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Jasper County Commissioners Court

The Jasper County Commissioners Court met in the first Regular Session of the year on Monday, January 22, 2024 and covered the following agenda items:


First, the Court heard from District Clerk Rosa Norsworthy who presented her civil and criminal fee reports, which the Court accepted.


Next, the Court heard from County Judge Mark Allen and Kirbyville City Councilwoman Amanda Gates regarding a request made by all of the local 4-H Clubs in Jasper County to donate a tree in memory of Texas AgriLife Extension Agent Cindy VanDevender who we recently lost and who spent most of her career working with Jasper County youth in 4-H programs, helping local farmers and ranchers and assisting with adult and youth nutrition in meal planning and preparation.


The Court approved the request and joined past and present 4-H members in mourning the loss of Mrs. VanDevender.


The Court then heard from Deputy Treasurer Stacy Waggener who provided the Sick Leave Pool Committee report for 2024.  The Court noted that in 2023, Jasper County employees donated a total of 1,659 hours of their sick leave time to assist fellow employees who were out for extended or terminal illnesses.  The Court then selected the names of the employees who will volunteer to serve on the Sick Leave Pool Committee for 2024, which include Kandi Davis and Chelsea Washington from the County Judge’s Office, Brenda Oliver from the Sheriff’s Office and Leah Wade from the Juvenile Probation Department.


County Treasurer Rene’ Ellis followed by providing her monthly financial report, which the Court approved.


In other business, the Court voted to appoint Mr. Olen Bean of the Trout Creek Community in Newton County to serve as Board President of the Southeast Texas Groundwater Conservation District, which represents Jasper, Hardin, Newton and Tyler Counties.  Mr. Bean, who already serves as the Vice-President of the Board and will be taking the place of Mr. Roger Fussell who recently passed away.  Mr. Fussell was a longtime servant in both Jasper and Hardin Counties and will be greatly missed.


The Court then heard from Precinct 4 Commissioner Dennis Marks who advised that the Venture Global pipeline project had been initiated in South Jasper County and that the company was requesting consent to bore under County Road 821 in the Gist Community, which the Court approved.


Next, the Court heard from Deputy County Clerk Patty Wagstaff, who provided contracts between Jasper County and the cities, schools, Emergency Service Districts and other special districts for election services in 2024.


The Court then discussed a request made to utilize Jasper County’s Annex Building for activities outside of government operations.  After a brief discussion, the Court opted to maintain the restriction of Annex Building use for direct governmental activities.


Next, the Court heard from Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jason Hollyfield who requested authorization to transfer surplus Watchguard brand in-car and body-worn camera equipment to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.  Hollyfield explained that in 2023, the Commissioners Court had authorized the purchase of a video recording system for Sheriff’s Deputies from GeTac and that the Watchguard equipment was no longer in use.  The Court approved the transfer in exchange for $7,400.00 in payment from Orange County and authorized the sale of future Watchguard surplus equipment in the Sheriff’s Office possession as long as it was sold at a fair market value.


The Court then heard from Chief Deputy Scott Duncan who provided the monthly Jail report, advising that the Sheriff’s Office had invoiced a total of $15,040.00 for housing inmates from Nacogdoches, Newton and Tyler Counties as well as from the City of Jasper.


Next, the Court voted to renew Jasper County’s contracts for housing inmates from Nacogdoches, Newton, Sabine and Tyler Counties for a period of one year.


In airport related matters, the Court considered a request made to allow for property items other than aircraft or aviation related equipment to be stored in hangars at Jasper County’s Bell Field and Kirbyville Airports.  During the discussion, it was noted that in the past hangars were used for storing a variety of farming equipment, vehicles and other property items and that years ago, the Commissioners Court opted to allow for only aviation related property be housed as a safety measure.  After the discussion, the Court voted to allow Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Holloway and Jasper Airport Manager Chris Ruiz to work on a policy amendment that would allow for some property to be stored provided that aircraft and aviation equipment were the primary items housed at airport hangars.


Concluding airport business, Commissioner Holloway advised that his Foreman Chris Ruiz and his clerk Hannah Conner have been spending a great deal of time working on aircraft related matters due to the current runway widening grant project and the new aviation fuel depot project underway.  Holloway advised that although Mr. Ruiz receives a supplement for performing parttime Airport Manager duties for the Bell Field Airport, the scope of work had increased, and he felt that an increase was necessary.


After a discussion, the Court opted to increase the supplement for Chris Ruiz from $6,000.00 to $10,000.00 annually and to provide an annual supplement for Ms. Conner in the amount of $3,000.00.


Concluding business, the Court voted to adopt a policy regarding appointments of Emergency Services board members filling future vacancies by utilizing a specific form to obtain information regarding each prospective nominee.


That covers it for this Court meeting.  Have a great week and as always, feel free to give me a call if you need anything my way.


Mark Allen, County Judge

Jasper County, Texas


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