Anderson County is set to receive $11.2 million through the American Rescue Plan, a form of federal COVID-19 aide.
County Judge Robert Johnston reported during Monday’s Commissioner’s Court meeting that the county will receive half of the money this May and the remaining half one year from now.
Johnston said that while the criteria for what the county can spend the money on has not yet been set, one area that has been denoted was infrastructure. While infrastructure is a broad term and there are not currently definitions for those perimeters, broadband is one area they believe that will be able to direct funds to.
The county is also set to benefit from the Help America Vote Act (HAVA Security Grant) for the purchase of voting equipment.
Sheriff Rudy Flores’ Chief Deputy Nick Webb presented, and the court approved, an agreement with Commissary Express to provide services to the inmates at the jail. Currently the jail is providing its own commissary services. Through this agreement, the Sheriff’s Office would receive a profit of 25% of all sales without having to lose manpower for an individual to shop and provide commissary items to inmates.
Webb also presented, and the court approved, an Inmate Communications Addendum Agreement between the county and NCIC Inmate Communications, Inc. to provide video messaging and texting to inmates. Webb noted that just like calls, the texts and videos would be monitored and the county would receive a percentage of the payment for each text and video. Through this program, any funding in call accounts could be rolled over to commissary accounts and vice-versa.
The commissioners also listened to a presentation from representatives with EnviRemed Technologies regarding environmental products and solutions, in particular, a fast acting road base that could be used for the county road and bridge departments. No action was taken.
The commissioners approved retiree insurance eligibility that grandfathers in any employee hired before Dec. 31, 2019 to receive county insurance after retirement if they are 60 years of age and vested in the county health insurance, if they have 20 years of service or if their years of service and age equal 75 or over. Employees who were hired after Dec. 31, 2019, must be 60 years of age and vested in the county health insurance, with 30 years of service. Any employee can receive health insurance without this criteria after retirement, however, they must pay 100% of the cost.
During the meeting the court also approved:
• the consent agenda items, including payment of bills, budget amendments and utility crossings on county roads;
• the final plat for Meadow Lark #2 Subdivision located on FM 645 and Anderson County Road 2502;
• a land use agreement for Pct. 1 Road and Bridge Department;
• permission for Judge Johnston to sign an engagement letter with Patillo, Brown & Hill, L.L.P. for the annual county audit;
• the purchase of an air condition unit for the District Clerk’s Office;
• the renewal rate on property and mobile equipment schedules for July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 from Texas Association of Counties;
• a quote from J&B Security for video cameras from capital outlay for the Tax Office;
• salary changes to the Tax-Assessor-Collector Department budget for the year ending in Dec. 31, 2021;
• a donation made to Anderson County, for the Sheriff’s Office, from Legacy Reserves in the amount of $500;
• and an order allowing retail firework permit holders to sell fireworks to the public in celebration of Memorial Day, beginning Wednesday, May 26 and ending at midnight Monday, May 31.