Sheriff’s vehicles, nuisance-harboring properties discussed

By Chris Edwards

The purchase of three new vehicles for the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department was discussed and approved early on Monday morning’s agenda at the regular meeting of the Commissioners Court.

The trio of vehicles, two of which are patrol units and the other an “administrative unit,” as County Treasurer Bob Dockens referred to it, was initially approved by the commissioners in February. Dockens presented Commissioners with documents that detailed the specifics of the vehicles, as well as a proposal of financing (through BancorpSouth), along with an amortization schedule for two of the vehicles. The financing schedule would come with the stipulation that the county pay the principal, plus interest, over a two-year period, at an interest rate of 2.14%. The amount would be paid in half each year, according to the proposal Dockens presented.

The full amount for the two units that are to be financed is $91,714, and the third unit comes at a cost of $45,317. The county will pay for the third vehicle outright. Dockens reminded the commissioners that the financing documents he’d presented for review were merely “a draft proposal…nothing is etched in stone.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Neal Smith put a motion on the floor to approve the proposal with a stipulation noted as to the financing situation.

Several items on Monday’s agenda pertained to the issue properties that have come to harbor public nuisance(s). A hearing was conducted to determine whether or not a Westwood Shores property, located at 13 Sparrow in Trinity, contains an element of nuisance.  Precinct 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham said he had looked at the property and would testify that it was, indeed, a nuisance. County Environmental Officer Carl O. Dyer spoke about the property and the lack of progress made with the cleaning up of it. He said that the property was in worse shape now than it was upon earlier inspections, and noted that someone had busted out windows in the house on the property.

Commissioner Worsham made a motion to declare the property a nuisance, which will allow the county to assess the cost of ordering an abatement of the property and to establish a lien on it. In addition to the declaration of nuisance, the commissioners also voted to authorize Westwood Shores property owners to volunteer and participate in the abatement of public nuisances on properties in the subdivision that have been declared as nuisances by the court.

The commissioners heard a presentation from Shirleen Bonacci, a client services consultant with GrantWorks. Bonacci spoke of her company’s effectiveness at securing grant monies for communities. “We are trying to prove to you that, hopefully, we are a good company to work with,” she said. According to Bonacci, GrantWorks has secured $1.1 billion in Community Block Development Grant funds for clients. Following Bonacci’s presentation, the commissioners voted to adopt a resolution to designate County Judge Doug Page as the authorized representative to act on behalf of the Hazard Mitigation Project and to commit Trinity County to a 25% match and approval for the county’s participation into interlocal agreements with the cities of Groveton and Trinity. 

The commissioners also approved the execution of an application packet for the Hazard Mitigation Planning Grant to submit to the Texas Division of Emergency Management’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

One item that was passed upon, pending legal research, was the rescinding of a prohibition of through traffic to trucks exceeding the county-designated weight limits on Jack Shaeffer and Trinlady Park roads. Commissioner Smith stressed that if any rules on through traffic were changed on the roads for trucks that it should be by state-issued permit only. 

In other business, the commissioners voted to renew Trinity County’s insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties for the 2016-17 year.

•Adopt a resolution that advocates the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, as well as other medical treatments and therapies, for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. Precinct 2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin, a military veteran, spoke favorably about the effects that such treatments could hold for soldiers returning from war. “It is a very positive thing…effective in dealing with those conditions.”

Without any other items for discussion on the agenda, the court adjourned its Monday morning meeting until its next regularly scheduled session at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 25, in the Commissioners’ Courtroom of the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton.