Commissioners table City’s addendum on emergency item

After having an opportunity to review the City of Brady’s addendum to the county’s mutual aid emergency management plan, the commissioners court chose not to approve the amended item in Monday’s regularly scheduled commissioners meeting and instead tabled the item. According to McCulloch County Judge Randy Young, “The Council of Governments told us (the county) not to make changes to the plan because they are trying to get the same agreement approved all across the state. COG doesn’t know whether the state will accept the changes made by the City of Brady. “In my opinion, at least two of the changes are already taken care of (understood), and another addendum suggested by city officials doesn’t coordinate with the county’s emergency plan,” said Young. Addendum two suggests that the coordination of mutual aid responses to disasters and civil emergencies that affect more than one party shall be headquartered at the City of Brady’s Public Service Building, which will be the site of the Emergency Operations Center. “If we don’t have an agreement with the City of Brady, it won’t affect us,” said Young. “We have our agreement with COG. It will affect the city, however. I don’t mind agreeing with the mute points, but I don’t agree with the second addendum they attached. I don’t think it’s proper. As for the other request by the city, Young pointed out that the county’s plan already suggests that the city manager be the direct contact for the City of Brady. “I’m kind of at a loss,” said Young. “I don’t know what to recommend or even ask for.” With no resolution in sight, the commissioners voted to table the item to allow Young time to coordinate with state officials to “see how firm they are on addendas.” In unison, the commissioners all agreed that they would entertain the option of sitting down with City of Brady officials to discuss the item further prior to the next regularly planned commissioners meeting. Librarian Ann Shuffler addressed the commissioners Monday morning and requested the panel consider replacing the air conditioning unit at F.M. Richards Memorial Library. Using money already allocated for library expenses, the commissioners authorized the transfer of $7,000 from the library reserve fund to the library active account. The funds will be utilized for that purpose. In another item and after being combined into one item on the commissioners’ agenda, computer replacements were approved for both the McCulloch County Extension Service and the county judge’s office. Speaking on behalf of the Extension office, agent Jane Holubec requested that the commissioners participate in a cost-share program between the county and the Extension program to purchase two computers, a notebook for $800 and a tower computer for $700. “We have more and more presentations that we can download to help us to better teach and inform the community,” she said. “This material is becoming readily available to us over the Internet. We’d appreciate it if you (the commissioners) would take this request into consideration.” The remaining computer request was presented by judge Randy Young to replace the out-dated unit currently utilized by his secretary. After all requests were considered, the commissioners approved the two computers for the Extension office with the county’s portion set at $1,500 and the single computer for judge Young’s office at $1,500. The funds needed to purchase the computers will be paid for out of the office/machines/equipment line item. In other business, the commissioners voted to authorize the policy review committee to research and provide a draft policy with issues concerning in-county and out-of-county travel. According to Young, Justice of the Peace Doris Bryson submitted a request for in-county travel expenses because when responding to a call for JP assistance, she has to travel from her county address into town, and the current policy only allows mileage to begin from the courthouse. “The unwritten policy has always been that mileage begins from the courthouse,” Young explained. The commissioners also suggested that in their findings the policy review committee also address vehicle use questions that have been asked as of recent, as well as travel expenses for non-elected officials who are now required to complete out-of-town training. Newly elected commissioner Brent Deeds had several items placed on the agenda for discussion including the use of the county’s sign making machine. Deeds requested that he be allowed to use the equipment currently operated under the supervision of offender services coordinator Mike Hall. The commissioner requested the opportunity to use the machine to make changes and repairs to road signs in Precinct 4. He also questioned the documentation of vote counts in recorded minutes. Attempting to elaborate on commissioners court proceedings, county clerk Tina Smith explained how votes were recorded either by abstaining from or casting a vote against or in favor of an item. Mrs. Smith told Deeds that only when a verbal response is given expressing a disapproval of an item is it recorded as an “opposed” vote. She further mentioned that not every “nod” or “raised hand” would constitute an unfavorable response in her recorded minutes. Two issues concerning the county personnel policy and state statues were discussed at Deeds’ request, however, no action was taken. In the final item on the agenda, the commissioners approved a resolution to accept the closeout for the Texas Community Development Program Grant as requested by Kay Howard. Requested at the end of the grant process, the resolution is required to show the county’s compliance with all requirements of the Rochelle water improvement project.

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