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September 4, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, 14 new cases and 14 recoveries were reported today. The number of active cases remains at 187.

September 4th Numbers: (changes since Sept. 3)
Confirmed Cases - 1,480 (12 new)
Probable Cases - 994 (2 new)
Fatalities - 80
Active Cases (Estimated) - 187
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,207 (14 new)

September 3rd Numbers: (changes since Sept. 2)
Confirmed Cases - 1,468 (20 new)
Probable Cases - 992 (5 new)
Fatalities - 80
Active Cases (Estimated) - 187
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,193 (13 new)

September 3, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, 25 new cases and 13 recoveries were reported today. The number of active cases increased to 187.

September 3rd Numbers: (changes since Sept. 2)
Confirmed Cases - 1,468 (20 new)
Probable Cases - 992 (5 new)
Fatalities - 80
Active Cases (Estimated) - 187
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,193 (13 new)

September 2nd Numbers: (changes since Sept. 1)
Confirmed Cases - 1,448 (7 new)
Probable Cases - 987 (5 new)
Fatalities - 80 (3 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 178
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,180 (17 new)

September 3, 2021 - Center Police Officers investigated a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Tenaha and Foster Streets on Thursday, September 2, 2021.

According to Center Police Officer Brian Wright, a Shelby County Sheriff's patrol vehicle 2010 Ford F-150 driven by Shelby County Sheriff's Investigator David Hailey, 48, of Center was northbound on Tenaha Street when he stopped to give right of way to a vehicle turning in front of him.

At that time a white 2012 Ford Focus driven by Lillian Sharp, 18, of San Augustine was also northbound on Tenaha Street and failed to control speed, striking the pickup truck in the rear.

Both vehicles received minimal damage, and were able to safely move out of the roadway to a nearby parking lot. No injuries were reported.

The Ford Focus was towed from the scene and Sharp was issued a citation for no insurance.

September 2, 2021 - Northern Shelby County Constables Josh Tipton, Precinct 5, and Roy Cheatwood, Precinct 3, report the recovery of several ATV and UTV units in the Timpson area.

Constable Cheatwood took a report of a stolen ATV in the Sardis community Sunday, August 29, 2021.

Through investigation with Constable Tipton the constables learned where the stolen ATV and a UTV were possibly located.

As a result of the constables efforts, they were successful in locating and recovering two four-wheelers and a Polaris side-by-side vehicle in the Timpson area on September 1.

Hopkins Wrecker service was called to the scene to recover and haul the vehicles away.

The investigation remains ongoing and more details will be released at a later date.

September 2, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, three new deaths were reported today making September now surpass the total number of deaths reported in the whole month of August. August figures reached three deaths reported and September has, in just two days, reached four deaths reported.

However, the new deaths did occur in August due to the time it takes to verify the death. The date the death is reported and the date of death isn't the same. Once a death has been confirmed to be due to COVID-19 it is added to the dashboard as a new reported fatality. The new death is then added to provisional data and is counted on the actual date of death.

Fatalities per month by date of death. Not date the death was reported on the Dashboard.
March 2020 - 1 *correction
April 2020 - 5 *correction
May 2020 - 4
June 2020 - 4
July 2020 - 4
August 2020 - 4
September 2020 - 4
October 2020 - 8
November 2020 - 3
December 2020 - 4
January 2021 - 7
February 2021 - 14
March 2021 - 4
April 2021 - 2
May 2021 - 1
June 2021 - 3
July 2021 - 1
August 2021 - 7

Today, the state also reported 12 new cases and 17 new estimated recoveries. The number of active cases decreased to 178.

September 2nd Numbers: (changes since Sept. 1)
Confirmed Cases - 1,448 (7 new)
Probable Cases - 987 (5 new)
Fatalities - 80 (3 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 178
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,180 (17 new)

September 1st Numbers: (changes since Aug. 31)
Confirmed Cases - 1,441 (6 new)
Probable Cases - 982 (6 new)
Fatalities - 77 (1 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 184
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,163 (24 new)

Texas COVID-19 - Data Definitions
The data definitions are intended to assist users in understanding the coronavirus data posted by DSHS. At the time of initial publication by DSHS, all coronavirus data are provisional and subject to change.

