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Jasper County Commissioners Court

The Jasper County Commissioners Court met on Monday, June 17th, 2024 in a Regular Session and covered the following agenda items:

 

First the Court heard from Administrative Assistant Jo Ann Sargent with the Sheriff’s Office, who requested that the Court pay off the accrued compensatory overtime for all of the Sheriff’s Office employees for the previous six month period.  The Court then voted to pay off the time totaling $93,467.29 out of the Prisoner Reimbursement Fund, which is derived from housing inmates from other counties.

 

Next, the Court heard from Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jason Hollyfield, who presented the monthly Jail report, advising that the Sheriff’s Office had invoiced a total of $43,065.00 for housing inmates from Nacogdoches, Newton and Tyler Counties in the month of May, which the Court approved.

 

Concluding law enforcement business, the Court held a FY2025 budget workshop and heard from Mrs. Sargent, who was joined by Chief Deputy Scott Duncan and Sheriff’s Office Jail Administrator Lana Lee, who asked for salary increases for dispatchers to bring them closer to the pay increases received by law enforcement officers and jailers under Senate Bill 22 in FY2024.  Mrs. Lee also requested that an additional fulltime Jailer position be added to better assist with the workload on Jail shifts.

 

In road and bridge matters, the Court voted to approve an interlocal agreement between Jasper County and the City of Browndell to assist the city with road proposed road projects.  Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Holloway advised that he would like to assist the City of Browndell with improving some of their roadways.

 

Next, the Court voted to participate in a grant program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Resource Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program to perform major headwall projects at drainage crossings on county roads.  The current parameters of the grant require a 25% match from Jasper County, with the remaining 75% coming federal grant funding.  Over the years, Jasper County has completed several projects across the county utilizing this grant program.

 

Concluding road and bridge business, the Court voted to approve the establishment of Private Road #5079, which is off of County Road 510 in Precinct 3, and authorized the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission to begin issuing 911 addresses to property owners along this road.

 

In other business, the Court voted to renew Jasper County’s local declaration of disaster for another two months due to the ongoing recovery efforts underway by Jasper County, the Texas Department of Emergency Management, FEMA and the Small Business Administration.  The Court noted that Jasper County’s federal Disaster Recovery Center was located at the Jasper County Annex Facility in the City of Jasper and anybody that received damage as a result of the April and May, 2024 storm events is encouraged to come to the DRC to receive information and assistance.

 

The Court then voted to award a contract to Grant Mackay Abatement Company out of Houston for demolition services on a grant-funded floodplain buyout project in the City of Jasper.  This is part of a multi-property project that Jasper County is providing assistance to the City of Jasper by utilizing grant funding to acquire and demolish homes in a floodplain which have repeatedly flooded.  Per the agreement with the City of Jasper, after the services have been completed under the grant program, ownership of the properties will be transferred to the City to be utilized at their discretion.

 

In airport matters, the Court discussed property near Jasper County’s Kirbyville Airport that was believed to be for sale and could be utilized as buffer space to improve the safety of landing and departing aircraft at the airport facility.  The Court voted to authorize Precinct 3 Commissioner Willie Stark to reach out to the property owners to receive information regarding availability and cost.  The Court noted that the property consisted of approximately 3.5 acres of land and that it could be purchased utilizing grant funding which would cover 90% of the cost.

 

The Court then voted to form a committee comprised of County Auditor Mellissa Smith, Precinct 3 Commissioner Willie Stark and Precinct 4 Commissioner Dennis Marks to research properties in Jasper County’s name to identify any that were no longer in use by Jasper County for possible public auction.

 

Next, the Court considered the renewal of Jasper County’s employee health plan, but tabled the item due to the need to receive additional information from the provider.

 

Following this, the Court heard from representatives of Blackfin Pipeline on a proposed compressor station to be constructed in south Jasper County, which would tie in a 48-inch pipeline from MPG, which is 193 miles long.  This compressor station would also possibly tie in additional proposed pipelines that are in Jasper County to transport natural gas to the south and southeast.

 

Cameron Morgan of Blackfin Pipeline advised that the compressor station would result in a $70 million investment in Jasper County and that although it would employ only a few permanent personnel, it would also provide a large number of project construction jobs for the pipeline and the compressor station itself.  The company requested a 70% abatement, but the Court countered with an approved tax abatement of 50% for a period of ten years, which was accepted by Blackfin.

 

The Court then heard from County Treasurer Rene’ Ellis who provided the monthly finance report and County Judge Mark Allen then provided the monthly civil and criminal fee report on behalf of District Clerk Rosa Norsworthy who was busy with the District Court selecting a new Grand Jury panel.

 

That covers it for this Court meeting.  Please keep the family of Deputy Treasurer Stacy Waggener in your prayers.  Stacy was an outstanding employee with Jasper County for several years and always handled every task with a smile and a joke.  She will be greatly missed by her friends and coworkers.

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