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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - October 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company

Houston County Accepts Grant Funds
Houston County Courier -  October 2009

The Houston County Commissioners Court authorized the acceptance of grant funds to be used for energy conservation measures and road improvements during its regular session held on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Commissioners approved a resolution stating its intent to accept a $75,000 grant from the State Energy Conservation Office. 
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant is part of the federal stimulus program.  It can be used for a variety of projects, including building energy audits and retrofits to reduce energy consumption.  This could include air and heat systems, lighting, window treatments, roofing or other projects.  The county will have at least 36 months to expend the funds.
Commissioners authorized acceptance of $133,514 to be used for improvements to county roads in and near the Davy Crockett National Forest. 
This represents Title II funds allocated through the Davy Crockett Resource Advisory Committee which was created as a result of the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act.  County roads, which will be improved with this funding include CR 4140, CR 4625, CR 1545 and CR 1655.
The commissioners also authorized submission of an annual grant request to the Task Force on Indigent Defense for partial reimbursement of the cost of court appointed attorneys for indigent defendants.  County Judge Lonnie Hunt stressed that that state only reimburses a small portion of this expense, but added, “every little bit helps.”
According to County Auditor Melissa Mosley, Houston County spent approximately $278,000 for court appointed attorneys during the past year, and was reimbursed $19,250 from the state.
A number of Houston County 4-H members attended the meeting in celebration of National 4-H Week. 
The 4-Hers thanked the commissioners for their support of 4-H, and presented them with cards and gift baskets.
The topic of regulating and controlling dogs in unincorporated areas of the county was brought to commissioners by two residents who live near Ratcliff. 
Roger Carnes and Madeline De Schepper reported problems caused by pit bulls which are owned by their neighbors. 
They requested some clarification as to whether Houston County had ever adopted provisions under Chapter 822 of the Health and Safety Code for regulation of animals.
Commissioners were not aware of any action by the in recent history.  One of the provisions of the law provides for an election to be called to determine whether to require the registration of dogs in the county.  The election must be called if a petition is signed by at least 100 taxpaying voters of the county.
Houston County Assistant County Attorney Jonathan Richey stated that the county attorney’s office would research the law and provide more information to commissioners, the sheriff’s office and to Carnes and Ms. De Schepper about other legal remedies which may be available.
Commissioners accepted nominations for directors of the Houston County Appraisal District, and voted to nominate all five incumbent members of the appraisal board. 
he five include John LaRue of Lovelady, Troy Pennington of Grapeland, Carl Watts of Ratcliff, W. F. “Red” Kitchen of Crockett, and Mike Maiden of Crockett.
Each taxing entity in the county can nominate from one to five persons for the appraisal board.  Following the nomination process, each taxing entity will vote on the election of the members in November and December.  In addition to the county, the cities of Crockett, Grapeland, Kennard and Lovelady, and the school districts of Crockett, Grapeland, Kennard, Latexo, Lovelady, Groveton and Elkhart all have a percentage of votes based on their total tax levy.
In other business commissioners approved salaries for two new employees.  Diana Lynn Standley is changing from part time to full time status in the district attorney’s office, and Mike Molnes is joining the sheriff’s officeas a part time bailiff.
Commissioners approved the final version of the Houston County Mitigation Action Plan, part of the county’s emergency preparedness efforts. 
Houston County Emergency Management Coordinator David Lamb reported that the plan, which was originally approved by the Court about two years ago, had recently been approved by the federal government.
A service agreement with the Houston County Child Welfare Board which receives $2,500 in annual funding from the county was approved by commissioners.  Board chairman Louis Medina thanked commissioners for its support, and stated that the funds were used to assist children who are part of the state’s Child Protective Services program.  Commissioners commended the Child Welfare Board for its service, which is provided on a volunteer basis.
Commissioners approved a Request for Proposals for accounting firms interested in performing the annual outside audit of county finances.
Commissioners also approved official county holidays for 2010 and authorized an expenditure of up to $10,380 from the Justice Court Technology Fund for purchase of computer equipment and software maintenance agreements for the Justice of the Peace offices.

 



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