Provisional Data
Preliminary data that may not be complete. More data may be coming in to complete the data set, and DSHS and others have not completed quality checks of the information. Provisional data becomes final once the data set is complete and quality checks are finished. That process often takes several months.

Deaths for which COVID-19 is listed as a direct cause of death on the death certificate. A medical certifier, usually a doctor, determines the cause(s) of death. DSHS does not include deaths of people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause. Fatalities are reported by where the person lived as listed on the death certificate.

September 2, 2021 - Shelby County Today received reports of a crane in the middle of US 84 near FM 699 on Thursday morning, September 2nd. TxDOT advised a company was undergoing an operation to remove equipment from the roadway. TxDOT reported via Facebook, "A crane is removing a machine from the roadway on US 84 at FM 699 between Tenaha and Joaquin. Traffic is stopped as this work continues. Motorists should choose alternate routes or prepare for lengthy delays. Time of clearance estimated at about three hours."

Once SCT was on scene the crane was gone, however, an over-sized load was making its way through the intersection. As of 1:46pm all traffic lanes on FM 699 and Hwy 84 were open and free flowing.

August 21, 2021 - Gary Rholes, County Attorney, addressed the Shelby County Commissioners on August 18, 2021, during a budget workshop regarding a desire for more transparency as he stated he had been hearing "rumors" about public officials not receiving raises. He has also heard, amongst other employees who may receive raises in the upcoming budget, those who are beneficiary of an added benefit may not be granted a raise in reflection of that added benefit. 

Rholes remarked he would like to see there be public discussion about salaries and pay before the budget is adopted, so it can be addressed directly.

"I think that would only be fair, to give people a chance to discuss this," said Rholes.

Rholes said one rumor he has heard is no elected official would be getting a pay increase, and he said he doesn't understand the logic behind that thinking.

"I think that, in a sense, it interjects politics into the budgeting system," said Rholes.

He asked Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison if she wanted to make every Justice of the Peace and Constable in the county mad.

"There's many office holders who are far from wealthy who need to pay for increases in insurance that they're incurring," said Rholes.

He suggested, if an elected official doesn't want a raise for some reason, they could exercise their right to turn it down. 

Rholes explained the definition of a clerical employee has three main categories that potentially cover a wide range of employees with varying skill sets. He stated he has an employee who has worked for his office for more than 17 years, who preliminarily reviews every criminal case which comes through his office from multiple law enforcement agencies.

"She is very good at that, so is that the same as a clerical that maybe just answers the phone and takes messages, which is an important job. I'm not saying that is not an important job," said Rholes. "But, are those really equivalent?"

He described for the court how that employee has discovered mistakes, errors, lack of probable cause, and problems in criminal cases. Rholes stated it was his understanding, through rumors, employees who receive a supplement would not receive a raise. 

"These supplements were authorized by the legislature, and the legislature had a reason to authorize these supplements," said Rholes. "They probably had multiple reasons, one, keep your people, your good people. You don't have to give anybody a supplement if you don't want to, but if they're doing a good job and you want to keep them and you have some funds available, give them a supplement."

Rholes says his two employees have received supplements from the Hot Check fund; however, that fund will no longer be available before long. That funding doesn't come from county or taxes. According to Rholes, the legislature allowed for the money to be used for supplies, a supplement, or anything necessary for the office.

"Supplement has a meaning to me, a supplement is above and beyond, so if there's a purpose behind that supplement what this would do would be to take that supplement, that purpose away, and now this supplement is part of their pay and actually I heard the other clerical would get a $1 an hour raise," said Rholes.

Rholes reiterated these are rumors he has heard, but that he would like these subjects to be out in the open. He further stated the District Attorney's office has similar circumstances to his office. 

"I don't know if any of you know Shawna Walker, but that lady is smart. I can pretty much assure you she has been in the District Attorney's office an excess of 20 years," said Rholes. 

Rholes stated the county has no longevity pay, and he has one employee with 25 years experience, mainly collecting checks, listening to people's problems and if the County Attorney's office couldn't help someone, directing them to somewhere that might be able to help them. His other employee, Rholes states has an excess of 17 years of criminal law experience and what the commissioners may be proposing for them would be a pay cut.

He elaborated, the Hot Check fund is dwindling as spending habits for most people have changed over the years, and checks are less of a means of payment.

