By Chris Edwards
GROVETON – The purchase of new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department and a lengthy discussion about several properties reported for environmental concerns were among the issues brought before last Monday morning’s meeting of the Trinity County Commissioners Court.
Sheriff Woody Wallace presented information and bids from three separate dealerships for the two new patrol vehicles. Precinct 1 Constable Tommy Park helped explain some of the figures and the schedule of vehicle acquisition and trades by the Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Wallace explained that the two vehicles, both Ford Explorer SUVs, would come equipped with the implements necessary for patrol work from the dealer. He answered questions about the necessity of acquiring new vehicles, and spoke about the wear and tear that patrol vehicles endure in relatively short periods of time.
The purchase of the vehicles, from Silsbee Ford, for a total of $85,905.18 was approved after a motion was made by Precinct 3 Commissioner Neal Smith, and seconded by Precinct 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham, who said that he would put the motion on the table provided the purchasing process is monitored by the county auditor. Sheriff Wallace said that of the three bids presented to his department, Silsbee Ford’s was the most economical and said that a representative had stated that they would stand by their bid.
When it came time to discuss and act on financing for the vehicles, County Auditor Bonnie Kennedy suggested buying one of the vehicles outright, and financing the other. Kennedy’s recommendation was to finance through Bancorp South, due to the bank’s low interest rate. This item was approved following a motion made by Commissioner Worsham, and seconded by Precinct 4 Commisioner Jimmy Brown.
Environmental Management Complaints
A long-simmering issue that has been a point of contention among both residents and officials is the number of properties within Trinity County harboring various types of nuisance, or environmental hazards. As County Environmental Officer, Carl O. Dyer has been working hard to ameliorate this issue, but the process to clean up a property is a long and costly one, Dyer explained to the court. According to Dyer, the average cost to get rid of a place that has fallen into complete disrepair and harbors nuisance(s) is $4,500.
Part of the problem with several properties within older subdivisions that have been the subject of complaints has to do with legalities, and steering through them in order to work. “Subdivisions have no teeth,” Dyer said. “In order to get teeth, they have to hire a lawyer...they don’t have the money.”
Dyer cited success in cleaning up many properties in the past, including 22 pieces of property in Westwood Shores, and said that with the county’s cooperation, all of the properties that have been the subject of complaints would be seen to. Dyer mentioned the possibility of obtaining a solid waste grant from DETCOG, as well as using possible grant monies for surveillance equipment to curb illegal dumping.
In other agenda items, the commissioners and County Judge Doug Page received monthly reports from the auditor’s office, the reports from the treasurer’s office, and an update on the remodeling of the tax office in Trinity.
• Tabled the action to keep membership active in the Association of Rural Counties. The fee for the county’s membership in this organization is $395 annually. Commissioner Worsham asked what benefits the county sees from membership, and the item was tabled pending further information.
• Approved a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour on Martin Thompson Road and Evans Lane in Precinct 3.
• Set a hearing for the date of April 10 for a hearing to determine a maximum reasonable and prudent speed limit of 25 miles per hour for Helmic Road, Apple Springs-Helmic Road, and Dominy Road.
With no further business items for discussion and/or action on the regular agenda, the court went into a closed session, pursuant to the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Cofe Section 551.074, to discuss personnel matters, particularly a 911 addressing coordinator.