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Fannin County Commissioners Court discusses meeting twice a month
By Allen Rich
Jan 18, 2023
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Fannin County, Texas -- All five members of Fannin County Commissioners Court were present for a regular meeting held Tuesday, January 17, 2023. The meeting opened with an invocation by Ken Ussery, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bonham, and pledges were led by Maj. James Manis.

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Bonham Fire Chief Scott Ridling presented the December 2022 monthly EMS report.

Chief Ridling reported that the department received 14.6 calls per day during December, which represents an increase over the average number of daily calls.

"We have been getting busier as our county grows,"  Ridling told the court.

Fannin County Judge Newt Cunningham asked Chief Ridling about any current problems the department is facing.

Ridling replied that maintaining proper staffing levels and getting a timely delivery of ambulances that have been ordered are two of his primary concerns.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved  the Treasurerís Financial Report for December 2022, as well as the Treasurerís Investment Report for December 2022.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved minutes from 11/15/2021 (S), 11/16/2021 (R), 11/23/2021 (R), 08/09/2022 (R), 08/17/2022 (S) and 10/04/2022 (S).

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The Office of Fannin County Clerk reported monies collected for December 2022: all courts, $9,870.47 and land records, $28,809.00.

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The Office of Fannin County District Clerk reported $18,055.48 collected for December 2022.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved new Child Welfare Board member Amanda McDonald, a legal assistant at Cole Title in Bonham.

Ms. McDonald has been vetted and approved by the Texas Department of Family Protective Services.

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Paul Chandler, Fannin County Veterans Service Officer, gave a presentation regarding the Veterans Services 2022 Report.

Mr. Chandler reported 552 in-person engagements in 2022. Including phone calls and emails, his office logged approximately 3,500 total contacts.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved the amended Fannin County Veteran Services Policy, Procedures and Best Practices manual.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court voted to renew a 3-month lease with Brazos Trailers for a 40í Pitboss Belly Dump in the amount of $1,500 for Precinct 1.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court voted to renew a 3-month lease with Brazos Trailers for a 40í Pitboss Belly Dump in the amount of $1,500 for Precinct 4.

Judge Cunningham said he visited the Precinct 4 barn and found broken-down equipment, problems resulting from what seems to be a lack of preventive maintenance, and the precinct barn to be in disrepair.

"I was amazed...maybe shocked is a better word," Cunningham remarked.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved the partial closure of CR 3815 in Leonard.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court voted to rent an 84Ē Sheeps Foot Roller from ASCO Rentals for one month at $5,500.00 per month for Precinct 2.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court discussed changing the frequency of commissioners court meetings from weekly to meetings every two weeks.

Judge Cunningham proposed postponing this decision until all county department heads have been polled.

Fannin County Auditor Alicia Whipple noted that some of the bills that come through her office need timely payment or the county would pay penalties.

Walt Goodwater addressed commissioner court and said the discussion appeared to be about an inconvenience, rather that the primary duties of a county commissioner.

"What about the members of the public who need to bring something before you?" Mr. Goodwater queried members of the court.

Goodwater asked the county judge to consider the totality of the impact of this decision.

Rusty Deets asked about holding occasional meetings at a time that would allow more citizens to attend.

Judge Cunningham remarked that divisive, controversial subjects may indeed warrant a special meeting in the evening.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Doug Kopf suggested that more open discussion on agenda items might prove transparency and earn back public trust in the commissioners court.

The decision regarding the frequency of commissioners court meetings was tabled until February 2, 2023.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court discussed the process for items to be placed in Auctioneer Express for sale as surplus for all precincts.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court discussed hanging a plaque from Texas Historical Commission (THC) in the historic courthouse.

Controversy centers over wording on the plaque which credits the THC for "major funding."

THC contributed the maximum $6 million to help pay for the complete restoration of the 1888 Fannin County Courthouse, while the project cost local taxpayers $22 million.

One resident spoke up and called the wording "misleading."

"If we agreed to it, we need to do it, but we need to be very careful about what we agree to in the future," Judge Cunningham stated, adding that he is considering putting up a secondary plaque that better explains the funding, even if he had to pay for it himself.

The agenda item passed unanimously.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved the Auditorís Monthly reports for September 2022 (end of fiscal year).

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved the Auditorís Monthly reports for December 2022.

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Fannin County Commissioners Court approved payment of bills.

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In a discussion regarding water issues affecting Fannin County, Judge Cunningham said he was questioned about whether sand mines could be evaporating water from the water table.

Cunningham noted that a spokesman for TCEQ indicated that he didn't think it is possible for sand mines to evaporate water and lower the water table, but the county judge indicated that he will get more information on the subject.

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In a discussion regarding Fannin County road issues, Judge Cunningham stressed the need to develop a plan and perhaps hold workshops.

Cunningham said the immediate needs are a lack equipment, the ongoing struggle to keep employees because of the pay rate, and the need for additional training.

"We've got to get competitive in order to retain employees and acquire working equipment for precincts in order to maintain roads," remarked Cunningham.