Commissioners Distribute Funds to Children's Advocacy Groups, Discuss Closure of FM 415

March 9, 2015 - The Commissioners made their annual approval of money disbursement from the Child Safety Fee Fund to local child advocacy groups including the Shelby County Children's Advocacy Center (SCCAC), and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Deep East Texas. The total fees for the year are estimated to be $42,000.

Proposed detour by TxDOTMunicipalities will receive $4,153.64 to distribute and the county retains $12,971.85. The county's portion to distribute will be $11,259.30. Allison Harbison, County Judge, explained how the process has worked in the past, "We've given 65% to the [Shelby County Children's] Advocacy Center and then 35% to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and if we do that this time, it would give the Advocacy Center [$7,318.55] and CASA, it would give them $3,940.76."

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, commented that is the percentage which has been done in the past and he preferred to see it stay that way. A motion was carried to keep the same percentage and to distribute the available $11,259.30.

TxDOT representatives Ana Mijares, District Design Engineer, and Olga Flores spoke with the commissioners about the closure of FM 415 for repair of the Bear Bayou Bridge (Project Details). Mijares explained the project would take around four months for completion. She stated that there are some possible difficulties in dealing with Deep East Texas Electric Coop (DETEC) as TxDOT does not currently have a good relationship with DETEC and it would.

"We looked at going to the east with a temporary easement, and the issues we are running into that is that [DETEC] is on both sides of the road so even if we decided to go to the west, [DETEC] would have to relocate and they are on private easement so they would ask for relocation cost, which the county would have to participate," said Mijares. "So the county would have to participate in the relocation cost of [DETEC] plus the easement cost, it would be a percentage of what that cost would be."

A detour is what TxDOT is suggesting at this time, which according to Mijares would be easiest to do and would be the least expensive option. The projected detour would travel County Road 4123 for local traffic and Mijares explained the state can establish a detour route on state roadways only; however, not county roads and that is where the commissioners help is needed.

"What we are proposing now, is to build the proposed bridge on existing site and detour the traffic for about four months, it might be a little longer, depending on how long it takes the contractor. We wouldn't close the road until the beams are fabricated so that the road's not closed and it doesn't look like they aren't doing any work."

The state's portion of the detour would take in FM 138, FM 1645 and State Highway 87 back to FM 415 and would be 21 miles in length. If the county is to adopt their portion of the detour on County Road 4123, it would be a three mile detour from the north side of the bridge to the FM 138 side of the bridge. The current distance from the bridge without a detour is 1 1/4 miles.

A motion was carried to table the item so Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 4, can look at the roadway which is being considered.

Three items on the agenda pertained to the office of Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, and all three of them were tabled until the next meeting. The first was in regards to a contract for lease agreement on the space currently being used by the Justice of the Peace. Judge Harbison and Gary Rholes, County Attorney, reviewed the lease and agreed the lease is not good for the county and would have to be reworked. The commissioners considered the possibility of establishing a building for the Justice of the peace office at the Precinct 5 Commissioner yard. The possibility of using City of Timpson property was also discussed as the city offered to make it available for free.

Utilities in the amount of $1,000 for the current space being used by Crouch were paid for out of his own pocket as an established method of payment was not yet made by the county.

The third item relating to Crouch's office was a digital radio as Crouch stated Constable Stanley Burgay suggest he acquire one as it would be useful to have. After discussion over the radio, it was suggested Crouch contact the Sheriff about the use of a radio.

A contribution of $6,000 to the Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District was approved by the commissioners. Judge Harbison explained to the commissioners the money is already budgeted. Janet Ritter was at the meeting on behalf of the District to address the commissioners.

"We do have six water shed lakes in this county, all of which are primarily in the Timpson area. Part of that $6,000 we do take and try and apply at least $1,000 per dam each year to some of the maintenance. Right now we're in the process of scheduling our mowers," said Ritter.

Ritter stated there is one dam which a request of the commissioners may be made next year to help with some erosion problems with one particular water shed.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

   1 Minutes of the February 9th Regular Meeting and the February 23rd Special Meeting of the Shelby County Commissioners’ Court.
   2 Officers’ Reports. Commissioners heard financial report from Anne Blackwell, County Treasurer.
   3 Pay monthly expenses.
   4 Bid on 2004 Suzuki for $55 from Jimmy Wagstaff.
   5 Bid on 2003 Ford Escape for $400 from Joe Shofner.
   6 Bid on 1998 Ford Expedition for $1,100 from Kevin Foster.
   7 Allow Bryan Gray, Constable Precinct 4, to seek a buyer for remaining vehicles to have them hauled off and then to haul them off if there is no buyer.
   8 Authorize the utilities for Constable and Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4 to be split between their budgets.
   9 Distribution of the Child Safety Fee Fund.
   10 Contribute $6,000 to the Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District.
   11 Adopt the Proclamation recognizing National Service Recognition Day.
   12 Purchase of Right of Way in Precinct 1 from Hancock Forest Management for TxDOT bridge project. Motion approved to purchase the land for $2,500 and to pay the outside legal fees.
   13 Adjournment at 10:36am.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:

   1 Lease Agreement and/or office space for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5.
   2 Payment of utilities for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5.
   3 Purchase of a radio for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5.
   4 Closing of FM 415 at Bear Bayou for approximately four months for new bridge construction