Commissioners Get to Work on Cooks Lane in Franklin
ROBCO - Commissioner Donald Threadgill was still absent from Commissioners Court due to illness, and while he was missed, the rest of the Commissioners continued to get to work on important county business in his absence. Judge Charles Ellison gave those an update on Threadgill and Commissioner Ty Rampy mentioned the Threadgills in his opening convocation prayer.
The Commissioners have been hard at work to complete the annual county budget in several workshops in the past weeks. The budget will be prepared and ready for public hearing on September 7th at 6:00 pm. After approving the minutes of the past meetings and budget workshops, Stephanie Sanders was happy to update the court on the School Records Project that her office has taken on. The entirety of the county’s school records, going back decades, have been scanned and uploaded. The last step in the project is for Kofile Technologies, the company the county contracted to do the project, to index all of the files so that they will be viewable and searchable. The Commissioners unanimously approved the funds to complete the massive project.
Rebekah Callaway, Election Administrator for Robertson County, is gearing up for upcoming November elections. She addressed the court regarding election dates, times and polling locations and asked if they wanted to make any changes from previous years. They were happy to keep things as they are as last year was a difficult year for voting, and the county had no problems or complications during the election cycle. Eary voting will be held in Franklin at the election office and in Hearne at The Depot for two weeks in October. Voters can submit their ballots at these location from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm from October 18-23 and October 25-29. The regular five locations in Robertson county will be open 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on November 2nd at the five usual polling locations in Hearne, Franklin, Bremond, Calvert, Wheelock, Benchley and Seale. All registered voters in Robertson County can vote at either early voting location and if any voter is unsure of where their voting location is for election day, Calloway encourages them to contact her at the Election Office. You can call her at (979) 828-5726, or email [email protected] and she will be happy to answer your voting questions.
Erik Maiorano began addressing the court with a COVID update. There has been an uptick in cases as well as fatalities in Robertson County. There are currently 2,021 current confirmed cases in the county and the deaths from COVID has risen to a total of 51 lives lost. The Emergency Management team announced that the second dose clinic at the Calvert Fire Department will take place on August 28 and they will also be offering some first doses available at the clinic as well. The Texas Department of State Health Services will have medical experts on hand to answer any questions or concerns people might have about the vaccine and the clinic will have first doses of both the Moderna Vaccine and the Pfizer Vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine was recently granted full authorization by the FDA. When the FDA approves a drug, it means the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence, that the drug is effective for its intended use, and that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks when used according to the product’s approved labeling. James Taylor asked Maiorano about when the county could expect booster doses for those who have been vaccinated and might want to get a booster shot. Maiorano said he had no new information yet, but is in regular communication with TDSHS about the booster shots that the President announced recently would be available. Taylor also asked about the sanitation routine for the County offices, and Stephanie Sanders explained that the reopen plan submitted by Judge Russ included regular sanitizing. A staff member is scheduled to work after the close of day to sanitize the entire courthouse and the tax office.
Maiorano also had good news regarding the replacement lights and sound on the emergency vehicle. It is currently being updated and the actual cost is going to be substantially less than the original price quoted.
Charles Palcer outlined some of the maintenance issues he’s dealt with in the past couple of weeks, including a rapid repair to a plumbing pipe above Judge Russ’s office. Two of the four replacement compressors have been installed in the Courthouse and the other two are set to arrive and be installed in a few weeks time. The maintenance truck had a few issues, but they were fixed with minimal monetary outlay.
Chuck Hairston addressed the court regarding Cooks Lane repairs. Social Media had been full of complaints about the condition of the road and as soon as he was made aware of the problem, Hairston got to work immediately. After consulting legal and his budget, Hairston got the issue on the agenda and all the assembled commissioners gladly approved the funds to have the road repaired.
Constable Danny Williamson addressed the court regarding a possible addition to court fees for civil filers. The fee would add $20.00 to civil filings as a “bailiff fee”. Williamson said that many of the surrounding counties of their size have levied this fee to offset the time Constables must spend in court. James Taylor objected to adding a new fee as the constables are required to be in court and it seemed unfair to him to add the fee for something that was mandatory. Other commissioners were for the added fee as it could possibly bring more revenue to the county. The commissioners voted to add the fee with Taylor being the only dissenting vote.
Many items were tabled, so that Donald Threadgill could be present when they were presented to court. Threadgill has the most experience with HOT funds and the court prefers to have his expertise when dealing with HOT funds requests and reimbursements. The only other contentious item on the agenda was a presentation by Julie Prescott of Kologik LLC. The firm provides software that allows real time alerts to be sent and received from any county building to each other and to law enforcement. The commissioners wanted to know what they were actually getting for their money, besides just the software. Prescott said that the software is regularly updated and that the company relies on the end users to give them helpful ideas to improve their software. Prescott suggested that the county employees run scenarios with law enforcement to test the software and its usefulness. Hairston and Taylor felt that the company should offer more hands-on support for the price that the county pays for the service. Prescott reminded the court that the cancellation date had come in May, which caused the commissioners to decide to do more research on the system and table the agenda item for a date in the future. Judge Ellison remarked on the excellent security provided to the courthouse by the two officers that keep an eye on the courthouse. “We have two outstanding officers who keep a sharp eye on us every day,” said Ellison.