Commissioners consider replacement for Precinct 4 Constable Chad Jones

The Kaufman County commissioners heard from Assistant DA Rebecca Lundberg about county policy regarding the replacement of Constable Chad Jones, who passed away while on duty last month. In the meantime Vanessa Brooks will conduct the office’s affairs.

During last week’s meeting of the Kaufman County Commissioners Court, Kaufman County commissioners reviewed the policy for appointing a replacement for a county constable following the sudden death of Precinct 4 constable Chad Jones.

Assistant DA Rebecca Lundberg ran down the procedure which has no timetable as long as it is carried out before the next election, which will take place in 2020. The commissioners may field applicants as long as they reside in precinct 4 and meet age and education requirements. If the commissioners to make an appointment, the individual would still need to run for re-election in 2020.

In the meantime, the commissioners approved the motion to allow Chief Deputy Vanessa Brooks to conduct the affairs of the precinct 4 constable’s office until either the next election or the commissioners appoint someone to the position. If the commissioners choose not to appoint anyone, the 2020 election will be for the vacant seat.

Kaufman County Sheriff Bryan Beavers was on hand to deliver his monthly report and noted that over the last several weeks, the county jail had become dangerously close to filling its maximum capacity.

“The big thing I’ve been dealing with this week is our jail population is really up,” Beavers said. “We hit 480 at one point and only had two beds left. So we’re having to turn a few federal inmates back. I met with the court coordinators yesterday trying to figure out what process is lagging down. At this point I don’t know if it’s courts, if it’s agencies not turning in their report on OMV arrests, so what I’m trying to do at this point is isolate that out and move people on.

The commissioners also approved multiple variances for Windmill Farms Phase 6B along with its preliminary plat as well as the preliminary plat for Anabell Acres, which will be a 13-lot subdivision in precinct 1 located off of County Road 110.

The court approved the of contract for food services for county inmates to Five Star Correctional Services, who has already been contracted with the county for a number of years. The new contract will last for two years initially and allows for renewal for up to four years.

Each of the four commissioners also presented their annual road reports for 2019-2020, all of which were approved contingent on Commissioner Barber’s signing of an affidavit for precinct 3. As the newest commissioner, precinct 4’s Ken Cates provided some insight into his process for evaluating the roads in his precinct.

“We spent a lot of time this year reaffirming everything about our road report from readjusting some of the distances, making specific evaluations about some of our bridges and culverts, particularly because we’ve been so inundated with bad weather this Spring and early Summer,” Cates said. “We believe this road report is better reflective of the pretty sorry conditions of precinct 4’s roads than ever before.”

Related to roads, the commissioners addressed an issue in precinct 3 where residents have noticed several 18-wheelers parking on the recently rebuilt Rodeo Drive at the intersection with Denim Drive. The commissioners approved the placement of “No Parking Zone” signs in the area to deter further misuse of the road.

“Of course, people have been complaining about that and it’s been destroying our road,” commissioner Barber said.

The commissioners also approved the application for structural repairs for multiple dams in precinct 4 from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board.

The board had given the commissioners two options for addressing the aging dams, the cheaper of the two involving repairs with the more expensive option involving significant upgrades that would increase the lifespan of the dams for 50 years. However, the upgrade option was significant pricier and would require a 5 percent match from the county while the repair option was cheaper and required a much lower 1.75 percent match.

“My suggestion is that we go with the option that would require the least amount of match on our part and not worry too much about the 50-year extension of life,” County Judge Hal Richards said. “There is some possibility that they might change and give us the same match for doing the upgrade, which we could select later.”

While all of the commissioners agreed with Richards’ suggestion and made a unanimous vote to apply for the cheaper option, commissioner Cates did reiterate the importance of dam maintenance for the area.

“These are the flood control dams,” Cates said. “They had a 50-year shelf life which they’ve far-exceeded now. We met with them and discussed the possibility of eliminating a couple of these dams, and that’s just not a practical solution. These really are needed repairs.”

“It’s a public safety issue,” Richards agreed. “And I think we need to maintain the dams to make sure we don’t have a breach or something.”

During the meeting, the commissioners also, approved a memorandum of understanding with Carevide for inmates at medicaid rates to cut down on emergency room visits. 

Approved an additional credit card for the Sheriff’s Department for transport officers and travel expenses. Approved the preservation of the records archival phase C as presented by Kofile utilizing an interlocal agreement between Dallas County and Kaufman County joining Dallas County for restoration, preservation and repair services of historical books and other records pursuant to Dallas County’s contract with Kofile Technologies and the signing of a court order. 

The commissioners accepted the 2018 Kaufman County annual financial statement.

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