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Hempstead County Quorum Court

By Staff, 09/17/20 5:59 PM

The Hempstead County Quorum Court met for their September meeting on Thursday.  The meeting was a socially distanced in-person meeting at the courthouse.  JP’s Stewart and  Steed participated virtually.

The JP’s discussed the new employee handbooks.  JP James Griffin said a couple of things need to be addressed and they should be sent to JP’s within a day or two.  Griffin said they could probably vote on the handbook next month.

J.P. Ed Darling told the Court he thinks they probably need to add $740,000 back into the road department.  This includes $20,000 for a bush hog, also that much for chemicals.  Also Darling suggested $500,000 back into contract work for the road department.  judge Crane noted they need to stripe Patmos Road and add reflectors.  He also noted they have lowered a hill near Spring Hill.  The Judge said much of the work is safety work.  He also said flooding had set them back.  Darling also suggested adding back $40,000 back to county official budgets and suggested adding back $39,000 to the jail budget of which $20,000 is for feeding prisoners.  Darling said they are at capacity with their personnel.  Sheriff Singleton said they are averaging 71 prisoners a day as they are backed up from the state prison system.  Darling said an ordinance will be eventually needed if approved.  The JP’s voted to approve the increases and an ordinance to that effect will be considered next month.

Darling discussed what to do with the Cooperative Extension Service when the old courthouse moves.  He said the Hempstead County Farm Bureau building  is available.  It appraised at $190,000 and has been offered to the county for $150,000.  Darling said the old Hempstead County Abstract Building has been offered to the county for $125,000 but it would probably need at least $30,000 in work to convert it to the Extension office.  James Griffin said they’ve also looked at the old Hope Star building.  JP Jesse Henry suggested trying to negotiate the price for the Farm Bureau building down lower.  JP Whit Whitlock said it couldn’t be built for what they’re asking.  There was discussion on whether or not to use the courthouse tax funds to purchase the building.  JP Cherry Stewart noted the county funds the Circuit Judge and Prosecutor’s officers separate from the courthouse.  No action was taken.

Darling suggested the county but a much needed garbage truck.  Judge Crane noted another county truck recently burned up. There were no injuries.

Darling noted there have been some complaints about medical insurance claims. He suggested they be brought to the Judge.

Terrie James distributed information about the ballot issues and the meeting adjourned.