"We used to get 50 hot checks from Walmart a month, well that ended long ago, as you know with the debit cards and all this kind of business," said Rholes. "So when that fund's gone, if everybody else gets a $1 raise, and [my employees] don't get anything, we're going to be down a dollar. I don't think that's fair. I think they should get the supplement and the raise."

In years past there has been a salary grievance committee, and Rholes advised if elected officials don't receive a raise, the county needs to follow the law on establishing such a committee. He stated a salary grievance committee hasn't been established in years, and one should be established this year, should elected officials not be granted a raise.

Rholes explained if a salary grievance committee deems it necessary to adjust a pay amount, the commissioners must abide by their decision. He gave an example of a salary grievance committee many years ago when he and Sheriff Paul Ross were each granted $5,000 from the grievance committee, and almost every other elected official also received a $5,000 raise, suggesting if the commissioners don't come to some amount of a raise it could potentially be taken out of their hands.

Should there be a $1 raise for clerks in the county, Rholes said he also has heard this raise would not carry over to the Sheriff's Department staff or deputies. He said he would like to see more funding for law enforcement.

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, responded to some of what Rholes spoke about and he said he acknowledges some of what he said was correct and other things weren't. He said it has nothing to do with politics. 

"I would rather my people judge me though that I care more about my employees when I have to choose who's going to be able to afford a raise. I care more about my employees than myself, because I'm not getting a raise either," said McSwain. "I would rather see the employees get it."

McSwain said jailers, deputies, and road and bridge employees were all considered in a raise. He stated every secretary has at least two duties including the County Judge's Administrative Assistant, the Commissioners' Secretary, and the Treasurer's Secretary.

"The reason I put in there that the people that are getting subsidies and have been getting subsidies, you said this was put into action 40 years ago I don't know how long they've been getting those subsidies. They've been getting those subsidies, I don't have a problem with that, I'm glad they got it and I know they're important to you," said McSwain. "Our people are important to us too, and they've been stuck at 12 damn dollars, or 11 dollars and 13 since they've been here five years, know what I mean, and we appreciate our people but we can't give them a subsidy because the law does not allow that."

Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4, addressed Rholes about his opinion on the matter.

"I admire you for what you say, for speaking for your people, I do. I'm as passionate about the group that works for me, as you are about yours," said Bellmyer. "I know that there's a whole group of people that work down below this floor right here that are working for $11.11 an hour, and I know that there's some folks that work across the parking lot that are making substantially more than $11.11 an hour, and I feel it's important to take care there's a group of people that really could go to Walmart and make more money than they're making, but yet they hold some loyalty to this court and to this building right here."

Bellmyer said he feels obligated to those employees that meet the public everyday and are the face of the county. 

"There's people that come from Walmart, and I admire them for working at Walmart or working for Brookshire Brothers, that walk in here that buy a license tag that the lady that's doing their bidding is making less money than they make and they're working in the private sector," said Bellmyer, "So, I appreciate what you say, but I can't support it because I want to take care of a group of people that really support this facility right here in this county." 

Bellmyer said he would like to give everybody a raise; however, he doesn't want one for himself.

McSwain said he respects Rholes standing up for his employees, as a lot of people won't do that.

"I want to point this out, you were talking about the girl at the DA's office, she makes $22.48 an hour. That's more than any deputy makes that could be shot at any day, that's more than guys running a maintainer for $19.60 an hour that could be somewhere on a road job making $30 an hour. You can't make that fair to me," said McSwain. "Now if we ain't got the money to pay everybody a good decent rate, everybody should be at a rate that we can afford to pay."

McSwain said the county needs to fix its budgeting problem and he's in favor of a 2 cent tax hike.

The current proposed budget initially doesn't contain any raises; however, McSwain stated in the proposal he has previously put forward was a .50 an hour raise for road and bridge employees, jailers and deputies.

Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, remarked there has been a lot of discussion of pay increases, and there was one thing which hasn't been discussed. He said the District Judge section has only one person listed, and he said he would like that addressed and why it's not two people receiving a $1 an hour raise. 

"That is for 273rd, she makes $11-something an hour, that other lady's part-time here, and she doesn't qualify because to my recollection she makes about $74,000 a year," said McSwain.

"As we work towards being transparent, I wanted that to be stated so that if we go to an adoption process and we go into a discussion of clerical, I want that to be noted that we're talking about some exceptions here with supplements and different jobs, and I just wanted to make sure that was clarified," said Porterfield.

