June 13, 2018 - Jheri-Lynn McSwain, Shelby County Extension Agent, was presented to the commissioners as the newest member of the Shelby County Historical Commission (SCHC) during the April 11, 2018 meeting of the Shelby County Commissioners' Court. Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, explained for the commissioners McSwain has been working with the SCHC and they asked for her to be appointed. Harbison asked Vickie Martin, SCHC member, for any additional input.
"I appreciate everything the commissioners are doing to help the Historical Commission, so I feel like she will be a very valuable member for our community," said Martin.
A motion carried and the commissioners approved McSwain's appointment to the SCHC.
Judge Harbison then presented the 12 members of the SCHC for consideration of the commissioners.
They are as follows: David Chadwick, Vanessa Davis, Colleen Doggett, Allison Harbison, Teddy Hopkins, Brandy Lewis, Jerry Lewis, Vickie Martin, Tem Morrison, Tim Perkins, and Sharon Ratcliff. With the addition of Jheri-Lynn McSwain.
According to Harbison and Martin, Jerry Lewis is the President, David Chadwick is Treasurer assisted by Ratcliff, Martin is Secretary.
"These are people that are willing to work and that are willing to come to the meetings and willing to put forth an effort, and in any commission or organization that is so vital just to have people show up and give their input," said Judge Harbison.
A motion was carried by the commissioners to approve the SCHC members.
During the meeting, the commissioners approved a Radio Tower rental agreement for Shelby County Adult Probation Department. Judge Harbison explained she is pleased at the rate of $250 a month for the rental.
A motion was carried to approve the agreement.
The commissioners approved a Radio Tower rental agreement for all four commissioners at a rate once again of $250 a month. Following brief discussion a motion carried to approve the agreement.
A motion carried to approve a bid of $1,500 from Mario and Teresa Osby for .1755 acres in Timpson.
A motion was then carried to adjourn the meeting.
The Shelby County Commissioners heard discussion on May 2, 2018 on a couple project the SCHC is working toward.
Tem Morrison, Shelby County Historical Commission, spoke with the commissioners about needed repairs to the Bandstand and First Ladies in Texas Building located on the Historic Courtyard.
"25-30 years ago when they did the repairs well they repainted over the old wood. Well the wood underneath the paint is deteriorated and the windows are just kind of sitting in there," said Morrison.
He said, in the First Ladies in Texas Building, the majority of the windows are in need of either repair or total replacement, and they hope to use the original window panes in the repaired or replaced windows. He explained the building is in dire need of electrical work with electrical plugs missing plugs leaving only exposed lines, and other electrical lines exposed around the building.
"On the Bandstand building you can drive around and the eaves, almost all the facia boards around the roof, the paint's the only thing holding them up there. You can just tap on them and they're all rotten," said Morrison.
According to Morrison, the wiring on the Bandstand doesn't work and it's been vandalized making it necessary for the remaining wiring to be removed. He suggested not replacing the wiring as extensively as it had previously been. Roofing shingles are in need of repair as well. He does not see repair to the plumbing being possible.
Morrison described the dilapidated condition of the Bandstand as having rusted doors which can easily be kicked in and the lower area of the building being an inviting location for trouble. He explained the building is 20 years behind on maintenance and is in need of paint.
He continued to describe a variety of issues facing the buildings.
Judge Harbison informed the commissioners a bid in the amount of $22,500 had been received for the proposed work to both buildings. She also presented to the commissioners the Historical Commission has agreed to split the cost with the county.
A motion carried and was approved for the county to pay for half of the cost providing it is within $25,000.
Judge Harbison explained for the commissioners she received a letter from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services seeking the commissioners recognition of May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness month.
Tracy Belin, with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for Shelby County, addressed the commissioners, "Our agency is going strong. Intakes are increased in this area, sad to say; however, it's just a legitimate truth."
Belin thanked the commissioners and County Judge as well as District Courts, law enforcement agencies and community leaders for working with the agency to insure elderly and disabled are being taken care of in Shelby County.
Judge Harbison shared some statistics with the court stating in 2017 there were 141 intakes in Shelby County with 99 of those cases having been validated as legitimate issues.
A motion carried by the commissioners to approve declaring May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.
Earlier in the meeting during the public comment portion, the commissioners heard from members of the SCHC and a man named Delbert Jackson on the possibility of installing a historical marker on the county square in memory of lynching victims.
Jackson, a resident of Shelby County, expressed his desire to have a marker on the square and stated he'd first addressed the Center city council about this; however, he was directed to Judge Harbison and the SCHC and he made his request for a marker.
"In the meantime I contacted the Equal Justice Initiative out of Montgomery, Alabama and found that they had already placed a marker for other individuals in Austin," said Jackson. "They said that they were willing to place a marker here in Shelby County as well."
In contacting the SCHC, Jackson said he spoke with Colleen Doggett, Marker Chairman, who is responsible for assisting people seeking markers through the SCHC. Jackson said she stated she would assist him. Jackson also said Doggett had issues with the narrative on the request.
Jackson said the Equal Justice Initiative has suggested he find an alternate location for a marker, should the city and county not be "ready" for a marker.
Doggett explained she researched the Equal Justice Initiative and the "Justice Oak" which she shared had taken the name "Hanging Tree" as well, and said the tree is no longer on the square. She described how the Daughters of the Republic of Texas planted a new tree in its location in 2004, she stated it is the Stephen F. Austin Heritage Oak.
Doggett said she spoke with Bob Brinkman of the Texas Historical Commission in Austin and she said he agrees with the SCHC, the courthouse is and always should be the focus of the square.
