By Bill Spinks
Road maintenance items made up a large part of the agenda at Tuesday’s bi-weekly meeting of the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court.
The court approved a 13-month lease agreement with BancorpSouth for a 2021 Mack Granite dump truck for Road and Bridge Precinct 2 in the amount of $136,924. The lease will have a buyback option at the end from East Texas Mack.
County purchasing agent E.J. Harbin said the interest rate on the loan will be an extremely-low 2.34 percent.
Commissioners also approved advertising for bids for concrete replacement for road and drainage improvements across all four precincts. Harbin said this will consist of a number of concrete improvements as needed, as well as drainage improvements.
The court also voted to consider authorizing the purchase of proprietary soil stabilizer and services from New Earthlok LLC for all four districts.
Ron Clyde provided commissioners with a status report on the county’s COVID-19 assistance agreement with himself during Tuesday’s meeting.
Clyde told the court that a videoconferencing platform for the county was established at the outset of the pandemic, and the county will continue to use the technology moving forward. Clyde said the platform’s greatest benefit has been with the county’s justice system.
County Judge Todd Little said the use of videoconferencing has dramatically reduced the risk of COVID-19 in the jail, and the system’s expense should be reimbursed 100 percent by the federal government through the CARES Act.
Following Clyde’s report, the court approved an additional $5,000 for Clyde’s services for the county’s Community Supervisions and Corrections Department. The department will assume the financial responsibility.
• The court approved plats or replats for five separate properties, none larger than about 10 ½ acres.
• Commissioners took no action on an interlocal agreement with the city of Parker. Action will be taken at a future meeting. Additionally, an exception order for the purchase of multimedia services from Swagit Productions LLC was tabled.
• The court also agreed to a request for proposal for bids for professional audit services. Harbin said July 6 is the deadline and a finalist will be selected before the following court meeting.
• Today Movers, Inc. was awarded a one-year bid to move county voting equipment to and from polling locations beginning on Sept. 1.
• An existing agreement with Ellis County SPCA to provide animal sheltering services was reassigned to the SPCA of Texas.
• Commissioners heard from several local citizens who urged reform in the county’s tax appraisal assessment process. Speakers urged commissioners to lobby state legislators to change the system.
• Administrative and financial items on the consent agenda were all approved.