Earlier in the workshop Taylor Fanguy, Constable Precinct 4, presented some items he stated he needs for his office. Those items included a new camera system for his vehicle, Copsync computer software, reporting system and wifi at a total cost of around $11,250. There was discussion about the possibility of acquiring all of the same equipment for the other constables in the county at a reduced rate for all.

The commissioners held another budget workshop on August 25, 2021, and continued discussion over the budget.

McSwain stated he doesn't feel there's any need to continue to hash out the same things already discussed.

"There's nothing we can change to adopt the budget to begin with, we've got the proposed budget that the judge filed, and we can't change nothing until we adopt it, adoption day," said McSwain. "So, I don't see why we keep hashing out the same things."

The commissioners further discussed the tax rate since that is what funds the budget they adopt. Debora Riley, County Tax Assessor - Collector, agreed she needs a proposed rate to be able to inform the public of that rate before it's adopted by the county. Riley presented the commissioners with the no new revenue rate of .708035 and the voter approval rate of .737286. Once the commissioners approve the proposed rate it can be published for knowledge of the public.

The proposed budget currently reflects the tax rate from the previous budget.

"We're going to have to have a hearing on the proposed rate five days before we adopt it," said Judge Harbison.

Once a proposed tax rate has been published, Riley explained there are two websites she posts it on.

"I put it on my website that we have with the county and then we turn around, Bobby Pigg (Tax Appraiser) has a website that he has to maintain," said Riley. "Everybody will be able to go and see [online] how that rate effects their taxes."

Riley informed the commissioners, whatever rate they do propose, once it's been published they can't go above that rate.

"Since we actually adopt the budget and the tax rate separately, it's almost like they're two separate entities even though we know they feed off each other, and it's a circular reference here because you can't have one without the other," said Porterfield. "So while we have filed a proposed budget, we technically haven't filed a proposed tax rate."

Porterfield remarked, in a previous budget workshop a two cent increase had already been discussed and he doesn't see why a proposed tax rate couldn't be published as well, but the budget and tax rate still remain separate entities.

Judge Harbison asked the commissioners if they were through considering the proposed budget after hearing comments at the previous budget workshop. She asked if they were still of the same thinking on raises for employees and no raises for elected officials.

"I'm very firm on it, and that's my opinion, I'm one person. I mean in my mind, I'm looking ahead for the next years down the road, and I've got goals that far as my influence well I'm going to try to help the direction to take the county and elected officials. It's nothing personal against nobody," said McSwain.

Judge Harbison asked if any of the commissioners had additional information they wanted to include for consideration and Bellmyer offered some observations from the previous week on payroll.

"[Justice of the Peace 1] not withstanding, so I'm talking about the JPs from 2 to 5, that there is in my opinion and maybe I'm wrong, I thought they all fairly well functioned and did the same job all the time," said Bellmyer. "I looked back through, looks like the District Clerk, County Clerk, Tax Assessor-Collector all make the same thing. Looks like all five constables all make the same amount of money, all four commissioners all make exactly the same."

Bellmyer said it's a not a lot of money on each pay period, but by the end of the years it's around a $3,200 difference.

"Two of the JPs make exactly the same amount and then one is a little below and one is a little above, so there is a little bit of a spread over the course of a year between those four Justice of the Peace," said Bellmyer.

Bellmyer said he thinks they all perform the same job and duties, and being as they are elected officials, a notice would have to be published were they to consider adjusting the salary to even out the difference.

"I'm sure sometime in the historical past there had to be a reason why those four, maybe was a little bit of disparity but I don't know that history," said Bellmyer.

Judge Harbison remarked that is old history, but they weren't going to bring up old history, "that was then, this is now, I wasn't on the court."

Although the court chose not to elaborate on the reason for difference in salaries for the benefit of public knowledge, Judge Harbison said she agrees with Bellmyer about making the correction.

"You're right, we have five active JPs," said Judge Harbison.

Bellmyer remarked there is a reason JP 1 has a little bit of a different pay scale, because the work load is substantially different than other precincts due in part to location and the days the office is open compared to the other JP offices..

"I feel like they've tried really hard to even out the duties, especially even in covering weekends and nights and everything, I think that the other four besides one has really worked to carry the work, share the workload," said Judge Harbison.

