The word “coronavirus” was never mentioned by name, but the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court on Tuesday took action to implement a communicable disease policy for county employees at its regular bi-weekly meeting.

County human resources director Theresa Taylor told commissioners that she was asked by Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry and County Judge Todd Little to create a communicable disease policy for the employees of Elis County.

“In addition to the fact we’re in flu season, there are other health issues now that make this policy I think even more relevant,” Taylor said. “It’s my belief that this will help us provide a healthy workplace for the employees of Ellis County.”

Taylor urged that the policy be approved and put into effect immediately.

“We have a responsibility to meet public demand for our essential services,” Perry said. “The recent media concentration and drumbeat on the new virus, which could be overstated, has drawn my attention to the fact that we didn’t have a policy that we could apply to influenza and different things that might occur in the county.

“We have a responsibility as we contact the public to make sure that our employees as much as possible are not vectors to the public or infection agents to each other.”

No known cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, have been reported in Ellis County.

After the motion passed unanimously, Taylor took a moment to encourage county employees to take advantage of the county’s telemedicine options.

“They can access MD Live and visit the doctor virtually, get prescriptions and those kinds of things with a $10 co-pay,” she said. “It keeps them rom being in the office and potentially gaining exposure or giving an exposure to someone else.”

Schedule change

The court approved a schedule change for the month of August where the Commissioners’ Court will meet weekly. Meetings will be scheduled for Aug. 11 and Aug. 25 in addition to the regularly scheduled meeting dates that month, but either or both of the two added meetings can be canceled in advance if not needed.

Judge Little said the Texas Association of Counties has recommended that, with the new House Bill 2, that the court hold a regular meeting every week in the month of August.

“Those regulations are coming out as we speak,” Little said. “That way if we do have a tax rate consideration or a budget consideration, we’ll have one of four meetings in the month of August to post that.”

Other items

• The court recognized Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeremy Osteen for his 30 years of service to the county. Emma Munguia, the winner of the Ellis County Spelling Bee, was also commended.

• Among a lengthy list of approved consent agenda items were an interlocal agreement with the city of Alma to rehabilitate Lyndel Road in the amount of $12,000, and a $15,000 payment to the city of Ennis from asset forfeiture funds for body cameras.

• The commissioners voted to release performance bonds and accept maintenance bonds for drainage and paving improvements at Springside Estates Phase 1, an 88.6-acre tract which is located north of Broadhead Road and west of Gibson Road. The item was tabled at the Feb. 25 meeting.

• A performance bond for the Cross Fence at Oak Vista subdivision was accepted. This property contains about 248.6 acres of land on FM 66 and lies in the Waxahachie and Maypearl extraterritorial jurisdictions.

• The court approved a final plat of Alejandre Subdivision, an almost-2-acre single lot along Cane Road northwest of FM 985.

• Commissioners approved a five-year lease with American National Leasing for a 2020 Ford 4x4 crew cab with emergency equipment from Cap Fleet for the sheriff’s office animal control division at a total cost of $56,730. County purchasing director EJ Harbin said the animal cage will be constructed by the sheriff’s department.

• An electronic locking system to control access to the Ellis County Historic Courthouse was approved for installation by BAT Security, at a cost of $14,984. Jeff Hughes, with BAT Security, said the new system is software-based, is programmable, and uses existing equipment with no modifications to the historic nature of the courthouse.

• The commissioners authorized Republic Services Inc. and Waste Management Inc. to move forward with refinancing of bonds for existing solid waste disposal facilities. These are not county bonds, but require the approval of the county. Commissioners approved the Republic authorization unanimously, but Commissioner Perry voted no on the Waste Management authorization.