By Tamee Ryan



It was a hot meeting in the courtroom Tuesday morning, as the Hamilton County Commissioners met under air-conditioning vents that weren’t fully-functioning.

Public comments were given by Richard Layne, Hamilton County resident, in regard to an item on the agenda regarding Hamilton County employees and elected officials’ wages.

“Last year the court went through an arduous time to get wages, and there was a large increase to the sheriff. I’m not sure what you are visiting other than that there are not many left at the jail to get a raise. There would be very little need for any wage increase,” Layne expressed.

The item in question was discussed in closed session and no other information was available at the time of publication.

There were no budget amendments, and line item transfers were approved as presented.

The consent agenda was approved and included minutes and bills submitted for payment for $119,914.98.

County auditor Kent Reeves said that the county is $880,000 in revenue ahead of expenditures. Almost 96% taxes have been received. The treasurer and treasurer’s assistant have been doing parallel payrolls since January, trying to implement the new system and making it match current system. The new system will go live at the end of July.

Justice of the Peace James Lively recognized Chief Deputy Joy Stevens for 20 years of service to Hamilton County.

The court approved for the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce to put up magnetized lights around the courthouse building beginning in October and running until January. Concerns were raised about how the lights would be secured, and Terry Short, who is on the committee for the Christmas lights, assured the court that the lights are magnetized and there will be no nails used, so it will not affect the integrity of the building.

The commissioners approved the temporary use of the courthouse annex building on the first and third Tuesdays of each month for meetings of the Hamilton Volunteer Fire Department and agreed in the spirit of cooperation to approve with certain limitations per the county attorney to allow use of an office in the courthouse for the secretary/treasurer of the fire department to house temporarily.

The court approved bond and deputation for Reserve deputy sheriff Rodney Howard Finch and for Deputy Tax Assessor/Collector Jennifer Lea Dust.

The court addressed a real estate purchase contract for the old sanitarium that burned in 2010. The property has been off the tax rolls for two or three years, has been vacant for longer and the City of Hamilton has an unforgivable lien against the property.

The amount of the lien is around $20,000 and it is on the tax rolls for just over $25,000.

“We cannot give the property away, but we can accept any offer above $.01.” said county attorney Mark Henkes.

The current offer is for the amount of the lien the city holds against it.

The court voted to counter the offer for the tax value in order to let the city collect its lien and divide the additional monies between the school district, county and hospital based on percentage of taxes owed.

The court approved a dispatch contract between the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office and the City of Hamilton and City of Hico for $30,000 and $20,000, respectively. The contracts will be presented by their respective parties to the two city councils.

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