Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - October 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Houston County Receives Good News
Houston County Courier - October 2008
By Sharron Randall
During the reports from county officials and department heads segment of Houston County Commissioners Court Tuesday, Oct. 14, County Judge Lonnie Hunt said, "While I was out of the country, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, or the Bailout Bill was passed by Congress and signed by the president."
"Good news! It included a four-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act."
The SRSCA is the program that folks will remember provides funding to counties and schools to offset the loss of revenue from the sale of timber in national forests. In Houston County, that's almost $1 million per year, or $986,963.20, in funding.
For 2007, funding for roads and bridges and public schools equaled $419,459.36 each and public lands received $148,459.36. Public lands funding went for improvement projects within Davy Crockett National Forest.
Actual receipts for each school district in Houston County for 2007 show $156,449 went to Lovelady Independent School District, $155,189 to Kennard ISD, $111,835 to Crockett ISD, $109,076 to Grapeland ISD and $43,714 was received by Latexo ISD.
Judge Hunt said the funding formula for the next four years will change under the new legislation by about a 10 percent reduction each year, but he said, "We are extremely happy that the Congress finally took action to live up to this commitment that the federal government made to national forest counties and schools years ago.
He concluded his remarks with "We appreciate all the letter writing, emailing and telephoning that citizens did to local, state and national leaders in getting the SRSCA extended."
Precinct 2 Commissioner Willie Kitchen gave an "atta boy" to Precinct 4 Commissioner Kennon Kellum for his efforts of cleaning up and clearing out debris caused by Hurricane Ike.
Kitchen said his colleague had gone "above and beyond" and Kellum modestly replied, "It's all part of my job," while he gave credit to the cleanup crews.
Gary Adams opened and read Step 2 Proposals for Construction Manager at Risk for the new jail and law enforcement center. Adams explained that the selection was a 3-part process; Part 1 was the qualifying and Part 3 will consist of a 30-minute presentation, then a question and answer session that would be ranked and scored on a tally sheet.
J.E. Kingham of Nacogdoches, Barry and Clay of Rusk and Sidalco of Fort Worth were the three contracting companies making bids.
Approval was given to the guidelines for the Houston County Community and Economic Development Program, which is primarily funded by monies from unclaimed capital credits from electric cooperatives through the state comptroller's office.
HCCEDP's purpose is to stimulate business and commercial activity and community development in the county. Houston County Commissioners Court is responsible for administering and overseeing the program and all expenditures must be approved through the county's normal budgetary process.
Melissa Mosley, county auditor, gave her report standing behind the podium that had been moved earlier for easier access. The board unanimously approved budget amendments, transfers and payment of bills and expenses.
In other business the court confirmed the employment of a district court coordinator, office manager for the extension office, and a dispatcher in the sheriff's office.
The court also approved the purchase of a motor grader for Precinct 3, a resolution to make application for the 2009 Indigent Defense Grant Program, overtime pay for three road hands and adoption of the Houston County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
The court on behalf of the Office of Emergency Management and Fire Marshall accepted a 1986 Chevrolet van with about 19,000 miles. The van was donated by the city of Crockett and was "in excellent condition," according to and Fire Marshal David Lamb.
Before adjournment, Kitchen reminded the board that the DET Legislative Reception was scheduled for Monday night, Jan. 12, 2009, and that likely, the commissioners might want to reschedule the court's regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 13.