"That is the historical monument that we want focused on, others have been placed over the years, but other than the one on the "1885" side that mentions J.J.E. Gibson as the architect and the builder of the courthouse, we do not honor a single person with a historical marker," said Doggett.
Doggett related Brinkman's statement that if the request is seriously considered, it will be sent back to the SCHC for their determination of its approval or disapproval. Doggett stated on behalf of the SCHC, they do not approve the marker. She stated once there are many individuals who would then have to have markers as well.
"Placement of the marker is of significance, but on the courthouse square we don't feel that there's a place for it," said Doggett.
Further discussion continued about the marker; however, it was not an item up for consideration by the commissioners and as a result, no action was taken by the county.
An executive session was held from 10:20am until 11:05am during which time discussion was had about a security officer; however, no decision was made and the item was tabled.
The meeting was then adjourned at 11:06am.
Burt Furlow, a resident of Shelby County, veteran, and former Justice of the Peace, addressed the commissioners on May 9, 2018 regarding the flag which flies at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department near Hurst Street.
Furlow remarked, since he first mentioned his issue with the flag, the tree limbs nearest to the flag have been trimmed. Before that time he says he didn't know the flag was there as wind would blow it into the tree branches.
He stated he understands it would be cost prohibitive to move the pole, however, he would like to see another pole placed close to the Hurst Street entrance of the Sheriff's Department where it could be more visible to everyone.
"There's been a lot of men that didn't come back home on account of that, for that flag. A lot of blood lost," said Furlow. "I'm screwed up on account of it. My knees are messed up, and that's what happened to my hearing."
Furlow asked the commissioners to consider moving the flag to the other location, because the tree will continue to obscure it and the tree branches will grow back to entangle the flag.
"Y'all know you had loved ones in World War I, II, Korea, Viet Nam, and that flag means a lot to a lot of people. Been a lot of people messed up over it
He pleaded with the commissioners to do something about the situation.
The commissioners thanked Furlow and took no action at the time because it was not an action item on the agenda. Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner, said they would take it under advisement.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:42am.
Agenda items approved during the April 11, 2018 meeting: 1. Minutes of the March 7, 2018 Regular meeting, March 14, 2018 Special meeting, March 21, 2018 Special meeting, and March 28, 2018 Special meeting. 2. Pay weekly expenses. 3. Officers report. 4. Bids for Commissioner Pct.3 and Commissioner Pct. 4 on equipment. A motion carried to approve bids for equipment offered by Pct. 3 $16,200 from Highway 96 Equipment for a Case backhoe; $6,150 from Highway 96 Equipment for a belly dump trailer; $4,675 from Highway 96 Equipment for a Ford dump truck. A motion carried to approve bids for equipment offered by Pct. 4 $1,000 from Clark Williams for a Kenworth dump truck; $1,000 for a Ford dump truck from Clark Williams; $1,000 from Clark Williams for a Chevy winch truck; $100 from Clark Williams for a Ford pickup truck; $800 from Clark Williams for a Fiat maintainer. 5. Appoint Jheri-Lynn McSwain to the Shelby County Historical Commission. 6. Appoint the members of the Shelby County Historical Commission for 2018. 7. Election contract between Shelby County and Center Independent School District for election services. 8. Approve Radio Tower rental agreement for Shelby County Adult Probation at $250 a month. 9. Radio Tower rental agreement for all four Commissioners at $250 a month. 10. Bid of $1,500 from Mario and Teresa Osby for .1755 acres. Property ID 11474, located in the A-0200 Foster JOHN SUR BLK 11 TR 17, City of Timpson, Shelby County Texas. 11. Adjourn. Agenda items approved during the May 2, 2018 meeting: 1. Pay weekly expenses and current payroll. 2. Proclamation declaring May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. 3. Appoint Charles Barr and Allison Harbison to represent Shelby County on the DETCOG Board of Directors. 4. Bid of $4,000 by LaRonda King on Property ID 20633, located in the a-0010 Jesse Amason SUR BLK 30 TR 25, 1203 Bolton ST City of Center, Shelby County Texas which has been struck off the tax rolls. 5. Pay for half of the repairs to the Bandstand and First Ladies in Texas Building located on the Historic Courtyard within $25,000. 6. Map contract with Liberty Marketing Company for the Shelby County Judge and Commissioners. 7. Adopt .946 miles of Forest Service Road 107 starting at FM 417 [and] County Road 2515. 8. Create County Road 2516 from 478 feet of Forest Service land from 2517 to boundary line Michael Paul Kay property. 9. Adopt 1146 feet of Forest Service Road 143 as part of County Road 2369. 10. Commissioner Pct.1 to get bids for new or used backhoe and or enter into a lease agreement. 11. Adjourn 11:06am. Agenda items tabled during the May 2, 2018 meeting: 1. Discuss and possibly make a decision on Security Officer for Shelby County Courthouse. Agenda items approved during the May 9, 2018 meeting: 1. Minutes of the April 4, 2018 Special meeting, April 11, 2018 Regular meeting, April 18, 2018 Special meeting, and the April 25, 2018 Special meeting. 2. Pay weekly expenses. 3. Officer’s report. 4. Pct.1 Commissioner to take sealed bids for 2 dump trailers, 2 half ton pickup trucks, 65 model winch truck, and 580 Case Backhoe. Deadline for bids, May 22, at 3pm. 5. Pct. 2 Commissioner to take sealed bids for 94 model inoperable Mack Truck. Deadline for bids, May 22, at 3pm. 6. Adjourn - 9:42am.