Hutto, CSS retain county contracts
Houston County Courier
By Lynda Jones
Hutto Garbage Company and Community Sanitation Service (CSS) will continue to provide household garbage service in rural areas of Houston County the next four years. The commissioners voted during its regular meeting Tuesday, Dec. 28 to renew the county’s contracts with those companies. The contracts are for the next four years, and effective Jan. 1. Hutto services the largest part of the county and CSS services a smaller area in the unincorporated southwest area of Houston County. Randy Platt, owner of Hutto Garbage Company, told commissioners there is no planned rate increase for Hutto customers. The current rate is $20 plus 6.75 percent sales tax per household. Platt also said Hutto will supply and service each county precinct barn with one four-yard rear load container (service will be once per week) at no charge to the county. In past years there was a charge. Precinct 3 Commissioner Pat Perry thanked Hutto for the new dumpster recently delivered to his barn, replacing one that had rusted out. Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen asked if lids could be provided for the dumpsters to keep unwanted critters out of them and to prevent loose trash from blowing out. Other commissioners indi-cated they also would like to have lids on their dumpsters, Platt said he will provide those requested lids. Robbie Graves, owner of CCS, told commissioners her price for service is going from $18 to $20 Jan. 1 due to fill rates. Graves said her statements were going out to residents Tuesday, Dec. 28, and she would include a notice of the increase to the residents with that notice. For residents who have paid ahead for their service, Graves said their increase will go up the next time they have a payment due. Free service to churches in the CCS territory will continue, Graves said. Other business discussed by the commissioners included declaring a 1993 Chevrolet Suburban as salvage and offering it, as is, to the Houston County Search and Rescue Organization, which is a non-profit organization. The action was taken upon a request from the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. There was discussion about insurance coverage for the vehicle. The request from HCSO to make the donation included a statement that the Search and Rescue Organiza-tion would like the county to cover the vehicle’s insurance. The county currently gives a donation to the Search and Rescue Organization in lieu of insurance for its current vehicle. The Search and Rescue Organization pays its insurance company directly, according to Hunt. Hunt said no one from Search and Rescue has contacted him directly about insuring the donated vehicle. The motion and vote to donate the vehicle did not include a provision for insurance. Hunt mentioned there is a statewide organization, CERT, Citizens Emergency Rescue Team, that has grants and resources available through the state. Hunt said he would like the county’s search and rescue belong to that and other such organizations in the state. The county commissioners also approved payment of $457,300.35 for bills and expenses. Those expenses included $242,768.44 for Dec. 22 payroll expenses. The largest other expense was $100,676.19 was paid out of Road and Bridge funds. Salaries for a replacement dispatcher at HCSO and a part-time law enforcement officer for the Office of Emergency Management were approved. David Lamb, Houston County Fire Marshal/Emergency Man-agement Coordinator, explained at the last meeting that the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education (TELETS) no longer allows for volunteer law enforcement officers. In a letter to the commissioners court dated Dec. 22, Lamb stated that in order for the Houston County OEM ton maintain its ability to use the TELETS system, Houston County OEM must have a paid full-time or part-time status for the position. Bill Yearout of Palestine, retired City of Pasadena Fire Marshal, has been Houston County’s volunteer officer for the past three years. The commissioners agreed to pay Yearout $10 per hour on a call-out basis only. Lamb said his office does not call on Yearout often, but the funds in his budget for the part-time salary are adequate for the remainder of the year. As a law enforcement agency, the Houston OEM carries Yearout’s commission. In reference to the $1,000 donation from ExxonMobil approved by the commis-sioners, Lamb said most of those funds are being expended on four folding burn ban signs to be placed at the major entrances to the county. Additional action taken by the commissioners court involved changing the date of the next meeting from Tuesday, Jan. 11 to Monday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. The change was made to enable members of the commissioners court to travel to Austin for the DETCOG Legislative Reception in Austin on Jan. 11.