & East Texas
Anderson County Commissioners Court approved the creation of a county bond supervisor, a role previously held by the adult probation office.
Angelina County received a grant of $150,000 for its health district from the Texas Department of State Health Services to reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations of adults.
Bell County Commissioners Court voted to spend $201,250 with Michigan-based New World Systems for computer software upgrades at the jail.
Camp County adopted a hazard mitigation plan, including thunderstorms, tornados, wildfires, drought, flooding, winter storms and dam failure. “We profiled different hazards and developed goals and strategies,” Constable John Cortelyou told the Pittsburg Gazette.
Cass County held a rededication ceremony in Linden after restoration of its 1861 courthouse, the state’s only antebellum courthouse still in continuous use. Project director Kenneth Hawkins told the Naples Monitor, “To stand inside and realize people were standing here and using this building before the Civil War is majestic.” Singer-songwriter Don Henley, a Linden native and founding member of the Eagles, recalled playing on the courthouse lawn as a boy and said, “The typical American courthouse square was designed explicitly to express community values and to serve as a focal point for community life.”
Cooke County received a rating for FY2011 from Standard and Poor’s of AA with a stable outlook on the county’s general obligation debts. “This actually is a better dialogue of our rating than we’ve ever received,” Commissioner Al Smith told the Lindsay Letter.
Ellis County will have four bridges replaced for a total cost of $1.4 million by the Texas Department of Transportation in a federally funded program (with a match of $67,000 from the county). Commissioners also approved a contract with BearCom Wireless Worldwide of Dallas for radio system upgrades.
Grayson County Commissioners Court approved a hazard mitigation plan – making it eligible for certain disaster assistance – after a three-year project funded with a federal grant.
Gregg County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation, the city of Longview, and the Longview Economic Development Corp. to build an east-west highway across north Longview for a total cost of $17 million. The Longview News-Journal said the county’s share is $5.9 million.
Hopkins County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with iDocket.com to make records from the county and district clerks’ offices available to the public with online subscriptions. Judge Chris Brown told the Sulphur Springs News-Telegram, “It will be at no cost to the county.”
Kaufman County Commissioners Court approved tax abatements for an expansion that will add 32,000 square feet for an emergency room and physicians’ offices to Forney Medical Plaza.
Lamar County received a federal grant of $59,665 from the Help America Vote Act.
Madison County Commissioners Court approved a notice of intent to issue combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation to fund a $2.6 million project to convert the Reed Building in Madisonville to a courthouse annex.
Nacogdoches County auditor’s office received a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.
Navarro County received a certificate for achievement for excellence in financial reporting for fiscal year 2010 from the Government Finance Officers Association. The Corsicana Daily Sun said it was the 18th consecutive year for the county to receive the award.
Newton County received $10,000 from the Texas Forest Service for community wildfire protection.
Polk County Commissioners Court approved refinancing of $17 million in 2007 certificates of obligation to save about $2.5 million in debt service. The bonds were issued to finance construction of a judicial center and jail expansion.
Robertson County Commissioners Court selected J.E. Kingham Construction of Nacogdoches to manage renovations at the old courthouse and jail, including removal of hazardous materials.
San Augustine County was one of 16 counties to receive a grant for its health district from the Texas Department of State Health Services to reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations of adults.
Upshur County accepted a grant of $215,000 from the Texas Historical Commission to help bring the courthouse into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the Longview News-Journal, the project will require a county match of at least $108,000.
Wood County Commissioners Court approved construction of a CPS family visitation room in offices of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for a cost of $4,195.
Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald resigned, according to the Smithville Times, to seek a higher office. The Times said when elected in 1998 at the age of 27, McDonald was the youngest county judge in Texas history. The Elgin Courier reported McDonald will run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Brazoria County Commissioners Court approved seven-year tax abatements for a proposed $150 million plant in Freeport by Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences.
Burleson County Commissioners Court approved a contract with Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services (ACS-Xerox) to make available online the county’s land records since 1975. The county also has a new emergency notification system from Nixle of San Francisco, Calif., that sends messages by phone, e-mail, text, Facebook and Twitter.
Caldwell County Commissioners Court approved a mid-year salary increase of $500 for each of its 226 employees, excluding elected officials.
Goliad County Commissioners Court approved guidelines for tax abatements for landowners in reinvestment zones.
Harris County is being nudged in “the tech-savvy direction” by its chief budget officer, Bill Jackson. County residents are able to view information, statements and records online and make payments by credit card or electronic check. Jackson told the Houston Chronicle, “We all work for the taxpayers, and they want us to be the same way as if you went to Amazon.com. They just want to do e-commerce.”
