Jasper County moves to new Southeast Texas Transit District, Spindletop Center outside of Beaumont

The Jasper County Commissioners Court met in its last regular session of the year on Monday, December 19.the2022 and covered the following items on the agenda:

First, the Court recognized Precinct 2 Commissioner Roy Parker and Precinct 4 Commissioner Vance Moss and thanked them for their many years of service to Jasper County, wishing them well in their retirement. The Court noted that Commissioners Parker and Moss have served faithfully through various hurricanes, major floods, and tornadoes, as well as the pandemic, and have always strived to protect the citizens and employees of Jasper County.

The Court also congratulated the incoming Commissioners of Precincts 2 and 4, Kevin Holloway and Dennis Marks, and thanked them for their willingness to serve Jasper County in the future.

The Court then heard from Shanna Burke, Executive Director of the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission, who wanted to wish Jasper County a Merry Christmas on behalf of the SETRPC board and staff. Ms. Burke reported that Jasper County has been a welcome addition to what is now the four-county region comprised of Jasper, Jefferson, Hardin, and Orange counties since Governor Abbott approved the change in April 2021.

Burke also explained that the proposed departure of Jasper County from the Brazos Transit District and move to the Southeast Texas Transit District and the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization would open the doors to many more transportation opportunities for citizens of the Jasper County who routinely need to travel to the other counties within the region.

The Court then voted to approve a resolution initiating the separation of Jasper County from the Brazos Transit District and relocation to the Southeast Texas Transit District to provide better transportation access between Jasper County and Jefferson Counties. , Hardin and Orange and authorized County Judge Mark Allen to facilitate the process.

In other year-end transitions, the Court also voted to begin the process of terminating Jasper County’s affiliation with the Burke organization, which is the current mental health authority for Jasper County as well as all eleven counties. remaining within the DETCOG region, and to authorize County Judge Mark Allen to officially begin the transfer process to the Spindletop Center outside of Beaumont, Texas for mental health services. The Court noted that the process could take several months, but felt that it would benefit local citizens and law enforcement agencies by making this move. Spindletop currently serves as the mental health authority for Chambers, Jefferson, Hardin, and Orange counties, making Jasper County the fifth county to receive its services.

In other regional matters, the Court heard from Chris Thomas, Director of the East Texas Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which is based at the Jasper County Courthouse. Mr. Thomas requested that the Court consider approving the merger of the Tyler County Probation Department into the existing ETCSCD agency. Thomas noted that a few years ago, Shelby County was allowed to join the agency, which at the time consisted of Jasper, Newton, Sabine and San Augustine counties, and that the operation was still manageable at no cost to participating counties. In addition, he reported that the addition of Tyler County would also be cost neutral.

The Court then approved the merger and welcomed Tyler County into the organization.

In grant-related matters, the Court voted to approve contracts between Jasper County and David J. Waxman, Inc. of Jasper and Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong of Lufkin for grant administration and engineering services in the upcoming hurricane Harvey of the Texas General Land Office. regional round of financing for mitigation. The Court agreed to use Jasper County’s $13.254 million for major infrastructure projects, including upgrading and expanding the Evadale Water Control and Improvement District #1, assisting the City of Kirbyville with a new water tower, improving surfacing on various county highways, including 317, 322, 323 and 328, and two disaster relief and response resource centers in the northwestern areas of Jasper County.

At the conclusion of the grant matters, the Court voted to continue to use Patriot Strategies for grant funding services for an additional three-month period. During the discussion, the Court noted that various county departments, as well as smaller special districts, within Jasper County have provided information for preliminary applications for federal grant funding and considered that an additional three months would allow time to find out if any projects were completed. would consider eligible for funding. The Court advised that if the applications submitted were not approved for funding within the three month period, then Jasper County would stop using these services.

The court then heard from Deputy Sheriff Scott Duncan, who provided the jail’s monthly report, stating that Jasper County had billed a total of $48,080.00 in the month of November 2022 to house inmates. of Nacogdoches, Newton, Sabine and Tyler counties.

The Court then heard from County Auditor Mellissa Smith, who reported that her office had received bids in the amount of $60,804.49 for excess equipment auctioned on the GovDeals.com website, which the Court approved.

In airport-related matters, the Court heard a report from the committee assigned to investigate and set rates and lease fees for Jasper County’s Bell Field and Kirbyville airports. After a brief discussion, the Court voted to approve a 2-cent per square foot increase, bringing the new rate to 14 cents per square foot annually, subject to the terms of each individual lease. The Court also voted to establish a parking fee of $50.00 per day for aircraft using the Jasper County farm pads at both airports.

The Court then discussed the airport manager’s replacement for Mr. Gary Dougharty, who will retire at the end of 2022. The Court noted that funding for the position was split this year between the Jasper and Kirbyville airport locations, with Precinct 3 employee Derek Thomson serving as airport manager in Kirbyville effective January 2023. The Court then voted for the Jasper County Airport Advisory Committee to investigate appropriate compensation and formulate an application process for a new airport manager for Bell Field Airport in Jasper. In the same action, the Court also appointed Precinct 2 commissioner-elect Kevin Holloway as a member of the committee to serve with existing members.

In other matters, the Court heard from District Clerk Rosa Norsworthy, who filed her monthly civil and criminal fee reports, and County Treasurer Rene’ Ellis, who filed her monthly financial reports, which the Court approved.

Concluding several year-end cleanup items, the Court voted to renew the board appointments and officer positions for volunteers on the Jasper County Historical Commission board of directors, thanking them for their continued service to preservation of Jasper County history for future generations.

The Court also voted to reappoint the members of the board of directors to another term in the Jasper County Emergency Services Districts, which in recent years have taken a very proactive role in providing emergency response services. broader to the citizens of Jasper County.

The Court then voted to pass resolutions recognizing all school board members serving the education of Jasper County youth, and then set the 2023 deadline of regularly scheduled Commissioners Court dates for next year.

In closing, the Court voted to approve the designation of an oak tree planted by Courthouse Maintenance Officer James Forse in 2010 in Courthouse Square after the previous oak tree had been severely damaged by Hurricanes Rita and Ike. James Forse dug up the seedling oak from a wood in Jasper County and planted it in Square, where he nursed it for years as it grew. The Court designated this “James Forse Oak” to commemorate and thank the many men and women who have worked to preserve, maintain, and protect the Jasper County Courthouse and grounds over the years since it was built in 1889.

That covers you for this schedule and for the year 2022. As always, feel free to give me a call if you need anything my way. We wish all of Jasper County a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year in 2023. May God bless each and every one of you and may God continue to bless Jasper County, Texas as well.

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