Commissioners handle normal items at meeting

The McCulloch County Commissioners skipped the opportunity to observe Columbus Day Monday morning and instead got right down to business with the first monthly meeting in October. As the first item up for consideration, the commissioners opened contract bids for the county’s depository, submitted by both Brady National Bank and Commercial National Bank. Typically when bids are submitted for consideration, the commissioners request additional time to further review the contents of the package. Commissioner Jerry Bratton made the motion in Monday’s meeting to table the item until the next meeting. McCulloch County Judge Randy Young informed members of the two banking institutions present for the meeting that the item will be addressed in two weeks during the next regularly scheduled commissioners court meeting, Oct. 27, unless a special meeting is scheduled prior to that session. The commissioners next voted to appoint County Clerk Tina Smith to fill one of the three advisory member positions on the Brady Youth Sports Foundation’s Board of Directors. Mrs. Smith will be replacing Kenneth Adams, who maintained the county’s seat on the board. The BYSF Board of Directors is represented by seven voting members, in addition to the three advisory members. In other business, the commissioners discussed the future of the janitorial position at the courthouse. According to Young, who spoke recently with the current janitors, Margaret and Daniel Denton, the husband and wife team will relinquish their job duties at the end of this year. Mrs. Denton is currently the longest paid county employee, devoting more than 29 years to upkeep at the courthouse. Her husband recently suffered a heart attack and his recovery will depend heavily on her assistance at home. In lieu of the notice to the court, Young stated that he would like to see the position take off in a new direction, possibly to include lawn care and general courthouse maintenance. Young explained that he would like to find someone to do janitorial services on a full-time basis, including maintenance and minor repairs to lighting, plumbing, etc. “I get more complaints on the courthouse grounds than anything else that the county does,” he explained. “It would be nice if we had someone to rely on to take the ‘bull by the horns’someone that was consistently there.” While the county still has a few months before any action will need to be taken, Young advised the commissioners to remain aware of the circumstances and begin looking at ways to combine the various job tasks into one full-time position. Next, the commissioners approved the replacement of approximately 100 light bulbs for the courthouse’s ornamental outdoor light fixtures. According to Young, at any given time approximately 30 light bulbs are out in the fixtures. The county agreed to replace the current bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs which using only 15 watts puts out as much light as a 60-watt bulb. Having the new bulbs installed would not only conserve energy but would also be less labor intensive to change because of their added life expectancy. Each of the 18 ornamental fixtures is illuminated with five bulbs and the county is expecting to pay a bulk rate of $4-$5 per bulb. “If you can do it for $400 or $500, I would say do it,” Commissioner Joe Johnson said. “The big advantage to us is not having to change those bulbs all the time,” Young said. With the approval of that item, the commissioners then approved a budget amendment for the Extension Service. According to Young, after the budget was approved this year, county officials discovered incorrect formulas on a few items. An incorrect percentage rate was implemented on the Social Security line and the utility line item was inadvertently omitted. With the budget amendment approved during Monday morning’s meeting, all attempts have been made to alleviate the problem. At the request of Justice of the Peace Doris Bryson, the commissioners transferred money within the JP’s operating budget to allow additional salary money for a part time employee. The part time rate of pay for county employees is set at $5.25, and according to Mrs. Bryson, she has had a difficult time filling the 20-hour per week position at such a low rate of pay. “We need reliable, people,” she said, “someone with a little tact and diplomacy. That’s hard to find at that rate.” Mrs. Bryson added that with only herself and her clerk, Sara Soto, when one employee is out due to illness, it’s extremely difficult for the office to function properly. Agreeing with Mrs. Bryson that quality work is hard to come by at $5.25 per hour, the commissioners approved a transfer of funds from the JP’s health insurance fund to a part time employee salary. The transfer of $2,500 per year will increase the pay rate to approximately $7 per hour. Other items approved during the meeting were: ‘ The bond for the Justice of the Peace clerk which was due for renewal. ‘ The authorization of County Treasurer Donna Robinett to pay recurring bills. The commissioners explained that Mrs. Robinett will still be working within the restrictions of the budget and with approval of the commissioners court. Following the meeting, Young informed the group that an architect surveyed the structural damage at the courthouse last week and expressed a considerable amount of concern about the apparent floor and wall separation. “It’s good for us from an application standpoint,” said Young in pointing that the severity of the damage could influence the Texas Historical Commission to commit funding to alleviate the problems the 100-year structure is faced with today. While the damage is certainly a concern for the county, Young remains optimistic that it will weigh heavily on the commission’s decision when counties submit their plans to the commission in April 2004. Currently, architects are working on revising the county’s application to the Texas Historical Commission, and one of the major changes will be locating temporary office space for departments housed in the courthouse.

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