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

The Jasper County Commissioners Court met for its last regular session of the year on Monday, December 19you2022 and covered the following agenda items:

First, the Court recognized retired District 2 Commissioner Roy Parker and District 4 Commissioner Vance Moss and thanked them for their years of service to Jasper County, wishing them a happy retirement. The court noted that Commissioners Parker and Moss have served faithfully during several hurricanes, major floods and tornadoes, as well as the pandemic, and have always endeavored to protect the citizens and employees of Jasper County.

The court also congratulated the new Commissioners for Districts 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 advised that Jasper County is a welcome addition to the current four-county region made up of Jasper, Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties after Governor Abbott approved the change in April 2021.

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

The court then voted to approve the resolution initiating the separation of Jasper County from the Brazos Transit District and move it to the Southeast Texas Transit District to provide improved transportation access between Jasper County and Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties, and District Judge Mark authorized Allen to facilitate the process.

In other year-end transitions, the Court also voted to initiate 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 the eleven remaining counties in the DETCOG region. and to authorize District 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 the move would benefit local citizens and law enforcement agencies. Spindletop currently serves as the mental health authority for Chambers, Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties, making Jasper County the fifth county to receive their services.

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In other regional matters, the Court heard from Chris Thomas, director of the East Texas Department of Community Supervision and Corrections, which is headquartered 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 several years ago, Shelby County was allowed to join the agency, which at the time consisted of Jasper, Newton, Sabina and San Augustine counties, and that the operation has continued to be run at no cost to participating counties. He further advised that adding Tyler County would also be cost neutral.

The court then approved the merger, welcoming Tyler County into the organization.

In grant business, the Court voted to approve the contracts between Jasper County and David J. Waxman, Inc. of Jasper and Goodwin-Lassiter-Strong of Lufkin for grant administration and engineering services for the upcoming Hurricane Harvey in Texas. regional round of mitigation funding. The court agreed to use Jasper County’s $13.254 million for major infrastructure projects, including the improvement and expansion of the Evadale Water Control and Improvement District No. 322, 323 and 328 and two disaster response and relief resource center facilities in the northwest areas of Jasper County.

Concluding the grant matters, the Court voted to continue using the services of Patriot Strategies for grant funding services for an additional three months. During the discussion, the Court noted that several county departments, as well as smaller special districts, in Jasper County had submitted information on preliminary applications for federal grant funding and felt that an additional three months would allow time to learn whether projects would be considered eligible to receive funding. The court advised that if the submitted applications do not receive funding approval within three months, then Jasper County will cease using these services.

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The court then heard from Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Scott Duncan who provided the monthly jail report advising that Jasper County billed a total of $48,080.00 in the month of November 2022 for housing inmates from Nacogdoches, Newton, Sabin and Tyler counties. .

Next, the Court heard from County Auditor Melissa Smith, who advised that her office received bids totaling $60,804.49 for surplus equipment auctioned on the website GovDeals.com, which the Court approved.

In connection with airport matters, the Court heard the report of the commission assigned to survey and establish fees and lease rates for the Bell Field and Kirbyville Airports in Jasper County. After a brief discussion, the Court voted to approve an increase of 2 cents per square foot, bringing the new rate to 14 cents per square foot per year, subject to the terms of each individual lease. The court also voted to set a parking fee of $50.00 per day for aircraft using agricultural pad sites in Jasper County at both airports.

Next, the Court discussed the replacement of Airport Manager 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 Area 3 employee Derek Thomson performing the duties of the Kirbyville airport manager beginning in January, 2023. The Court then voted that the Jasper County Airport Advisory Committee 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 newly elected District 2 Commissioner Kevin Holloway as a member of the commission to serve with the existing members.

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In other business, the Court heard County Clerk Rosa Norsworthy present her monthly civil and criminal fee reports and County Treasurer Renee Ellis present her monthly financial statements, which the Court approved.

Wrapping up some end-of-the-year housekeeping, the Court voted to renew board appointments and volunteer officer positions on the board of directors of the Jasper County Historical Commission, thanking them for their continued service in preserving Jasper County’s history for future generations. generations.

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

Next, the Court voted to approve resolutions recognizing all school board members who provide education to the youth of Jasper County, and then set the 2023 term for the regularly scheduled Commissioners Court dates for the coming year.

Concluding business, the Court voted to approve the designation of an oak tree planted by Courthouse Maintenance Officer James Force in 2010 on the Courthouse Square after the previous oak tree was severely damaged by Hurricanes Rita and Ike. James Force dug the oak tree out of a forest in Jasper County and planted it in the square, where he cared for it over the years as it grew. The court designated this James Forse Oak to 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 for this agenda and for 2022. As always, feel free to call me if you need anything my way. We wish all of Jasper County a Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year in 2023.

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