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Hempstead County Quorum Court

By Staff, 11/18/21 6:26 PM

The Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday for the November meeting.  Following the approval of the minutes, the JP’s moved into the agenda items.

First up was a transfer ordinance from the voluntary tax funds to the jail and sheriff’s department employees.  The $10, 603 transfer passed.

The JP’s approved an appropriation ordinance for $25,840 from CARES funding to the Sheriff’s budget to replace a vehicle.

The JP’S approved an ordinance setting up a fund for American Rescue Plan funds for the Hempstead County Library.

The JP’S moved on to look at an ordinance on appropriating premium pay for county staff.  County Attorney Jim Burke said he doesn’t think the premium pay can be used for elected officials.  He said the problem is the funds can only be used for hourly workers and the JP’s are paid $150 per day, in other words a per diem.  Burke said he doesn’t have a way, at this time, to word legislation to cover such premium pay for officials and JP’s now.  He thinks it can be done but he needs to do more research on wording an ordinance to cover this.  Burke also answered how salaried, non-elected workers can be compensated.  The JP’s approved an ordinance for premium pay for workers but not elected officials.  The ordinance pays employees $3 per hour for the period from March 2020 to July 2021.  The total amount was just under $1.2 million dollars.  After an ordinance reading that took 15 minutes by Burke, the ordinance was approved.  The date was amended to March 3rd 2020 to September 30th.

Ed Darling noted the first budget meeting will be November 22nd at 5:30om at the courthouse.

The Cooperative Extension Service made a presentation as they traditionally do each year.  Terrie James, staff chairman, and Kimberly Rowe passed out written material on the organization’s activities and both gave  oral reports on these activities.

The new Courthouse was discussed.  Steve Atchley said they hope to have an open house November 29th and 30th for the public.  Atchley said they won’t be able to move everything and everyone in at once.  Atchley asked that the public try to minimize the use of the courthouse on the moving days.

The meeting then adjourned.  The next regular meeting will be December 16th.