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Commissioners approve new steps for Grayson County Courthouse


Grayson County Commissioners will talk courthouse repair when they meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Grayson County Courthouse in Sherman.

The Grayson County Courthouse could soon be sporting a new set of steps. Commissioners Tuesday voted to spend $57,000 in insurance proceeds to replace all 84 of the steps on the outside of the courthouse.

Purchasing Agent Jeff Schneider ask the Court to declare the matter exempt from the bid process even though the cost would easily pass the $50,000 limit on a purchase or project that can be done without competitive bids. Schneider said the project, which would take a few months to get through the bid process, needs to be done before winter sets in and should be considered a “public necessity.” He then asked the Court to approve Sunbelt Building Service as the company that will do the work. Schneider said he had several estimates from other places that exceeded the amount that Sunbelt Building wanted to do the work.

Grayson County Commissioner Jeff Whitmire asked if the County had tried any of the other options originally listed with the project in the Court’s agenda packet. Those included patches and flipping the stones. Schneider said the patches weren’t working and the stones were only finished on one side so flipping them left people stepping up on unfinished stones. He said the County looked at trying to piecemeal the project by just replacing the stones that were damaged. The process proved harder than imagined however. Though the County could get limestone from the same quarry that furnished the damaged steps, the vein was not the same. That, he said, meant the color would not match the stones that were not replaced and would leave the County with a “patchwork effect” on the steps.

Commissioners voted unanimously to replace all of the steps to keep the look uniform.

The Court also unanimously approved a request from Catholic Diocese of Dallas to purchase a piece of struck-off property at 315 N. Rusk in Denison. The property is next to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Denison. Grayson County Tax Assessor Collector Bruce Stidham said the church had already been maintaining the struck-off property as its own. The property had a fence around it.

After making sure that the property had been through two sales with no takers, commissioners started discussing allowing St. Patrick’s to purchase it. Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum asked if the church had bid enough to cover the back taxes which were $2,400 and Stidham said the offer was $1,500. Then one of the commissioners said at least the sale would get it back on the tax rolls. Bynum said it wouldn’t because the church is tax exempt. When someone on the Court teased about getting back to Bishop Kevin Farrell about increasing the offer, Stidham teased that he would be happy to give them the address. In the end, Commissioner Bart Lawrence moved that the Court accept the offer and Commissioner David Whitlock seconded it. Then Bynum added his “third” to the motion “just for the record.” The motion passed with no opposition.

Next commissioners turned their attention to security at the Grayson County Justice Center and the Grayson County Jail. Schneider presented them with a renewal on the County’s Contract with Securitas and told the Court the company that provides staffing for the jail and security at the front door. Though the price for the contract hadn’t changed since 2005, Schneider told the Court there was a catch. He said if the Affordable Care Act went into effect in December, then the Company would be asking for an additional $1.04 per person per hour to cover the costs associated with it. Commissioners asked if the company couldn’t just hire additional people to work part-time to keep from having to provide insurance for their employees and Roger Braziel said the company is already having a hard time finding people to fill the positions they have at the jail. He said Securitas is having to look at retirees because people who are trying to support families can’t afford to work 29 hours or less a week. Next commissioners asked if there were a way to reduce the number of security people at the door of the Justice Center to make up for the increase since it was not provided for in the budget the Court expects to approve in the coming weeks. Bynum said the Sheriff’s Office has always maintained that the four people on the door is the minimum number of people needed to do the job properly.

The expected budget override is expected to be between $25,000 and $30,000 and commissioners decided to approve the contract extension provided the increase didn’t exceed $25,000. The Court also approved renewal of its health and property insurance policies with the Texas Association of Counties.

Commissioners also approved the replat of Lots 4, 5 and 6 of the Hinton Court in Precinct 1, a road bore at U.S. Highway 82 and declared some used computer equipment as surplus for sale.

 

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