Commissioners Hear Public Comment, Seek Bids on Vehicles

February 24, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioner's Court heard public comment on vehicles to be bid on which are possessed by the Precinct 4 Constable's office and approved seeking bids on the automobiles.

A new item recently introduced on the regular agenda is public comments and these were heard during the meeting held on Monday, February 23, 2015. Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, explained it is new and the commissioners will see how it goes. She asked the audience if there was anyone wishing to comment on any of the agenda items.

Tom Trussell, Huxley resident, took the opportunity to be the first person to address the court during the public comment portion of the meeting. Trussell asked Judge Harbison how the vehicles on item 6 of the agenda were being sold, if it was as one inclusive package or if they were being sold individually and he wanted to know where they came from.

Harbison explained the origin of the vehicles, "These are seized vehicles from Tenaha Constable Precinct 4."

Judge Harbison stated it was brought to her attention when the commissioners approved to pay rent for the Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 office, it was not approved to pay for the utilities as well.

Ann Blackwell, Shelby County Treasurer, spoke about the previous approval of the rent payment and why it was being brought up again in the meeting, "What you did, I believe in December, was approve the rent and I don't know that you meant rent and utilities but it wasn't specified and we felt like we needed to bring it back to you."

A suggestion was made by Clint Porterfield, Shelby County Auditor, in regards to the rental agreement for Precinct 5, "I would recommend that some sort of contract be drafted with the individual that we're renting from in Precinct 5, to spell out not only the rent, but the utilities and whatever repairs or maintenance might need to be done by us on that building."

According to Harbison, a contract is being looked at by Gary Rholes, Shelby County Attorney, as there were some items in the contract with which she was not entirely comfortable.

With there having been discussion about other items beyond public comment Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, felt it necessary to outline the practices and procedure of public comment, "I want to talk about the public comment that we have on the agenda item we approved last week. It was my understanding, we discussed that and [Judge Harbison] wasn't here. That is not for public interaction with the commissioners, or the judge through the audience. That's for comments by the audience about something on the agenda."

McSwain addressed Trussell, and explained some of the questions he asked would be addressed at the time the commissioners reach that item on the agenda if procedure is handled properly. He stated he was clarifying the comment portion is strictly for comment and not discussion as discussion could go on without end.

The commissioners approved insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties for the policy year June 2015-June 2016. Porterfield provided some facts concerning the policy, "We have approximately 97 vehicles that the county covers through the Texas Association of Counties. Our annual cost is about $24,000 in total and that cost is distributed between each department that has a budget for a vehicle."

Porterfield also commented the cost of the policy decreased last year.

Advertisement for bids on five vehicles seized by the Precinct 4 Constable's office were approved by the commissioners. A sixth vehicles has been ordered returned to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, meanwhile five remain on City of Tenaha property. Judge Harbison stated the county was contacted by the city a week previous to the meeting requesting the vehicles be moved. Judge Harbison asked for three weeks to have the vehicles removed so the county would not have to move the vehicles more than once.

Bryan Gray, Constable Precinct 4, confirmed for Judge Harbison there is a judgment allowing for the sale of the vehicle, and he explained the Expedition available for sale is actually owned by the constable's office. A sealed bid on each vehicle is the method for bidding. Those interested in viewing the vehicles may contact Constable Gray to view the automobiles.

The vehicles include a 2000 Cadillac, 2004 Suzuki, 1995 Mazda, 2003 Ford, and 1998 Ford Expedition.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

    Approve and pay monthly expenses.
    Renewal of County vehicle insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties for the policy year June 2015 to June 2016.
    Record filing of Vehicle Inventory Tax Fund Audit for February 2015.
    Advertise for bids on five (5) seized vehicles for Precinct 4, Constable Bryan Gray.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:

    Purchasing a radio for Mike Crouch JP 5.