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Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - May 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company

Commissioners eye room assignments
Trinity Standard -

Commissioners eye room assignments GROVETON – Although not taking final action Monday, the Trinity County Commissioners Court reviewed a proposed plan for room assignment for the Trinity County Courthouse. Now undergoing a $5 million renovation, the county expects to move back into the historic building late this year with almost all county departments being assigned to new space. Some offices, such as the Trinity County Tax Assessor-Collector and County Auditor, will remain across the street in offices now being used as the temporary courthouse. On issue discussed by commissioners was the location of the Trinity County Treasurer’s Office, which had been planned for the third floor of the remodeled courthouse. The small third floor space in the courthouse was originally designed to house members of juries who could not return home at night during the horse-and-buggy days. For decades it was used to store old county records. When the county first began discussing remodeling the courthouse, it was proposed that both the auditor and treasurer be located on the third floor because of the amount of interaction between the two. However, was later realized that once an elevator connecting all three of the courthouse floors was installed, there would not be enough room for both offices. Officials then began leaning toward leaving the auditor in the “temporary” courthouse. During Monday’s meeting, County Treasurer Jo Bitner-Bartee said she also would prefer to remain in the “temporary” courthouse. She noted that while much of the interaction between the treasurer and auditor could be handled via computer, there were many instances where documents, especially checks, had to be physically carried from one office to the other. “We could end up have to walk back and forth across the highway all day,” Bitner-Bartee said. County Clerk Diane McCrory added that if the treasurer remained in the temporary courthouse, she could make use of all of the space on the third floor to house records. McCrory’s office has been located outside the courthouse for the past several years but will be required to move back into the courthouse when it is complete. The Texas Historical Commission, which is funding most of the restoration work, is requiring that the county’s records be returned to the historic building. While taking to action on the requests Monday, commissioners agreed to consider the matter. Other business During the meeting, commissioners also: • Approved the request from Sheriff Ralph Montemayor that the county participate in the Texas 1033 Surplus Property Program. As members of the program, the sheriff’s department can obtain surplus equipment from the U.S. Department of Defense, including vehicles and weapons. Montemayor said he plans to obtain M-16 rifles to be carried by patrol officers. “These weapons are not something that will be needed on a daily basis, but on occasion they will be needed,” he told commissioners. • Proclaimed May as Elder Abuse Prevention Month in Trinity County. • Re-appointed County Attorney Joe Bell to represent Trinity County on the Deep East Texas Council of Government’s board. Bell has served in that capacity since 1978. • Approved an agreement with Harris County that will allow local justices of the peace to use the Harris County Medical Examiners Office to perform autopsies. • Received a request from Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Bernie Beard to allow his office to once again distribute restitution payments on money collected for hot checks. At present, the restitution money is turned over to the county treasury and the treasurer issues the restitution check. Hot check restitution is handled in this manner in all but the Pct. 1 JP court, which collects the money, deposits it in a special JP account and then issues the checks directly to merchants due restitution. County Judge Mark Evans noted the procedure was changes for the precinct 2, 3 and 4 JP offices after a clerk in the Pct. 3 office managed to embezzle more than $35,000 in host check restitution payments a few years ago. • Accepted the donation of a laptop and two desktop computers for use in the tax assessor-collections office. The equipment was donated by the law firm, which handles the county delinquent tax collections. • Authorized the Glendale Water Supply Corporation to lay water lines along and across West Road off FM 3188 in Commissioner Precinct 3.


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