She stated now would be a good time to even up the salaries on the Justice of the Peace offices, because they all are fairly new,

The commissioners further discussed the tax rate, and there hasn't been an increase in around three years.

"A two cent increase is going to get us an excess of $200,000 in new income, but we've also got $200-something-thousand in new income on valuations already," said McSwain.

McSwain said he would like to see the proposal of a two cent tax rate increase to $0.7227.

After clarification, Riley stated the county part would be 0.6432 and the road and bridge would be 0.0795 for a total of 0.7227.

Following discussion, it was determined a hearing on the tax rate will be scheduled for September 8, 2021.

A motion carried to set a hearing on the proposed tax increase rate for September 8 at 10am.

A motion carried to adjourn the budget workshop.

September 1, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, 12 new cases, 1 new death, and 24 recoveries were reported today. The number of active cases decrease for the second day to 184.

September 1st Numbers: (changes since Aug. 31)
Confirmed Cases - 1,441 (6 new)
Probable Cases - 982 (6 new)
Fatalities - 77 (1 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 184
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,163 (24 new)

August 31st Numbers: (changes since Aug. 30)
Confirmed Cases - 1,435 (12 new)
Probable Cases - 976 (1 new)
Fatalities - 76
Active Cases (Estimated) - 196
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,139 (5 new)

September 1, 2021 - The Shelby County Commissioners were updated during their meeting August 18, 2021, on Shelby County Jail plumbing issues.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison explained a plumbing inspection camera had been fed into the jail plumbing system to help determine some issues with the system and Gary Adams with DRG Architects addressed the court.

"We ran a camera down your main drains, we knew we had problems," said Adams. "The camera was showing us some low spots in the line."

Other parts of the system Adams described sounded never ending, as they sent the camera through the system without coming to an end. Areas where water disappears beneath the jail were also discovered, which Adams says may be causing other issues with the building.

After extensive discussion on the possibility, a motion carried to have DRG Architects put together a contractual package and proposal for the county attorney to review and bring it back to court for approval.

The commissioners considered the possibility of approving a donation in the amount of $1,500 to the Constable Precinct 5 office. Constable Tipton explained the previous donation he received was for anything needed for his office and for the new truck the county purchased for the Precinct 5 Constable office. The $1,500 would also be toward needed equipment and was made by M&M, Charles and Brenda Mackey.

A motion carried to approve the donation.

The commissioners discussed Sheriff and Constable fees for the service of legal documents. After discussion, it was decided to table the Sheriff and Constable fees until potential adjustments could be reviewed by County Attorney Gary Rholes.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:11am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current payroll.
3. Contract with DRG Architects, LLC to prepare a plan to repair the County Jail plumbing issues.  
4. Donation to Constable Pct. 5 in the amount of $1,500 from Charles and Brenda Mackey.  
5. Resolution and agreements regarding the federally approved off-system bridge projects located at CR 4760 at the Attoyac Bayou Relief and at CR 3047 at Prairie Creek.
6. Road closure for construction of a new bridge on CR 3047 at Prairie Creek with the project begin date of May 2024.
7. Road closure for construction of a new bridge on CR 4760 at Attoyac Bayou Relief with the project begin date of May 2024.
8. Adjourn - 11:11am.

1. Sheriff and Constable Fees.

August 31, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, 13 new cases and 5 recoveries were reported today. The number of active cases increased to 196.

August 31st Numbers: (changes since Aug. 30)
Confirmed Cases - 1,435 (12 new)
Probable Cases - 976 (1 new)
Fatalities - 76
Active Cases (Estimated) - 196
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,139 (5 new)

August 30th Numbers: (changes since Aug. 29)
Confirmed Cases - 1,423
Probable Cases - 975
Fatalities - 76
Active Cases (Estimated) - 187
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,134 (9 new)

Covid-19 new cases reported during the month of August totaled up to 338. The number of deaths is 3. 

Reported August 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 200
Total New Probable Cases - 138
Total New Fatalities - 3
Total New Recovered (Estimated) - 182

Reported July 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 92
Total New Probable Cases - 44
Total New Fatalities - 2
Total New Recovered (Estimated) - 118

Reported June 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 197
Total New Probable Cases - 20
Total New Fatalities - 3
Total New Recovered (Estimated) - 217