|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - March 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
County gets kudos from Comptroller
Polk County Enterprise
LIVINGSTON — Texas Comptroller Susan Combs named Polk County as a Gold Leadership Circle Award recipient for financial transparency for the depth of information available on the county’s website, www. co.polk.tx.us, County Judge John Thompson announced during Tuesday’s Commissioner’s Court meeting. The Comptroller launched the program in December to recognize local government entities that are working to meet a high standard for financial transparency online. The program spotlights local governments that open their books to the public; provide clear, consistent pictures of spending; and share information in a user-friendly format that lets taxpayers easily drill down for more information, Combs announcement said. Gold awards are given to those entities that are setting the bar in their transparency efforts and bronze inspires those who are just beginning their transparency efforts. Of the 254 counties in Texas, Polk and 10 other counties have achieved the gold award. Midland County is at the bronze level. There are five counties who have the basic three categories of information available online to some degree. As of March 7, 104 counties in Texas either had no website or officials had not posted any financial data on the site. In Polk County, Stephanie Dale in the County Auditor’s office tackled the project of posting the data in an easy-to-read format. Taxpayers or other interested parties can click on the “financial transparency” tab from the main page of the county’s website and see check registers, budgets, financial reports as well as the energy usage in county-owned buildings. As of Tuesday afternoon, check registers through the third week of February had been posted. Appliance Rebates Texans who replace an older, functional appliance with an Energy Star or CEE qualified model can receive rebates up to $1,675 (for an air-source heat pump style central air-conditioning system that also qualifies for a $75 recycling rebate). A room air-conditioner can qualify for $45 and a $120 recycling rebate. Replacing older refrigerators can earn Texans a $240 rebate and $180 for freezers. Clothes washers have rebates of $150 or $180 depending on water usage and energy factors. Dishwasher rebates are $110 or $140. Water heater rebates range from $190 to $640. Texans can reserve a rebate beginning April 5 for a purchase between April 16 and 25 by calling a toll free number or visiting www. texaspowerfulsmart.org. Online purchases are not eligible for rebates. Purchases must be made in person. “I’m sure there are plenty of retailers that would love to sell you an appliance,” Thompson said. Judicial Center Jean Hester of Hesters & Sanders Architects reported that asbestos abatement was complete at the Judicial Center complex site. The court designated Thompson as its representative at monthly construction meetings and named Pct. 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent to join Pct. 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet as the county representatives on the jail project. Mower Purchase Commissioners approved the purchase of two mowers and a grass trimmer for the maintenance engineering department for $2,700 less than the budgeted amount of $8,000. Maintenance Supervisor Jay Burkes said during the budget process an employee told him a commercial mower was needed, but since that time he has visited with the staff members who actually do the mowing and they would prefer to do the work with a smaller, more maneuverable mower. Hazardous materials mitigation Commissioners also agreed to seek proposals from contractors that would respond to hazardous material spills on county roads. The contractor would provide mitigation and remediation services to remove the dangerous materials from the county road right-of-way. Polk County has not experienced many accidents involving hazardous materials on county roads. Most vehicle traffic carrying hazardous materials tend to stick to state highways, according to Overstreet, who is also a volunteer firefighter. Property exchange The court approved an exchange of property adjacent to the countyowned rock pit in Precinct 2 after a review by Assistant District Attorney Mike Matthews. An owner of adjacent property is willing to exchange acreage just north of the rock pit for land where crews have already mined all the usable material, according to Vincent. Although the surface area of the land the county will receive is slightly smaller, it has more value because of the rock available. Patrol Fleet Purchase Commissioners approved the purchase of a 2010 Tahoe Police Patrol Vehicle to replace a 2007 Crown Victoria that was hit by another vehicle while a deputy was assisting another agency with a traffic stop, Sheriff Kenneth Hammack said. The sheriff’s department had planned on keeping the vehicle in the fleet for another year. He said Patrol Capt. John Sanders expects the county to receive $14,023 in insurance reimbursement and the other driver’s insurance should pay the $1,000 deductible.