By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Navarro County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Monday to call for a $7.5 million bond election on Nov. 5, a vote that will decide the fate of the proposed courthouse restoration project.
Aided by a $4.4 million state preservation grant, and a grant of $1 million announced last week by the Navarro Community Foundation, the proposed three-year project now only goes forward if voters approve the package.
A previous presentation by bond attorneys advising the county on the bond issue called for a $6.5 million debt issue. Commissioners decided on a $7.5 million package, which gives the county more flexibility regarding an annex building that will be needed should the courthouse restoration take place. The $7.5 million issue will allow the county to either buy and remodel an existing facility, or have ample funds to construct a new annex building, said County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr.
Talks have been held with the Corsicana Independent School District regarding the possible purchase of the CISD Administration building and annex located north of the Justice Center on North 13th Street for use as a permanent annex. The annex will be needed should the historic restoration take place, because some existing offices in the courthouse would be displaced by the work as dictated by the Texas Historical Commission. That work includes moving the elevator from its present location to the east side of the building, and restoring a third-floor balcony overlooking the district courtroom, and other changes to restore the courthouse floor plan to its original look.
The tax assessor/collector, probation and extension service offices have been mentioned during planning sessions as likely candidates for an annex building relocation.
Davenport said they are waiting on the county’s financial advisor to supply revised numbers regarding details of the proposed $7.5 million bond issue, and expects to have them this week.
There shouldn’t be an impact on the 2013-14 tax rate, however. Commissioners also voted Monday their intent to maintain the county’s current combined property tax rate of .6270 per $100 taxable valuation. A formal vote on the tax rate is set for Sept. 9.
Commissioners took no action on items discussed in two closed sessions Monday to discuss personnel and real estate.
A budget workshop was recessed until 9 a.m. Tuesday.
County Commissioner Meeting Briefs
Consent agenda OK’d
Commissioners approved the consent agenda, including minutes of previous meetings and the payment of bills and payroll.
Burn ban left in effect
Due to continued dry conditions in the county, commissioners took no action to lift the current burn ban.
Tax report received
Tax Assessor/Collector Russell Hudson presented the tax report for July 2013. The current year’s tax levy collection is at 96.88 percent, slightly ahead of last year at this time.
Retiree insurance premium approved
Commissioners accepted the January 2014 retiree supplement premium by TAC for Medicare Part B enrollment with a direct bill to the retiree. There is no increase in the rate, or cost to the county, said County Treasurer Frank Hull.
Extension program presented
Donald Kelm, district extension administrator, appeared to thank county commissioners for their cooperation and support for the Navarro County extension office. Kelm talked about a new “Dinner Tonight” family initiative of the extension service, an effort to get busy families together for a nutritious evening meal. Kelm also praised the work of the Navarro County agents through programs presented in the county.
District Clerk’s technology plan approved
Part of the annual budget process, commissioners voted to accept the district clerk’s technology plan as presented. District Clerk Josh Tackett talked about continuing efforts to digitize records in the office for electronic retrieval and archive purposes.
Jury pay change approved
Consistent with state law, jurors can be paid no less than $40 for the second day for all court jury duty effective Sept. 1, 2013. The county is reimbursed $34 for second day by the state.
Law library contract approved
Commissioners approved a contract for the Lexis Nexis law library for the Navarro County District Clerk, replacing Westlaw.
Child Welfare contract accepted
Commissioners accepted a non-financial contract for Title IV-E Child Welfare Services. The contract relates to records management by county.
Auditor’s report presented
Commissioners accepted the July 2013 auditor’s report from County Auditor Kathy Hollomon.
HIDTA grant modification approved
Commissioners approved a modification to the current HIDTA grant. Funds from the program pass through Navarro County to the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area efforts.
Liability insurance renewal approved
Renewal of the TAC Risk Management Public Officials Liability coverage was approved by commissioners.
Executive sessions held
Commissioners held two closed sessions to discuss personnel and real estate. No action was taken from the closed sessions.
Bob Belcher may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com