The Ellis County Commissioners Court extensively discussed the commissioners' attendance at Ellis County SPCA quarterly board meetings and the selection of public members to the salary grievance committee during its Tuesday session.
The court also considered, evaluated and discussed multiple items regarding the departments of county development, purchase and administration.
In regards to attendance at the ECSPCA quarterly board meetings, the court received a communication from the ECSPCA. It’s been a practice in the past that the ECSPCA would appoint a commissioner to sit on the board, which has been commissioner Paul Perry. Though there has been no change in that with the new contract, the ECSPCA has explicitly requested a commissioner attend the meetings.
Perry admitted that he will not be attending the regular meetings in the future. He also stated that if one should frequent the meetings, it should be a non-voting member of the court. He made it a point to address the fact that ECSPCA is a separate entity from the court and is a contracted vendor to the county.
As the discussion carried on, Perry made a motion to remove himself as the ECSPCA representative for the court. The action was approved and the court will now discuss the appointing of a new representative with the county's legal counsel.
Louis Ponder, a former executive board member for the SPCA, also expressed his personal concerns with the commissioner attendance situation and thanked commissioner Perry for his help.
In regards to the second item regarding the salary grievance committee, Ellis County Judge Carol Bush explained the selection for public members to the committee with transparency. She made sure to clear up any confusion with how the list of possible members is derived.
Bush explained the members are drawn at random, which is not a new procedure. Additionally, she went over the local ordinance that defines the member selection. The discussion then turned to whether the committee should stay as being comprised of nine public members or six elected officials and three public members.
The court ultimately approved for the committee to continue with nine public members drawn from the grand jury pool.
Regarding the discussion, Ellis County Clerk Cindy Polley, who oversees the grand jury lists, said under oath that she has never been asked to fraudulently manipulate the file. Bush then randomly selected the nine members for the 2018-19 salary grievance committee along with their alternatives.
Other items that appeared during the meeting are listed as follows:
Approved consent agenda as presented. DEPT OF COUNTY DEVELOPMENT
Approved request for a preliminary plat of Prairie Ridge, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Approved request to release Maintenance Bond associated with Summit Estates Phase 2 in the amount of $332,360.00 and to accept the infrastructure as presented. Approved request to grant a one-time variance from Section VIII-A (Residential Lots) of the adopted Rules & Regulations to allow construction of up to two single-family residence on each property along Alton Lane (a private road). Approved request to grant a variance for a one-time variance from Section VIII (A) (Residential Lots) of the County of Ellis Rules, Regulations and Manufactured Homes and Section 10 (Amendments) of Ellis County Order 182.11 (Septic Order) to allow a second residential structure on less than 2 acres. Accepted under conditions. PURCHASING DEPT
Approved a professional services agreement with Freese & Nichols, Inc. for the Ellis County Long Range Thoroughfare Plan Review and Update. Approved a Xerox lease agreement for County Court at Law 1, going from the previous lease amount of $ 179.11 to the new lease amount of $ 189.25 per month. Approved County Judge to sign the annual renewal service contract for microfiche machine Kodak Alaris, which is located in the District Attorney’s Office. There is no price increase. Approved the lease agreement with Bancorp South Equipment Finance for two Mack trucks for Road & Bridge, Precinct 2. Approved the purchase of a road broom for $37,000 for Road & Bridge, Precinct 1, which is needed to replace roads. Approved to proceed with the Ensign Road overlay project for Road and Bridge Precinct 2 according to the terms of RB-2016-003. ADMINISTRATIVE DEPT
Fire marshal Time Birdwell discussed Keetch-Byram Drought Index but did not ask for a burn ban, though it is a possibility if there is a lack of sufficient rain. Instead of enforcement this year, he wants to try to educate people and put brochures out educating people on many things, such as veterans with PTSD, livestock and horses, pets and safety tips. Rescinded any action taken by the Commissioners Court on June 5 concerning the Annual Road Report for Road & Bridge, Precinct 3. This rescission only involves the Annual Road Report for Road & Bridge Precinct 3 and does not affect Precincts 1, 2, and 4. Accepted the Annual Road Report for Road and Bridge, Precinct 3. Approved the north Central Texas Council of Governments’ Area Agency on Aging (NCTAAA) local administrative match of $11,578.00. Approved the authorization to request Unclaimed Property Capital Credit for Counties from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts pursuant to Local Government Code 74.602. Approved the renewal of the Ellis County Tax Abatement Guidelines and looked over the slight changes. Heard compensatory time reporting presented by Theresa Taylor, the Director of Human Resources. Approved the authorization for funding for structural repairs to Chambers Creek FRS. Numbers 56, 100, 101C, and 109 pursuant to the existent agreement between Ellis County and the Ellis-Prairie Soil and Water Conservation District (EPSWCD). In exchange for project administration, the EPSWCD agrees to transfer the technical administration funds for the project at the completion of construction to Ellis County. Presented by Ted Kantor, the County Engineer. Discussed Mountain Creek Dams 9 & 10, presented by Ted Kantor, the County Engineer. No discussion on the consideration and action has been taken as may be appropriate concerning the need to employ outside legal counsel to advise Ellis County concerning Constable Mike Jones.