Hidalgo County Commissioners Court approved a resolution for the retirement of Shark, a fire marshal accelerant detection K-9, for medical reasons. Ownership of the golden Labrador retriever will be transferred to Shark’s handler, Wesley Bradley.
Kendall County employees will have access to aerial imagery for floodplains, subdivisions and property improvements after commissioners approved an agreement with Pictometry Image Library and the Kendall Appraisal District.
Lavaca County received a grant of $10,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture for its feral hog abatement program and grants of $5,405 from the U.S. Department of Justice and $7,000 from Enterprise Products for bullet proof vests for the sheriff’s office.
Travis County Commissioners Court voted to spend $500,000 remaining from a 2001 bond project to widen a two-lane road near River Ridge Elementary School. Commissioners also approved regulations to protect the Trinity aquifer and the county’s western water supply.
Waller County Commissioners Court approved an agreement with Sheild-Bearer Counseling Centers for drug and alcohol educational programs and professional counseling and assessment services.
Washington County will upgrade its jail cell door locking system at a cost of $245,302.
Williamson County Commissioners Court approved an engineering contract with Freese and Nichols Inc. to study sturdiness and design repairs for three dams, including two damaged in 2010 flooding.
Archer County Commissioners Court approved a tax reinvestment zone and tax abatements for the Briar Creek wind farm, a proposal of Element Power, a global renewable energy developer with operations in 12 nations.
Brewster County – the largest county in the state with 6,169 square miles – celebrated its 125th anniversary on March 20 on the courthouse square.
Briscoe County received a federal grant of $32,000 for the Silverton and Quitaque volunteer fire departments to reimburse expenses for firefighting in 2011.
Clay County accepted a grant of $15,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture for feral hog abatement.
Comanche County Commissioners Court awarded a bid of $56,826 to Air, Wind and Solar LLC to place solar panels at the jail to help power the facility. The De Leon Free Press said the project will be paid with grant money.
El Paso County has a new commissioner for Precinct 3. Attorney Tania Chozet, a graduate of Yale University, was appointed to replace Willie Gandara, who resigned. Also, commissioners approved a $500,000 contract with Beacon Services for construction of a water system in Canutillo.
Gray County Commissioners Court approved its latest fiscal year audit by Doshier, Pickens and Francis that described the county’s financial condition as “very stable and very good.”
Hardeman County received a grant of $20,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture for feral hog abatement.
Hemphill County completed construction of its new law enforcement center and began remodeling of the previous center to accommodate the tax assessor-collector’s office. The two projects cost $2.9 million.
Kerr County Commissioners Court voted to issue certificates of obligation totaling $6.5 million for several projects, including $2.8 million for construction of the Hill Country Youth Exhibit Center.
Kimble County received a federal grant of $154,789 as 75 percent of its costs for battling the Oasis pipeline fire last year. The county also received a gift of $5,000 from the Friends of the Library.
Lamb County Commissioners Court approved $50,000 in grants for the Olton clinic, a public charity.
Moore County was designated “storm ready” by the National Weather Service.
Nolan County Commissioners Court approved a contract with DeltAlert of Houston for an emergency and mass notification system in cooperation with the city of Sweetwater.
Ochiltree County Commissioners Court approved an Eagle Scout project for repairs at gravesites of veterans at the county cemetery.
Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court received a report of a four-day wildland fire training program for 37 firefighters from volunteer fire departments, including Strawn, Gordon, Possum Kingdom West and Lone Camp. A grant from the Texas Forest Service funded the training, including fighting a fire without water.
Parker County Commissioners Court approved the purchase of a SWAT vehicle from The Armored Group for the Weatherford-Parker County special operations group. The vehicle will replace a 1980 armored truck, and its purchase will be funded with a grant of $196,600 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Reeves County Commissioners Court approved a contract to provide transportation services by its detention center for the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Tom Green County received grants of $17,883 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for nine portable radios for the sheriff’s office and FEMA grants of $9,827 for the Grape Creek Volunteer Fire Department and $19,766 for the Water Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
Wilbarger County Commissioners Court established a reinvestment zone and approved tax abatements for NextEra Energy for the Blue Summit wind farm to be constructed in 2012 at a cost of $250 million with an estimated 200 new jobs.
Young County Commissioners Court voted to spend $17,000 to install 16 security cameras inside and outside the courthouse.
Compiled by Garner Roberts