Commissioners Court

The Liberty County Commissioners met in its regular meeting yesterday morning (September 8th) Liberty County Judge Jay Knight and Commissioners Bruce Karbowski and Greg Arthur were present in the chambers, while Commissioners James ‘Boo” Reaves and Leon Wilson attended via zoom. There were 21 agenda items, with 3 items generating the most discussion. The first hot item was to consider and approve hazard pay to employees who worked during the pandemic, other than elected officials.. Judge Knight repeated what he has said every time this item has been brought before commissioners.  Quote- “Once you open that can of worms, you can’t put them back” End quote.  This is in reference to when Sheriff Bobby Rader asked for and received commissioners approval to pay his employees hazard duty pay for working during the pandemic. Pct. #4 Commissioner Wilson moved to approve the pay, however the motion died for lack of a second. The second hot item was to approve payment to Colony Ridge subdivision under what’s known as the 381 agreement with Liberty County for 2019.  A 381 agreement is a means of rebating property taxes, for a set period of time,  to help the developer recoup some of the expenses of providing facilities that the county could use.  In short it is a means for economic development. In the case of this 381 agreement, the building of a Liberty County Sheriffs Department Precinct building in Colony Ridge, this would serve that development as well as the city of Plum Grove. The plans also include a space for Precinct 5 Constables office and, at a later date, some branch county offices as well, but that would come later maybe even years later.  Judge Knight pointed out that there are some misunderstandings of a 381 agreement.  The first is that everybody pays, which Knight pointed out is not correct. Then another is a 381 agreement never goes away. Judge knight pointed out is also not correct.  That  381 agreement for Colony Ridge subdivision passed by unanimous vote. The third item of major interest was to consider and approve expanding emergency ambulance service agreement with Liberty County EMS. County Attorney Matthew Poston pointed out that, like many other businesses, Liberty County EMS has not had as  much business or as many runs during the same period of time as in previous years.  That also appears to be due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  Liberty County Attorney Matthew Poston mentioned that some hospitals are also feeling the same pressures out of fear of Covid 19 and visits to the hospitals are fewer and fewer. Pct. #1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski asked Mr. Poston if the commissioners did not agree to approve the new expanded service agreement, could it cause a loss of this service altogether for the citizens of rural Liberty County. County Attorney Matthew Poston said it could. The measure calls for a yearly increase of payment to Liberty County EMS of some 400,000 dollars.  The agreement to expand the agreement was approved by unanimous vote.

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