Disaster finance, health departments highlight Jasper agenda

The Jasper County Commissioners Court considered the following agenda items during Monday’s regular session:

First, the court voted to seek funding through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s local Emergency Preparedness Committee grant program.

This program allows Jasper County to prepare for disaster events involving hazardous materials, spills or explosions. The program will also allow Jasper County to keep local fire departments and other emergency responders informed about pipelines, chemicals used in local industries, and the types of materials being trucked and railed through the county.

In other emergency management matters, the court approved an order for Jasper County’s updated hazard mitigation plan, which the county, in coordination with the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission, had extended for another five-year cycle.

Next, the court approved the final plan for Cory Morhead Subdivision 27, which currently has 12 proposed lots and will be located at County Roads 797 and 802 in Buna.

In other matters, the court authorized the Jasper-Newton County Public Health District to share office space with the Jasper County Department of Health for Needy People at the Buna Sub-Courthouse. The Health Department will move from its current location at FM 1004 in the coming weeks and apply for a location for women, infant and child (WIC) services and child immunization services in Buna and Evadale.

The court then accepted the donation of an electric generator from the Jasper-Newton County Public Health District. The electric generator unit is used by District 4 Commissioner Vance Moss at the Jasper County compactor site and at the law enforcement gunnery training range off US 96 between Buna and Evadale.

Moss pointed out that this generator would allow his compressor site to remain operational during major disasters that result in long-term power outages, and that the firearms training building could also be powered to support staff after a storm event .

In other health matters, the court renewed Jasper County’s local disaster declaration for COVID-19, staying consistent with the governor’s recent renewal of Texas’ statewide declaration.

Next, the court voted to assist the Southeast Texas Food Bank in disposing of surplus equipment and materials stored at the former Rowe Elementary School at US 190 in Jasper, including accepting donations of equipment that could be used for county purposes .

The court found that the food bank had acquired the former Jasper ISD elementary school to create a large resource center to provide multiple services to the community, as well as provide a large food distribution center in the northern portion of their service area. These include Jasper, Newton, Sabine and Tyler Counties.

The court also noted that plans were underway for the Jasper-Newton County Public Health District to move its Jasper headquarters to the new location at US 190 to provide expanded health services.

In other matters, the court approved the results of the November 2022 general election and the District 3 Liquor election, and then approved the bonds for all district, district and county officers elected for the upcoming 2023 term.

The court then heard from representatives from the Southeast Texas Groundwater Conservation District, who asked for assistance in working with the upcoming 88th Texas Legislature to allow the district to review rates for commercial water wells in Jasper, Newton, Hardin and Tyler counties increase what the court approved via a dissolution.

On the prosecution side, Deputy Sheriff’s Office Assistant Scott Duncan requested that the court pay out accrued time off for all employees of the sheriff’s office for the past six months. The court granted the motion, noting that the balance of $56,535.51 would be paid from the Prisoners’ Compensation Fund. This fund comes from fees charged for housing inmates from nearby counties.

Next, Duncan presented the prison report, noting that in October Jasper County had billed a total of $25,320 to house inmates from Nacogdoches, Newton, and Sabine counties, which the court approved.

In closing the deals, the court approved the monthly civil and criminal fee reports submitted by District Secretary Rosa Norsworthy and then approved the 2023 holiday calendar for the coming year.

That covers it for this court session. Have a great weekend and as always feel free to call me if you need anything my way.

Mark Allen, District Judge
Jasper County, Texas

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