Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - April 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Grants dominate discussion at court meeting
Houston County Courier - April 2009
By Daphne Hereford
The details surrounding five different grant related agenda items dominated the discussion between Houston County Commissioners during their regular meeting held on Tuesday, April 14.
Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt said some of the grants being seen by entities are part of the economic stimulus coming from Washington.
Commissioners first considered approving a request by the Houston County Sheriff’s Office to make application for two grants to assist law enforcement.
HCSO Chief Deputy Ronnie Jordan explained the provisions of the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) grant.
He said the federally funded grant would provide base salary and benefits for personnel for three years and that the county would be responsible for the full funding in the fourth year which would amount to about $60,000 and included the cost of the vehicle, fuel and other necessary expenses. Jordan said the county had one COPS officer in the 1990s.
Judge Hunt pointed out that it would be difficult to predict the exact financial status of the county’s budget over the next couple of years given and he felt the county should take advantage of the grant.
Through an amended motion, commissioners approved making application for four personnel as part of the COPS grant.
Jordan then relayed information to commissioners about the JAG grant with the city of Crockett that is available through DETCOG. He said the grant is about $18,000 and split with the city and the funds could be used in seven areas, including law enforcement. He said the grant required the county to be the signator. Commissioners unanimously approved making the application.
Commissioners heard an update from Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator David Lamb regarding the status of the USDA Rural Development funding for a new Emergency Operations Center.
Lamb said the project started in 2007 and that step two was the approval of an agreement with Don B. hill with AIA Architects, Inc.
The agreement calls civil for engineering for a fee not to exceed $10,500 and Judge Hunt said the approval of the measure would be contingent on proceeding forth with the project.
Lamb said the $3.2 million project to be constructed in the Crockett Industrial park would include the emergency management offices, fire marshal offices, communications and training facilities.
Lamb also said a public meeting would be held on Monday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the commissioner’s courtroom to father public input on the proposed project.
Referring to the possibility of securing funding, Lamb said, “With the stimulus money we may be in the right place at the right time.”
The final grant related matter to be considered was the review of the 2009 Hurricane Ike Disaster Recovery Program.
Judge Hunt said because of Hurricane IKE grant funds of $1.3 million would be administered in the unincorporated areas of the county.
He said that ORCA provided a list of grant administrators and engineers for the county to choose from.
Commissioners approved the selection of Raymond K. Vann and Associates, LLC as administrator and Stokes and Associates, Inc. as engineers.
In a final action before retiring to an executive session, Commissioners heard an update on the Houston County Justice Center from architect Wayne Gondeck and construction manager-at-risk James Kingham. The duo indicated that 138 bids had been received on the project and based on the results of the bidding a guaranteed maximum price of $11.6 million was proposed for the project. Commissioners approved the proposal.