County accepts funds for courthouse renovation
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
While the various taxing entities in the area are looking for creative ways to maintain smaller budgets and not reduce services, Houston County received some good news for the county courthouse this month. The Texas Historical Com-mission notified Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt that it has voted to award Houston County an additional $33,362 in supplemental funding to the county's Round VI planning grant through the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. During the regular meeting of the Houston County Com-missioners Court on Tuesday, Aug. 24, the commissioners unanimously approved Amendment Number 1 to the Courthouse Preservation Pro-gram Funding Agreement to reflect an increase in the funding to be provided by the Texas Historical Commission. This $33,362 increases the amount of the state share of the planning project cost from a 2/3 state match (66.666%) with a 33.333% local match to a 76.0% state match with a 24% local match. Stanley O. Graves, director of the Texas Historic Court-house Preservation Program, explained in a letter to Hunt, “This now higher percentage of state funding is more typical of the match in previous rounds and should allow the county to decrease commensurately its share of the funds required to complete the planning work.” “The Houston County Courthouse restoration project was previously awarded $238,300 in state funds with a county match of $119,150,” Graves explained, “With this supple-mental award of $33,362 the state contribution has been raised to $271,662.” According to the amended agreement approved by the commissioners Tuesday, the Texas Historical Commission (state share) will be 76 per cent, $271,662. The Houston County (local share) will be 24 per cent, $85,788. The total project cost will be $357,450. In other action during Tues-day's meeting of the Houston County Commissioners Court, the commissioners approved an extension of the agreement between Houston County and DETCOG for the Fiscal Year 2010 Social Services Block Grant Summer Program to Sep-tember 2010. Frank Minton, the program's coordinator, reported to the court that 16 of 19 students who prepared for the high school equivalency test (GED) took the test after completing the county's free eight-week work-study program. Of those students eight completed and passed all parts of the test. The others are continuing to work to try passing the sections they still need in September, Minton said. “It's been a very, very rewarding program and I'm proud to have been a part of it,” Minton said. In other business, the commissioners conducted a public hearing on the proposed Houston County Budget for Fiscal Year 2011. After Judge Lonnie Hunt summarized the budget for those present in the courtroom, there was no public comment. The commissioners then voted unanimously to approve the budget for the new fiscal year. The commissioners also ap-proved renewal of the county clerk's contract with Texas Department of State Health Services. This contract allows the county to charge a fee and issue copies of birth certificates locally. County Clerk Bridget Lamb mentioned her office was “very busy” on Monday, Aug. 23 due to the first day of school. Other business conducted by the court included: ➢ Approval to hire Bianca Coad as administrative assistant in the county attorney's office. Coad is a replacement employee and will be paid $807.96 bi-weekly. This is below the midpoint on the Houston County Pay Scale. ➢ Salaries for all officers and employees of Houston County for FY 2011 were set. ➢ Accepted sealed bid for sale of delinquent tax property located in the North Wade Survey Abstract 1060 in Grapeland, west of CR 2260.