County Commissioners releasing proposed budget
By PAMELA GRANT
Coryell County’s Commissioners’ Court met in open session to discuss and vote on releasing the proposed budget, Cove House’s request for financial aid, and the property closing extension request from the City of Copperas Cove.
The meeting took place in the Commissioners’ Courtroom in Gatesville starting at 9 a.m. County Auditor Ben Roberts, precinct commissioners Don Jones, Daren Moore, Kyle Matthews, and Ray Ashby, County Attorney Brandon Belt, and Coryell County Judge John Firth were in attendance to vote on and discuss all matters on Monday’s agenda.
One of the most important ongoing tasks for the commissioners has been working to finalize the budget for the 2018 fiscal year (FY18). Although changes were made to the budget Monday morning, the commissioners did vote to approve a proposed budget for FY18 which will be made available to the public on Friday. The budget will be posted on the Coryell County website. A paper copy will also be available at the annex and the county tax assessor’s office in Cove Terrace Shopping Center.
The commissioners voted to approve the property closing extension request from Copperas Cove regarding the exchange of the Coryell County Annex property on South 2nd Street for the Economic Development Corporation Building on South 1st Street. Copperas Cove, the Copperas Cove EDC, and the county commissioners initially approved an agreement for the property exchange in May, which was to have a 90-day closing. They agreed to formally move the closing date to on or before Oct 1.
During the meeting, they voted to allow the burn ban to go back into effect, they approved the acceptance of donated funds for use in the Sheriff’s office, and approved a renewal of their contract with the CodeRed radio system. The commissioners also approved a grant application through the Hill Country Community Action Association to the Texas Department of Agriculture for the Home Delivered Meal Program. They approved the submission of the imposition of optional county fees and amendments to the 2017 fiscal year budget.
During the meeting, Cove House Executive Director, Brian Hawkins, presented a budget request for financial support of the Cove House Homeless Shelter, Transitional Housing, and Free Clinic. Hawkins asked for whatever money could be spared from the budget. Hawkins described what Cove House does for homeless members of the community.
“We do our best to provide everything they need until they can get back up on their feet,” said Hawkins. “We do everything we can to help them get from where they are to where they want to be. We don’t want to help them over the hump and then dump them over the cliff.”
Hawkins said that there is no shortage of need, but they can only do so much with the money and facilities that they currently have and they want to be able to do more.
No action was taken with regards to the Cove House budget request.
The commissioners discussed at length various changes that will be made to county workers’ healthcare programs. The commissioners opted to go with MetLife for a county dental and optional employee vision plan. They will also be starting a Wellness Program which will include health assessments and incentives for employees to complete said assessments.
The U.S. Fire Administration would also like to warn the community about disreputable people selling counterfeit solar eclipse glasses. Only glasses verified to meet ISO 12312-2 are safe to use when viewing an eclipse. Some counterfeits have false ISO labels, so the community is advised to purchase eclipse glasses only from reputable dealers. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has a list of reputable vendors on their website.