Commissioners restrict sale of alcohol
Houston County Courier - November 2007
The Houston County Commissioners Court took action Tuesday to restrict the sale of alcohol near schools, churches and hospitals in rural areas of the county.
In a unanimous vote, the Court adopted an order which bans the sale of alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of schools, churches, day care centers and hospitals.
Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt stressed that the order only applies to areas outside of incorporated cities. He said city councils have the authority to adopt similar restrictions within their city limits if they wish.
The sale of alcohol in Houston County was approved by voters in the Nov. 6 local option election.
The election will be canvassed by commissioners court on Monday, Nov. 19. Once the results are declared official, local stores and restaurants may begin the application process to obtain required licenses and permits from the state.
In other business, the commissioners approved a grant application to the Texas Historical Commission for a grant to restore the Houston County Courthouse.
The county is applying for approximately $3.7 million under the Courthouse Restoration program. A similar application was made six years ago but did not score high enough for funding. If approved, the grant would restore the courthouse to its original appearance, while allowing for modern improvements such as central air and heat, and a new elevator.
Commissioners officially accepted three roads in the Meadowood subdivision as county roads. The plat for Meadowood was filed in the county clerk’s office 28 years ago, but no action was taken on it by the commissioners court at that time. Precinct 4 Commissioner Kennon Kellum stated that the roads, Meadowview, Briargrove and Creekwood, all meet or exceed standards required by the county’s subdivision policy.
An interlocal agreement for detention services with Falls County was approved by commissioners. Houston County has been under scrutiny from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards because of overcrowding at the Houston County Sheriff's Office Jail. It was reported Tuesday that recent efforts to reduce the number of inmates had been successful, and the jail is currently in compliance. However, Judge Hunt and HCSO Chief Deputy Ronnie Jordan both said the Jail Commission expected the county to have an agreement in place in the event it becomes necessary to house some inmates elsewhere.
The court voted to become a member of the Brazos Valley Home Consortium. This move is expected to provide more federal funding in the future for housing assistance for Houston County residents.
Commissioners adopted a revised travel policy, which authorizes the county judge to approve reimbursement for additional meals when a county employee who qualifies for an overnight stay elects to complete the travel within the same day.
Commissioners court accepted a bid from Cutshaw Chevrolet in Grapeland for purchase of three new pickups to be used by the sheriff’s office. HCSO Chief Deputy Jordan reported that the bid received from Cutshaw was lower than the state contract rate for the same vehicles.
The court authorized the sheriff’s office to increase the number of reserve officers to 30. There are currently approximately 25 reserve HCSO officers.
Commissioners heard a presentation from John Ferguson, superintendent of the Mission
Tejas State Park. Ferguson presented plans to expand the park with the addition of a new camping loop.
He hopes to receive funding from the state to add 35 new full service pull-through campsites, eight cabins, a meeting hall and new restroom facilities.
Commissioners voiced their support for the project and offered assistance with road construction. The court will consider a formal resolution of support at its next regular meeting.