The Jasper County Commissioners Court met on Monday, November 20th, 2023 in a Regular Session and covered the following agenda items:
First, the Court heard from District Clerk Rosa Norsworthy, who provided her monthly criminal and civil fee reports, which the Court accepted.
Next, the Court voted to approve an interlocal agreement with the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission, along with Hardin, Jefferson and Orange Counties to participate in a regional study of broadband Internet needs, especially in rural areas, to provide the necessary plans and information for future grant applications to acquire federal and state broadband funding. The Court noted that the $17,200.00 allocation from Jasper County, based on the 2020 U.S. Census population numbers, could assist in obtaining millions of dollars in grant funding to bring about true highspeed Internet to Jasper County’s citizens.
In disaster preparedness business, the Court voted to award a pre-positioned contract to Debris Tech, LLC out of Picayune, Mississippi for debris monitoring services during major disaster recovery operations.
Following this, the Court voted to allow Jasper County’s local declaration of disaster and countywide restriction on burning to expire Tuesday night at midnight, and urged citizens to use caution when burning.
Next, the Court voted to pay the compensatory time that has accrued over the past six months for Sheriff’s Office employees out of the Prisoner Reimbursement fund in the amount of $76,624.05.
The Court then heard from Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Jason Hollyfield who presented the monthly Jail Report, advising that Jasper County had invoiced a total of $20,880.00 for housing inmates from Nacogdoches, Newton and Tyler Counties, as well as from the City of Jasper in the month of October, 2023.
In road and bridge business, the Court voted to approve a plat of a new private subdivision in Commissioner Precinct 4 for filing purposes. The subdivision named “The Barndominium Estates” will be located off County Road 835 in Buna.
Next, the Court voted to authorize a 48-inch natural gas pipeline to cross County Road 821 in the Gist Community, provided that the crossing is completed under current Texas Department of Transportation regulations.
The Court then voted to officially designate street names for roads in the Rayburn Country Subdivision, Section 21, Block 7 at the recommendation of the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission 911 Mapping Department. The names officially designated for 911 purposes are Victoria Court, Cypress Drive, Carob Lane, Cherry Tree Lane, Candleberry Lane, Chinaberry Lane and Cottonwood Lane.
Next, the Court voted to amend Jasper County’s policy for scheduling and holidays regarding road and bridge personnel who work a compressed 10-hour shift for 4 days out of the work week.
Concluding road and bridge matters, the Court voted to accept the donation of tree cutting services in Precinct 1 from MTS E-Tech Services, LLC, which is owned by Commissioner Martindale. Commissioner Martindale advised that he had several trees that presented a danger along roads in his Precinct and felt that it would save funds to utilize his own equipment and personnel to clear them at no cost to Jasper County.
In grant business, the Court voted to award a contract to Duplichain Contractors, LLC out of Alto, Texas in the amount of $277,500.00 on the Texas Department of Agriculture Community Development Block Grant received by Jasper County. Historically, the Commissioners Court applies for grant funding on behalf of local Water Supply Districts and Corporations in Jasper County to assist them in improving or expanding their water supply infrastructure to ensure that citizens have access to uninterrupted clean water. This year, Jasper County received $350,000.00 and is assisting the Holly Huff Water Supply with their water improvement project and recently completed another grant funded project assisting the Harrisburg Water Supply.
The Court then voted to approve the recommendations from the scoring committee on the Hurricane Harvey – Round 1 Community Development Block Grant Floodplain Buyout grant projects for home demolition services. The Court noted that Jasper County had received approximately $6.8 million in funding designated for floodplain buyouts of homes that were severely affected by flooding during Hurricane Harvey and that previously the decision had been made to assist the City of Jasper with buying home properties within the city limits to assist that entity with helping their local citizens. After the completion of the buyout demolition process, the City of Jasper has agreed to acquire the properties back from Jasper County for use as green space or other similar projects.
The Court voted to approve the demolition services companies of R&L, Grant McKay and J.W.T.C. as qualified to provide professional home demolition services. Next, GrantWorks, which is the grant administrator contracted by Jasper County, will work with the three companies to establish a final bid process for consideration by the Court to award to the lowest bidder in a future meeting.
The Court then took up airport matters and voted to reject recent bids received on bulk aviation fuel at Jasper County’s Bell Field Airport and authorized the County Auditor to republish for bids for the Court to consider in a future meeting.
Next, the Court voted to retain legal services to establish a written policy and contractual agreement for private and commercial personnel, vehicles and equipment that choose to enter Jasper County’s Bell Field Airport through the aircraft gate, which Jasper County owns, from the Industrial Park side of the perimeter fence. The Court noted that the Federal Aviation Administration requires approved contracts in place between Jasper County, which is the owner of the airport, and each individual vendor or entity desiring to utilize the gate. The Court also noted that consideration should be made to deter unmarked vehicular traffic coming from the Industrial Park side from crossing the flightline, which presents a danger to both aircraft taking off or on approach and to the occupants of the motor vehicles accessing the runway.
Concluding airport matters, the Court voted to amend Jasper County’s policy regarding agricultural spraying aircraft housed at the Bell Field Airport to waive parking fees if aircraft owners purchase a minimum of ten gallons of aviation fuel per aircraft from Jasper County per day. Currently, the fee for parking on the agricultural pad site for aircraft is $50.00 per day.
In other business, the Court heard from Criminal District Attorney Anne Pickle and Criminal Investigator Jesse Shaver, who presented the first report from her newly formed Jasper-Newton Counties Sexual Assault Response Team. Ms. Pickle advised that the legislation resulting from the 2021 Texas Legislative Session required the formation of local S.A.R.T. groups and that Jasper and Newton Counties had chosen to work together. The team, comprised of local District Attorney’s, Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments, as well as professional medical sexual assault nursing personnel and counselors, will meet periodically and work to improve the response, investigation, and prosecution of sexual assault cases.
Next, the Court heard from Mr. James Guest of the law firm of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP who provided an update on delinquent taxes, penalties and interest collected in Jasper County on behalf of their contracted entities.
Concluding business, the Court voted to approve the canvass of votes for the 2023 Proposition election, then voted to approve the 2024 holiday schedule for employees.
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.