Commissioners' Court Seeks JP Pct. 4 Candidates; Passes Resolution Regarding Oil, Gas Industry

March 16, 2022 - The Shelby County Commissioners's Court discussed appointing a Justice of the Peace for Precinct 4 during their March 16, 2022 meeting. The Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 office has been vacant since the passing of Judge Jackie Kirkwood on January 29, 2022.

Judge Harbison spoke regarding the JP position, "I think that we need to setup a time frame for people to turn in an application or resume and give them a deadline." She recommended taking the applications and then selecting the ones they wanted to interview. The interviews could be done in an executive session.

Commissioner Pct. 4 Tom Bellmyer added, "I know we've all got a number of questions about requirements and abilities and I think that would be good. Then we could sit down and actually have some interviews with maybe, I don't know how many candidates have turned in resumes but I think it would be good to at least have the chance to ask questions."

Judge Harbison did say the county has been receiving resumes already from interested candidates. The court approved to set a deadline for noon Tuesday, March 22nd for receiving applications and an executive session will be scheduled for the Wednesday, March 23rd meeting to review the applications.

Mark Dawson with Whitaker Plumbing Inc. addressed the court regarding the plumbing repairs at the jail, "We did the north side of the hallway as approved a month or so ago. It's been without clogging, everything went really well with the job and the camera - it looks really good and complete so now we are proposing to go ahead and catch the other side at this time and to move forward with that repair." He explained the level of difficulty should be about the same as the other side.

Sheriff Kevin Windham expressed, "We are very pleased and we certainly express our gratitude to the Commissioners' Court and to Whitaker Plumbing because they came... I mean they were thinking and they saved us a lot of money. And we appreciate the court for letting us have the other side done and we are asking this time to get the other side done because we are very pleased." The Sheriff was asked about the housing of current inmates while the work was done and he said they were able to minimize the length of the stay for inmates to only seven days.

The estimate for the repairs matched the amount paid for the north side which was $75,000. A motion was made and approved to move forward with plumbing repairs to the second hallway with the estimated cost of $75,000 to be paid from CRF funds. The motion carried.

Bryan Loyd with Harris Govern next addressed the court regarding a future project. "We do the software for the Appraisal District and the tax software for the Tax Office and we do the IT service for the Tax Office and they both have individual servers right now. Both of those are nearing end of life and need to be replaced so we were asked to look at the option of one server for both offices or continuing to have separate servers. There is roughly $9,000 in difference between hardware and installation between the two options and that's just to get it installed so its a one time cost for that. One thing to consider is that the separate servers, each office can operate independently without relying on the internet. If you share a server in one office with the other, if the internet goes down, one office may be out of service until that's restored. And if the power goes down, where the single server is the other office would be out as well, you would loss both offices at the same time. So, there are some pros and cons. Little bit of savings but you loss your redundancy. If they are going to go with one server in one of the offices a new fiber line would need to be put into place between the Appraisal District and the Tax Office so that they could get good performance, the cost is to be determined on that." Discussions continued regarding if there was a single server, which location would be best to house it. Challenges and benefits of having two servers as well as a single server was discussed back and forth.

Debora Riley spoke, "The reason why I wanted this on the agenda is because we know Mr. Pigg is going to have to have a new server, he's going to have to put that into his budget probably this year. So, this gives you a little bit of time for your questions. If you have more questions in the future, you know who you can contact to ask those questions. I'm going to need one [server] back to back with him so this is why we thought maybe we might do one server but we didn't know all of our options. So, this is just to let us know what our options are." Discussion continued and no decision were made. The internet connection between the offices would be a deciding factor and Bobby Pigg agreed to get more information back to the court regarding the internet and options.

Constable Pct. 5 Josh Tipton's racial profiling report was presented to the court for acceptance. In discussion, Commissioner Roscoe McSwain asked where the information presented in the report came from, was the data compiled by dispatch. Constable Pct. 4 Taylor Fanguy responded to say officers are responsible for keeping the data. Commissioner McSwain said the question was just curiosity and the motion carried to approve the report.

A resolution was approved by the Commissioners regarding any commercial oil and gas treatment disposal and recycling facilities and transfer stations. The resolution was presented by a group of citizen's from the Paxton community and Terry Allen spoke on their behalf, "What we are here this morning to try to do is to get a resolution passed getting some common sense rules in place for these oil and gas petroleum facilities. We all agree that there is a definite need for these types of operations but they need to be placed in areas where it doesn't impact any of our ground water, our water wells, our community systems." Allen presented the Commissioners with a map that shows all the water wells, springs located in the near proximity of the proposed facility in the Paxton area. The Paxton group has been fighting the opening of a waste disposal facility planned in their area.

Whereas, in this resolution, adopted on March 16, 2022 during Commissioners Court; County Commissioners resolved that;
Whereas, Shelby County Commissioners Court has the responsibility of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for its citizens; and
Whereas, County Commissioners Court also has the responsibility to protect and promote stable or increased property values; and
Whereas, County Commissioners Court has the responsibility to protect and ensure quality drinking water standards throughout the county
Now therefore, let it be ordained by the Shelby County, Texas Commissioners Court, and do hereby order and decree that the following guidelines be adhered to;
Any Commercial oil and gas Treatment, Disposal, and Recycling Facilities and Transfer Stations may not be located in any area, where any portion of the facility property boundary is;

1. Within 1/4 mile of public water supply water well or within 1,000 feet of a private water well.
2. Within 1/4 mile of a surface water supply or lake.
3. Within 1,000 feet of residential, commercial, or public building (other than a school or hospital).
4. Within 1,500 feet of a school, hospital, or public park.

It is further ordered that these guidelines shall take effect and be in full force from and after the date of its passage.

Judge Harbison advised the county would post the resolution to the county's website to make it available. Bellymer added he felt the facility would negatively affect the areas property value, "It is unfortunate that we have a company to come in to bring, if I remember right, Terry you can correct me, I think the business model from McBride was for about 75% of all the drilling waste coming in would come from out of state. And thats unfortunate because McBride can't build it in Louisiana because they have laws that are so stringent that they, its prohibitive to build that facility in Louisiana because we have no guidelines, no procedures, no policies, no laws to protect the citizens that live in the county." He continued, "I encourage new industry to come to our community, I do, don't get me wrong. But I also want new industry that comes to our community to be a good neighbor."

"It helps let the Railroad Commission know that we're concerned about this," said Judge Harbison.

"But also as counties, San Augustine, Shelby County, different counties start passing these resolutions within their county, somewhere, we're going to finally have a state representative that will look into, that will support these counties, that will come and stay with it to the end. I think its important; if you don't do anything, then everybody will think its ok," finished Commissioner Bellmyer.

Items approved:

1. Pay weekly expenses
3. Current Payroll
4. Seeking applications for Pct. 4 appointment and set deadline of noon March 22nd.
5. Move forward with plumbing repairs at the jail to the second hallway with the estimated cost of $75,000 to be paid from CRF funds.
7. Record Racial Profiling Report for Shelby County Constable Pct. 5.
8. Resolution regarding any commercial oil and gas treatment disposal and recycling facilities and transfer stations.

Items tabled:

9. Discuss and possibly approve Procurement Policies and Procedures.
10. The plat presented by Darin Borders regarding a new subdivision on CR 3736 and approval of the county accepting taking maintenance of 1,400-1,500 feet of new road in the subdivision.