Hempstead County Quorum Court

By Staff, 02/25/21 6:18 PM

The Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday for their regular monthly meeting.  There was a larger than normal crowd of spectators.  All the JP’s were there in person except for JP Cherry Stewart who attended virtually.

Following the approval of the minutes the JP’s approved a resolution endorsing new local industry Dansons participating in the state Economic Development Commission “tax back” program.  Dansons Plant Manager Bruce Boulton was on hand at the meeting.

The JP’S approved a rural grant for DeAnn to purchase fire equipment.  The community has $1,768 to provide for the grant match.  The grant is for$1,767 from the Rural Development Commission.

Under old business the JP’s looked at the proposed new handbook.  After a motion and second JP David Clayton said there was much discussion on the proposed handbook and he suggested the matter be tabled.  Clayton said neither side had answers.  JP’s  voted to table the decision.  Handbook Chairman James Griffin moved to expand the handbook committee to encompass all the JP’s and to meet weekly.  This failed with 7 members voting “no”, 2 voting “yes” and two voting “present”.  JP Keith Steed moved the JP’s meet Thursday March 4th at 5:30pm to try and solve the issue.  The JP’s agreed to this motion.  Assistant Prosecutor Jim Burke in his capacity as county attorney asked the JP’s to provide any proposals they have for the meeting to get it to him prior to the meeting so he can determine if the proposal is legal.  There were posters on the wall which apparently hinted at where some of the controversy stems in the proposed handbook.  At least one county employee noted she didn’t think the posters were appropriate.

Dansons’ Plant Manager Bruce Boulton addressed the JP’s.  He explained there are currently 12 people on staff and they hope to hire around 75 more in the next year.  He said the plant will probably be the largest such plant in the United States.   Boulton said the company was attracted to Hope due to its location which will aide in serving Wal-Mart stores.  Boulton is moving to Hope from Richmond, Virginia.  He complimented Hope on how well they dealt with the snow.  In answer to a question by JP Jesse Henry, Boulton said they hope to start with approximately 24 staffers producing pellets in April.  He said the brand of BBQ pellets the company will produce is branded “Pit Boss”.  He talked about hiring future employees and how they will do that.  Those present applauded Boulton when he finished.

Judge Jerry Crane, in closing, suggested the JP’s and employees pray over the handbook situation.  He expressed optimism the issues will be solved.  He also said the county hopes to be in the new courthouse in April.  The meeting then adjourned.