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Trinity Standard - Local News

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County radio okayed for deputy constable
Trinity Standard -

GROVETON — In a split vote Monday, Trinity County Commissioners voted to issue a county radio to a new deputy constable after Sheriff Woody Wallace had declined to do so. Pct. 1 Constable Rusty Barrett made the request that his new deputy, Daniel Adams, be issued the equipment. He told commissioners Wallace has refused the request and would no longer take Barrett's phone calls to discuss the matter. Adams, a former patrol officer with the Trinity Police Department, joined the sheriff's department earlier this year shortly after Wallace took office. After he left the sheriff's department, he joined the Precinct 1 constable's office as an unpaid deputy. His appointment as a deputy constable was approved by the commissioners court in June. When questioned by commissioners, County Attorney Joe W. Bell confirmed that the radios in question belong to the county and can be issued by the commissioners over the objection of the sheriff. Bell noted by not issuing the radio or assigning a call sign number, the sheriff was attempting to veto action taken by commissioners when they approved the appointment of Adams in June. Barrett said having Adams use the local radio system was a safety issue. "I have not been able to allow him to work because if something happened right now, he can't radio for help," the constable said. The commissioners voted to issue the radio to Adams with Pct. 3 Commissioner Neal Smith casting the only "no" vote. He explained that while the radios may belong to the county, the sheriff should be allowed to manage the system as he sees fit. Audit review In other business, County Auditor Sheila Johnson presented her quarterly audit review of all county fee-collecting offices and noted she found only one major problem. She said the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Office has been unable to locate its hand written receipt book, which means she could not confirm the office's accounts are correct. Johnson noted almost all county receipts are issued electronically now, but a hand written receipt book is kept by all offices to use if the computer system is off-line for any reason. Other business During the meeting, commissioners also: • Renewed the county's health insurance coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield for another year. County Treasurer Jo Bitner reported that the only increase in cost would be an additional $5 for family dental coverage. She also reported the insurance company had returned $26,900 to the county. "We've had them return money before but never this much," she said, adding the money would be returned to each of the county offices on a pro rated basis. • Accepted a revised plat on a portion of the Trinity Plantation Subdivision. In March commissioners approved a request from the owner of two lots to merge them into one and the revised plat approved Monday reflects that change. • Approved a request from Wallace to donate seven old analog radios to the 356 Volunteer Fire Department. It was noted that as part of a Homeland Security initiative, all law enforcement radio systems were being converted into digital formats. The analog radios in question were used by the sheriff's department until the newer digital units were installed earlier this year. • Selected the county's delinquent tax collecting firm, Purdue, Bandon, Fielder and Mott, to calculate this year's effective tax rate. The firm has agreed to perform the service at no cost to the county. In the past, the Trinity/Groveton Central Tax Office had calculated the effective rate for all local taxing entities, even though it does not collect the county's taxes. Earlier this month, the tax office's board voted to discontinue the service for the county. The effective tax rate is basically the rate each entity would need to adopt in order to collect the same amount in taxes as was generated in the preceding year. It is the starting point when determining if a taxing entity is either raising or lowering taxes. • Voted to schedule a public hearing on a proposal to require inspections of residential construction in Trinity County. The hearing will be held during the Aug. 26 meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. in the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton.


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