Commissioners Sell Gambling Machines to Lone Bidder; Radio Communications See Improvement

January 14, 2022 - The Shelby County Commissioners approved the sale of several gaming machines January 5, 2022, which were seized during a raid of a fuel station and house on September 5, 2021.

Shelby County constables, assisted by other agencies, located the machines during the raids and eventually an agreement with the former owners attorney and Gary Rholes, Shelby County Attorney, resulted in an order from LeAnn Rafferty, 123rd Judicial District Judge, authorizing the machines to be relinquished to the county along with several thousand dollars which were recovered.

The county was seeking bids on the machines following approval of the commissioners' court on December 8, 2021.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison opened the sealed bid during the meeting and announced the only bid to be from a Larry McCauley of San Augustine for the amount of $110 per machine for a total of $1,760.

It was discussed and agreed on for the buyer to be required to sign an agreement they would not take the machines to a location where the machines would be used illegally, as indicated by an opinion from the Texas Attorney General's office 

A motion carried by the commissioners to accept the bid.

Tracy Rook with Texas Premier Communications addressed the court and stated their radio communication project has been completed.

"We're completely finished, all sites are installed, all sites are up and running," said Rook. "We've done radio tests with portable coverage inside the vehicle and basically all the way around the whole county."

He said the coverage didn't result in what was expected in Huxley; however, there is mobile coverage but not portable coverage. He said this was due to the water tower being shorter than expected.

"We've got a little bit of portable coverage in Joaquin, but there's not a whole lot, there's more mobile coverage," said Rook.

Rook recommended putting a tower up, because he's not sure how much longer the water tower in Shelbyville is going to be standing.

"It needs to be put in the budget for within the next five years of getting something to replace that," said Rook. "They're not maintaining it ever since I think it's 30 years that it had a hole shot in it, and they haven't done any kind of painting, sand blasting or anything to maintain that and the ladder on it's getting pretty rusty."

Rook did agree with Judge Harbison a tower in the Joaquin area should help improve communications more and he thinks a complete transmitter would be beneficial in Huxley.

"We have seen a very, very significant improvement in our radios," said Sheriff Kevin Windham.

Sheriff Windham remarked on a call they recently had been on west of Timpson close to the Rusk County line and previous to the recent upgrades there was no communication possible in that area.

Roy Cheatwood, Constable Precinct 3, agreed with Sheriff Windham on the radios being much improved. He said he continued to have issues with communications in the Sand Isle Community and near the perimeter of the school and in the Rolling Hills Community.

A motion carried to approve and pay the weekly expenses which included the payment to Texas Premier Communications for the radio repairs.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current payroll.
3. Bid for gaming machines in the amount of $1,760.
4. Adjourn.

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