Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

September 9, 2013

Sheriff’s fee hikes gain approval from commissioners (w/meeting briefs)

Commissioners OK increases for animal patrol, services and notices

By Raymond Linex II
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — The price of many fees for duties administered by the sheriff’s office are going up, including those calls for stray animals.

Currently, Navarro County Sheriff’s Deputies often pick up unwanted donkeys, for example, at no cost to the animal owner. They are fed, housed and auctioned for usually much less than the cost of the duties performed.

That will change Oct. 1.

“We have been picking (animals) up pro bono,” Sheriff Elmer Tanner told commissioners at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting. “We’re not in the business of picking up stray livestock, and we don’t want to be in the business.”

Commissioners unanimously approved a new fee structure that would charge large animal owners $100 for the impoundment and hauling of the first animal, and $50 for each additional animal. Fees for contractors and veterinarian costs will be additional.

The stray fees were one of the three fee schedule hikes approved by commissioners, but one — dealing with paperwork, audio and video record duplication — was later put off, pending further review.

The other dealt with fees for notices and services fees.

The fees approved include:

• Subpoenas and summons, $75;

• Writs of attachment, garnish, sequestration, order of sequestration, restitution, possession and writs not specified, $125;

• Eviction, Justice Court and all other court citations, $75;

• and posting notices, $40.

Additionally, the above fees will include two hours of service, and a standby charge of $30 per hour, per deputy for writs that exceed two hours.

The stray fees include:

• Impoundment/hauling of large animal (cattle, horses, ostriches, emus, llamas, etc.), $100;

• impoundment/hauling of additional large animal, $50;

• impoundment/hauling of small animal (goats, sheep, etc.), five (5) or less, $100;

• impoundment/hauling of each additional small animal, over five (5), $15;

• boarding/feeding large animal per day, per animal, $10;

• boarding/feeding small animal per day, per animal, $5;

• collection fee for each call or each animal as required by statute, $25.

“We need an ironclad rate schedule, published” Tanner said, referencing the stray fees before the vote.

“No matter who you are, this our rate.”

“If anything,” County Judge H.M. Davenport said, “people might figure out it’s cheaper to keep their fences fixed.”

If the animals are sold at auction, and brings more than the rate fees, the animal owner will be entitled to the extra sale money, Tanner said.

The most common type of stray livestock is donkeys, Tanner said. The county picked up 14 in August.


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County Commissioners Meeting Briefs

Sheriff speaks in public forum

  Sheriff Elmer Tanner signed up to speak during the public forum, then read a prepared statement on the action of an off duty jail officer who stopped to render aid to a man who was having a heart attack in his vehicle in the county’s parking lot northwest of the courthouse. Jail Cpl. Randall Blackwell’s shift ended Friday at 4 p.m., but he stayed behind to fill in the night shift, Tanner said. About 4:30, as he walked across 13th Street to the parking lot, he noticed a truck parked oddly with the motor running. The man inside indicated he was not doing well, and Blackwell used his cell phone to call for additional help. The man later died, but Tanner commended Blackwell’s actions.

  Tanner then thanked commissioners for considering his request for a 10 percent salary increase for sheriff’s office employees, and thanked them for the 4 percent hike they actually got. County Judge H.M. Davenport responding, saying he wished the county could do more than the 10 percent, but that county could not.

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

  Gail Smith with the Tax Assessor/Collector’s office presented the tax report for August 2013. The office collected $67,129.25 and the current year’s tax levy collection is at 97.29 percent.

No action taken on funds request

  County Treasurer Frank Hull asked commissioners to consider moving $1,000,000 from a fund managed by Tex Pool Prime to Prosperity Bank in Corsicana. Hull said the county’s $2.1 million at Tex Pool Prime garnered $135.76 in interest in August. He said it would have generated $1,311 in interest at Prosperity.

Commissioners asked County Auditor Kathy Holliman for her opinion, and she was against moving the funds to Prosperity, where the county already has $5 million in assets, she said.

  “I just think it’s never wise to put all of your eggs into one basket,” she said.

  Holliman said she was not against moving the funds in general. Commissioners took no action on the request.

Rockwall County agreement approved

  An interlocal agreement allowing Rockwall County to handle grant money used for obtaining overseas and military votes was approved. County Elections Administrator Danda Parker said Navarro County was one of 50 counties slated to participate in the agreement.

Towing contract approved

  Commissioners voted to accept a new contract for towing services involving sheriff’s office involved traffic situations. The contract would put “some teeth” into disciplinary action for abusing fees administered and provide a year-long schedule, which would begin Jan. 1. Tanner said applications to be among the county’s rotation would be due Nov. 15.

Two surplus and salvage measures OK’d

   The sheriff’s department continues to shed items no longer needed, and commissioners approved the salvaging of more surplus items from the county barn. Also included was a couple of out-of-use squad cars, and a 160-foot tower that has been at the county farm — dismantled — for about 20 years, Tanner said. Also approved was a request to salvage items from the Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace, including Christmas decorations.

Mid-October meeting moved

As a result of Columbus Day on    Monday, Oct. 14, commissioners voted to move that week’s meeting to Tuesday, Oct. 15.

No action taken on several items

  Commissioners took no action on a consideration to join the Texas Indigent Defense Program, and a personnel issue discussed in executive session. They also took no action on the approval of a request for a lease-purchase agreement for tractors for Precinct 4 with Prosperity Bank.

VFD contract approved

  With a few changes from the current contract, commissioners OK’d the upcoming contract with local VFDs. A sentence outlying a one-year agreement for the county to cover workman’s compensation premiums for the VFDs was eliminated. Commissioners also agreed to language recommending VFDs have their treasurers bonded.

Three-part office equipment agreement passed

  The county will purchase office equipment panels from Ellis County, pay to have them moved to Corsicana, then lease storage space from Ideal Storage. All three measures were separate agenda items, and all three were approved.

9-1-1 interlocal agreement OK’d, with caveat

  Commissioners voted to approve a two-year interlocal agreement with the North Central Texas Council of Governments regarding 9-1-1 provisions as directed by the Commission on State Emergency Communications. Since it has been two years since the last agreement, Pct. 2 Commissioner Dick Martin made a motion to approve the measure, provided the district attorney and sheriff’s offices both consented to it.

Meals on Wheels grant approved

  Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing a grant in the amount of $3,000 to Kaufman County Senior Services, Inc., an organization that provides meals to senior citizens in Corsicana under the name Navarro County Meals on Wheels.

Tax rate adoption delayed to later meeting

The adoption of the proposed 2013 combined tax rate was delayed to the Sept. 23 meeting by commissioners. The proposed rate is $0.6270 per $100 valuation.