County Judge J.D. Clark led his first commissioners meeting Monday.
The 28-year-old started a new tradition by saying the Pledge of Allegiance and having a moment of silence at the top of the agenda.
Members of the Wise County Veterans Group ceremoniously installed the U.S. and Texas flags in the courthouse’s third floor conference room and then led the group in the pledge.
Also on the agenda for the first time was a community forum. Boyd citycouncilman Tim Hammonds addressed commissioners and asked why, as part of their interlocal agreement, the city is charged $50 for every animal picked up by Wise County Animal Control, but people outside the city limits are not charged for the service.
Commissioners are not allowed to discuss or vote on issues brought up in public forum, but those topics can be placed on a future agenda.
The bulk of the meeting – the last to be held in 2014 – was routine business.
Clark outlined a timeline for hiring an elections administrator and told commissioners the deadline to apply for the job is Friday. The elections commission will decide which candidates to interview and would like to hire someone by the first of the year.
“The goal is to hire an elections administrator by January, and Jim can go on back to the house,” he said with a smile, referencing interim EA Jim Parker.
The county is also looking for a systems coordinator, and commissioners approved creating a hiring committee, which includes Judge Clark, Special Projects Manager Glenn Hughes, Sheriff David Walker, Fire Marshal Chuck Beard and Court Coordinator Debbie Barnett.
In other staff-related issues, Clark announced that Becky Dear retired from the county attorney’s office after 25 years, and he had received a letter complimenting veteran service officer Laura Spain.
He also presented a plaque to Hughes, thanking him for his service as interim county judge and interim commissioner, in both Precinct 3 and 4, over the last four years. Clark also recognized Gary Potts, who recently served as interim Precinct 4 commissioner. Potts was not present.
BUYING AND SELLING
Commissioners accepted Warner Radio’s $10 bid to purchase equipment on a radio tower near U.S. 81/287 and County Road 4228. The fire marshal said the equipment is 15 years old and is no longer being used by the county.
“It’s outlived it’s life expectancy,” he told the Messenger. “It was going to cost us more money to take the equipment off the tower than to just auction it off.”
The equipment sold includes runs of cable and three or four antenna on top of the tower. Beard said the cheapest bid to remove the equipment was $5,800, which didn’t include disposal. He said there is some county equipment remaining on the tower that is currently in use.
Commissioners also approved the installation of aluminum bleachers at the show arena on the Wise County Fairgrounds. They accepted a $26,215 quote from the Texas Department of Corrections as presented by Public Works Director Tom Goode.
Goode said his crews will tear down the current bleachers, and the installation of the new bleachers will be done by state jail inmates. He hopes the job will be complete before the Wise County Youth Fair in March.
Commissioners tabled a vehicle request from County Court-at-Law No. 1, as presented by Sheriff Walker.
They had recently approved the purchase of a new vehicle for the district court bailiff, and Walker said the county court was now asking to replace its bailiff’s car. A 2014 Tahoe has been ordered for the district court bailiff, and the county court was requesting the same.
“They’re driving a Dodge Charger now … they’re low-mileage, about 50,000,” he said.
Walker said if commissioners decided to purchase the vehicle, his department would take the bailiff’s current car and use it to replace one of their high-mileage cars.
Judge Clark questioned why the bailiffs need Tahoes, and he said he’d like to look further into the issue before taking any action.
In other business, commissioners:
- tabled bids on 3/4-ton pickups at the request of Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns;
- renewed the red flag burn ban
- tabled increases for Tyler Technologies maintenance
- approved purchase of a pickup from a co-op for the Public Works Department
- approved selling an asphalt distributor truck at the request of Burns
- approved appointing Ken Murray to fill the remaining term of a post on the Wise County Emergency Services District No. 1’s board of directors
- approved Judge Clark’s bond
Look for more from the Dec. 15 commissioners meeting in the weekend Messenger.