Construction firm shares trophy, but no critters

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, March 12, 2014
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“Do you have a raccoon in there?” Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns asked Jared Jones.

Jones, with Steele-Freeman of Fort Worth, walked into Monday’s commissioners meeting carrying a large, cardboard box. There was no woodland creature inside, but instead, a trophy.

Jones, along with Business Development Director Karen Benson and Assistant Project Manager Boyd Weaver, presented county commissioners with a first-place award that the construction company received in the 2013 TEXO Distinguished Building Awards for Weatherford College Wise County.

“We would like to give Wise County an award that we won for the college,” Jones said, as he held up the trophy. “This was for any project built in 2012 in all of North Texas for buildings in the $10 to $30 million range. It went up against buildings in Dallas, museums and the like.

“This is our first time to win first place,” he said.

Burns was perhaps suspicious of the large box because he anticipated a payback. The commissioner said when Jones first began work on the WCWC project, he put a raccoon in Jones’ portable office at the construction site “to welcome him to the country.”

Steele-Freeman received the honor at the TEXO awards banquet in December. Since then, they have also presented a trophy to the college to commemmorate the accomplishment.


Only three people attended a public hearing prior to Monday’s regular commissioners meeting. The group invited citizens to comment on county regulations related to certain outdoor businesses.

At a Feb. 10 meeting, commissioners discussed the county’s salvage yard ordinance after a citizen inquired about local regulations. Commissioners discovered the county ordinance was not in line with state law regarding permit fees and needed to be rewritten.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard suggested dropping the permit fee from $150 to $25.

“It would be easier to enforce if it was in line with state guidelines,” he said. “The state transportation code says we can impose a fee of $25. We impose a fee of $150, which goes with a county with a population of 1 million or more.”

County commissioners were on board with Beard’s suggestion and approved the measure.


Commissioners approved updating the county’s employee handbook requiring Sheriff’s Office employees, Emergency Medical Services employees and road hands to have an eye exam as part of their physical prior to being hired.

Sheriff David Walker had requested the change after new deputies placed on night shift suddenly revealed they couldn’t see in the dark.

“It doesn’t bind us to buy their glasses or anything else like that,” he said. “But it does say that they have to pass an eye test.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Danny White said he found it “amazing that we hire someone who doesn’t realize they have trouble seeing at night.”

“There’s a lot of stuff people don’t tell you while they’re in the process of getting hired,” Walker said. “I think our testing will weed out a lot of that stuff.”


White congratulated Public Works Director Tom Goode on his work to clean and prepare the fairgrounds for the Decatur Swap Meet and Wise County Youth Fair.

“We completed our first antique car swap meet and our first Youth Fair event, and I want to congratulate (Goode) on a fine job,” he said. “Everything I heard about the Youth Fair was ‘good job.'”

White said there were a few complaints from the car club, but he thought those issues had been ironed out.

Goode said he spoke with Zane Lasater, who organized the Youth Fair Rodeo, and Lasater told him everything went well.

“Any proceeds they had left over will be given back to the Youth Fair,” he said.

White said he thought the “county as a whole did a good job.”

“… we only had three months to prepare for this, and everyone pitched in and did a good job,” he said.

The next big event at the fairgrounds is the J.W. Hart PBR Challenge May 31.


Commissioners also heard a report on the Sheriff’s Office phone system, which is no longer working properly.

Walker said the system and its battery backups were “knocked out” when transformers on Market Street in Decatur blew up Jan. 24.

“When we tried to re-program the phones, we found out the software is no longer available,” he said. “It doesn’t affect 911. That’s a totally different system. This is the system for the office that we bought when we built the jail. Sometimes the phones work, and sometimes they don’t.”

Asset Manager Diana Alexander said insurance has agreed to pay $54,000 toward a replacement system.

Walker also requested canceling the county’s contract with Maxor pharmacy services and instead using S&J Pharmacy in Decatur to provide medications to Wise County Jail.

He said his department originally used Maxor because the company could provide medications in bulk, and it gave the jail credit for medicine it didn’t use.

Walker said he had talked with a pharmacist at S&J who said the local pharmacy could also give them credit for unused medicine and would give them a price break on commonly used medications. They will also deliver to the jail, eliminating a one- to two-day wait when medicine was shipped from Maxor.

“This will make it a whole lot easier on our staff,” Walker said.

Commissioners approved the change.

They also:

  • accepted a $10,135 grant from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which was awarded to the Wise County Sheriff’s Office in 2012. The money will partially fund a new voice/data recorder.
  • approved a project agreement between Precinct 1 and the city of Decatur for road work on Eagle Drive, Thompson Street and Deer Park Road. White said the work will start the second week of June.
  • approved a proof of loss form for insurance coverage of roof repairs due to winter ice storms.
  • approved moving capital expenditure plan money, including $60,000 designated for computers and equipment to mount them in the ambulances from fiscal year 2014 to FY 2015 for EMS; moved half of the money designated for a new CAD system for the Sheriff’s Office from FY 2014 to FY 2015; and $80,000 from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2014 for a roller in Precinct 3.
  • extended the county’s red flag burn ban for another 90 days.
  • approved the purchase of a new pickup for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Wise County.
  • approved seeking bids for one or more police sports utility vehicles and pickups for the Sheriff’s Office.
  • approved White’s request to purchase a truck tractor on state contract. The state doesn’t accept trade-ins so his current truck tractor will be sold.
  • approved again seeking bids for EMS uniform pants.
  • approved a re-plat for Jordan Addition, lots 1R1 and 1R2, block 1, in Precinct 3 with variances for measurements on the street and drainage.
  • approved a final plat for Forte Addition, lot 1, in Precinct 3.
  • accepted $264.81 for Cans for Canines.
  • approved a proclamation declaring April 2014 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Wise County.

County commissioners’ next regular meeting is 9 a.m. Monday, March 24, in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur. The public is welcome.

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