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Stories Added - November 2009
Copyright 2009 - Polk County Publishing Company
Judicial Center maximum price set at $8.99 million
Polk County Enterprise - November 2009
LIVINGSTON – J.E. Kingham Construction Co. gave Polk County Commissioners a guaranteed maximum price of $8,992,000 for the Polk County Judicial Center which will be substantially complete by July 25, 2011 during Tuesday’s session of Commissioners Court. “This turns them loose to start getting bids and we should see work being done at the site in January,” County Judge John Thompson said. Commissioners voted to authorize Thompson to execute the contract which already had been reviewed by the Polk County District Attorney’s office. The court also designated Pct. 4 Tommy Overstreet and Thompson as its representatives at monthly construction meetings for the county’s jail expansion project. The meetings are informational only and any decisions that need to be made regarding the project will come before commissioners at posted meetings, according to Thompson.
He and Overstreet were chosen since their day-today duties keep them closest to the construction site in Livingston. Project supervisor Bob Kingham told commissioners the good news at the jail expansion project was that the rain forecast for last weekend never arrived. Dirt contractors need to add two feet of select fill to finish one of the wings and work is continuing for the storm drainage system, according to Kingham. Final drawings are being completed that will allow subcontractors to begin pouring concrete at the site. Chief Deputy Byron Lyons told commissioners that housing inmates in overflow jail facilities cost Polk County $78,976 during October. As of Tuesday’s meeting, PCSO had 61 inmates housed in overflow facilities at an average cost of $34.80 per inmate per day. Commissioners voted to table action on casting votes for election of the board of directors for the Polk Central Appraisal District.
The deadline for voting is not until Dec. 16 and the CAD has not yet announced the slate of nominees. Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a change to the county’s regulations on On-Site Sewage Facilities that allows the county’s designated representative for sewer system permits to train property owners with aerobic systems to inspect and make quarterly reports on the integrity of their system. Since the order was enacted, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality changed its rules and now allows property owners to maintain their own systems instead of requiring a certified technician to perform inspections and routine maintenance. The training classes will cost $225 per person, which is less than most maintenance providers charge. Once the property owner completes the training they will be required to file inspection reports every three months and pay a $15 annual fee. Commissioners unanimously approved consolidating the leasepurchase agreements for nine Mack dump trucks into a single transaction, based on a suggestion by Assistant County Auditor Margie Ainsworth. Traditionally the lease/buyback agreements are handled individually but last year the agreements were all executed at the same time, Ainsworth told the court.
Normally each Buyboard listing cost $400 so consolidating them into a single transaction saves $300 each and saves paperwork and the court’s time. In response to a question from Pct. 1 Commissioner Bob Willis, Ainsworth said the agreement included a “really good interest rate” and agreed to provide a detailed comparison on the lease agreements executed individually or all together. Also during Tuesday’s session, commissioners heard an update on the Experience Works program by Sandy Abshire. Experience Works is a job training program that is currently serving 30 Polk County residents age 55 or older with training and job placement assistance. Abshire said the program is fundrf by the U.S. Department of Labor, which pays for participants to work 18 hours a week at nonprofit or publicly funded organizations. On a motion by Commissioner Willis, the court agreed to table action on a variance for roads in the Commodore Cape subdivision. The court approved a request from Commissioner Overstreet to advertise for bids to repair or replace a bridge on Duff Road at Menard Creek once an engineering report from Klotz & Associates becomes available.
Funding for the bridge repair or replacement will be either out of the Road & Bridge fund or through a reimbursement resolution, depending on the cost. Commissioners also voted to approve the placement of a radio antenna on the City of Corrigan’s water tower to improve communications for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Lyons told the court the move would save county funds by eliminating the need for a lease agreement with SHECO for space on its tower in Corrigan. The antenna was damaged during Hurricane Rita and has continued to get worse, Lyons said. Additional equipment would be located in the Corrigan Police Department. This equipment change is part of an ongoing effort between the sheriff’s office, the Deep East Texas Council of Government’s Division of Emergency Management and the Polk County Emergency Management Office. “This moves us toward having a system that we have more control over in the future,” Thompson said. Commissioners also voted to reallocate funds in the sheriff’s departmental budget from a $34,250 grant previously dedicated to radio equipment, allowing it to be used for other equipment.