MARY JANE FARMER / HERALD DEMOCRAT
Those on their way in to the Fannin County Courthouse Monday morning were met with the sounds of saws as county workers cut down a tree on the courthouse lawn. Commissioner Dewayne Strickland said the tree had been struck by lightning last year, and was dying. The county is having major concrete and foliage improvements done around the historic courthouse in downtown Bonham.
BONHAM — Those going into the Fannin County Courthouse, whether for the weekly Commissioners Court meeting or for other business, were met with the sounds of an electric saw as it bit through the tree which stood outside the historic courthouse for years. Lightning struck the tree last year and it has been dying since then, said Fannin County Commissioner Dewayne Strickland, Precinct 3. The removal was part of a large renovation project around the courthouse square involving replacement of concrete and foliage.
When Strickland opened the meeting up at 10 p.m., he thanked the Court for what it has been doing. “I commend Mr. Barker (Precinct 2 Commissioner Stan Barker) and all the precincts that have come up here to the Courthouse. You are making it look so much better. You can actually see the Courthouse now, and I’ve had so many compliments on the work.”
Brandon Caffee, with the Fannin County Juvenile Probation Office, talked to the Court about the acceptance of a grant which will be coming, through Texoma Council of Governments, from the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division. The resolution which Strickland, sitting in for County Judge Spanky Carter who is on vacation, signed, designates the $37,650 from the grant to be applied to continue having an office manager. This is the second year Fannin County has received this grant money, Caffee said, adding, that when this resolution is signed, the money will come. He explained that Fannin County does not have to provide any matching funds, it is 100 percent state money. It passed unanimously.
The Court also approved the acceptance of the financially-better bid of two submitted to provide culverts for all the precincts. Fannin County Purchaser Jill Holmes recommended Wilson Culverts Inc., of Elkhart, Texas, as the recipient, saying that the other bid came in from Contech Engineer Solutions of Irving, Texas. Before the motion, second, and vote, Strickland cautioned the commissioners, “You better get ready to wait a week on your culverts. I understand the bid process, but when you order you some culverts, expect to be a week getting them.” Strickland, who is not running for re-election to his seat on the Court, said he wasn’t arguing that this bid acceptance was what needs to be done, “But I’m just telling you to get ready.”
The Court approved spending some money to move and/or replace thermostats in the Windom government building and the County Office building in Bonham. These are being done as cost-saving measures, Holmes said. They also approved, at a one-year cost of $917, the purchase of 128 licenses of Malwarebytes to protect county-owned computers from problems caused by hackers, viruses, and other disturbances.
About the concrete renovations outside the Courthouse, Precinct 2 Commissioner Stan Barker said that they have identified the need to replace about 5,000 square feet more of concrete. It is, he said, slanting toward the Courthouse foundation and allowing water to seep into the basement. The slants, too, he said are more than 3/4 inch rise or drop, which is out of compliance with safety regulations, especially for people with special needs such as the uses of walkers. Addressing the culverts issue, Barker said the replaced concrete will have rounded off corners, which are not as likely to snap or break off causing future damage as the current ones which are squared off.
The decision made on the last agenda item, to pay the Fannin County bills due, was addressed simply with the motion “Pay the bills,” seconded, and approved unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 10:22 a.m.