Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - March 2, 2008 - March 9, 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

County seeks borrow $1 million for courthouse
Trinity Standard - March 2008

GROVETON – Issuing almost $1 million in certificates of obligation (COs) is on the horizon for Trinity County in order to raise the local share of the $5 million Trinity County Courthouse renovation project.
County commissioners were scheduled to have met with architects and financial advisors during a meeting Wednesday, March 12, at which time they were expected to adopt a resolution announcing their intent to issue the COs. Results of that meeting were not available at press time.
Earlier this year the county was awarded a $5 million grant from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) to renovate and restore the three-story, red brick courthouse that was completed in 1914.
During the commissioner’s meeting on Monday, March 10, County Judge Mark Evans noted that under the grant, the county would be required to provide $942,000 as its “local match.”
He noted that before the county could formally accept the THC grant, they would have to make arrangements to come up with the local funds.
By issuing COs, the county would borrow the money and pay it back over time – typically 20 years -- much the way that bond debt is repaid.
Evans said Monday a representative from Southwest Securities, the group hired in the past to provide financial advice, would meet with commissioners to discuss COs, interest rates and options for paying back the debt.
Also scheduled to attend the Wednesday meeting were representatives of the Galveston-based architectural firm of Michael Gaertner and Associates.
Commissioners were to formally review and/or renew their agreements with both the architects and the financial advisors in preparation for the restoration work.
On Monday, Evans also told commissioners there is now a need to look for office space in Groveton to house the various county departments while the courthouse restoration is underway.
Evans noted that owners of a several building in Groveton have expressed interest in leasing space to the county but that formal negotiations have not yet begun.
The judge asked County Attorney Joe Bell to research state law to find out if the county could utilize the community center located at the Trinity County Park as the district courtroom during the renovation.
“Can we use the community center or do we need to be inside the county seat?” Evans asked Bell.
The community center, which is currently leased to the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce, is located outside of Groveton at the “Y” intersection of Highways 94 and 287.
Bell noted he would have to research state law but he knew of at least two Texas courthouses that are located in unincorporated communities.
When asked if the county could move the district court temporarily to an adjoining county, Bell said no. He noted that under state law, there are a number of court procedures that must take place inside Trinity County, particularly involving civil cases.
Under the grant, the exterior of the courthouse will be restored to its original appearance. The work also includes the installation of an elevator, central heating and air conditioning systems, new plumbing and electrical systems and large, handicapped accessible restrooms.
The project also will restore the second-floor district courtroom to its original appearance.

Court minutes go digital
A plan to convert commissioners court minutes into a searchable, digital system was given the green light during Monday’s meeting.
County Clerk Diane McCrory was given permission to spend $19,875 from her records management budget for a software system and equipment needed to covert past and future court minutes.
“This will make searching commissioner court minutes very quick and very easy,” McCrory explained.
She noted that recently information was needed about the Old Highway 19 right-of-way south of Trinity and whether or not it was still owned by the county.
McCrory said to find the information, someone had to physically go page by page through the old court minute books.
“With this system, we just type in the name of the road and all references to it will be listed,” she explained.
All of the old records would be scanned into a computer system and the information would be stored digitally. All future court minutes would be added to the system enabling anyone needing information to quickly search through court minutes dating back to “the beginning of time,” she said.

Other action
During the meeting, commissioners also:
• Approved the plat for the Reggie Land Co. subdivision being developed by Hays Real Estate of Buffalo. The development includes 22 lots located off Camp Branch Road in Precinct 1
• Approved the transfer of $12,000 from the Precinct 2 road and bridge fund to the Precinct 3 road and bridge account. Under an agreement between the two precincts, the Precinct 3 road crew now maintains the roads in Precinct 2.
• Declared April 5 as Trinity County Clean-up Day as part of the Keep America Beautiful and Keep Trinity County Beautiful campaign.
• Declared April 12 as Marathon Day in recognition of the Trinity County Chamber of Commerce’s first annual Davy Crockett Bear Chase Marathon planned in Groveton.
• Approved a resolution supporting a grant application filed by the Houston and Trinity Counties Children’s Advocacy Center. The group, also known as Kalin’s Center, is seeking a state grant to fund the salary for a forensic interviewer.



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