Records management plan approved

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By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

County Clerk Sasha Kelton got the go-ahead from Clay County’s governing body to continue with the office’s records preservation plan when commissioners approved a $5 archive fee Monday.

The $16 rate to file a record in the office is divided among four categories in the clerk’s budget. A $5 recording fee is assessed, along with $5 for records management and the $5 archive fee. The courthouse security fund gets $1 from each record filed. The records management fee and records preservation fee must be used in ways to preserve or digitize records, many of which must be kept through eternity.

“The funds are limited and if depleted, will take years to build up again,” said Kelton. “Some of the funds are shared among one or more other offices, which also collect fees.”

Those offices include the county judge, county attorney, justice of the peace and district clerk.

The clerk’s office has been working with third party companies to come up with system for backing up records, and storing the copies off site in case of a disaster. In March, the office began applying for grants to help with the cost of backing up and digitizing records and commissioners have approved the purchase of two software systems which will provide disaster recovery, court management and the digitization of land and vital records.

Kelton said the goal for this year is to implement the software, begin scanning documents and create an electronic index.

Commissioners approved contingency funding for maintenance of the county’s 911 system software through the Vista Com company at a cost of $2,400, or $200 per month in fiscal year 2012. For the last several years, NorTex paid for the software with state funds, but funding was cut by the 82nd Texas Legislature.

Judge Kenneth Liggett referred to it as an “unfunded mandate” from the state because the law requires the county county to offer the 911 system, and said it may be one of many to come down the line after state budget cuts.

Commissioners also approved a funding agreement for the maintenance for the Automated Victim Notification System used by the sheriff’s office. The system is paid for through a grant, but payment is required upfront before the cant can be received. The estimated $5,843 cost for the system will come from the county’s “grants in-grant’s out” budget, and will be reimbursed. The agreement is between the county and the Office of the Texas Attorney General.

Commissioners chose not to move forward with a Historic Courthouse Grant application through the Texas Historical Commission, at least not this year.

Liggett had recently spoke with the Williams Company architecture firm, which did the original study of the courthouse more than a decade ago, about reviving the county’s effort to take part in the THC’s courthouse restoration program. The Williams Company offered a two prong approach, which included coming to Henrietta and revising its original study then applying for a grant just large enough to cover the architectural services.

Although the plan would not earn a grant large enough to pay for the restoration, it would, if conducted within a year of applying for the grant for full restoration, earn the county points toward receiving the funds. The judge said the 1884 courthouse is already near the top of the list due to its age.

“I don’t think we can do anything until we get this annex paid for and get some money coming in,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Lindy Choate.

A new inspection and any revisions required would have cost the county $3,160.

Executing a long agenda, commissioners also:

  • Extended the county burn ban.
  • Tabled the consideration and approval of the updated personnel manual until the next meeting.
  • Took no action on a request to close a portion of Coody Lane near Shannon.
  • Approved the release of a pledge in the amount of $1.209 million from Legend Bank due to maturity.
  • Approved the renewal notice and benefit confirmation of the Texas Association of Counties Employee Benefits Pool. The county pays $819.12 for health insurance for each employee, While employees pay an additional $1,100 per month to cover their families. Benefits include a $250 deductible, $75 hospital copay and a prescription card.
  • Approved authorization to maintain the Texas County and District Retirement System Plan Provisions for 2012. Rates for the county retirement plan will stay the same at 1.4 percent. County employees pay 7 percent into retirement, while the county matches 11 percent.
  • Approved a request to act as a receiving agent for a grant applied for by the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce. The funds will benefit the chamber’s Clay County Christmas project.
  • Approved a request by Burns Ranch to cross Old Joy-Shannon Road with a water line to water cattle. Fees for the road crossing were waived due to the drought.
  • Approved an all-inclusive service agreement with High Tech Office Systems for a copier at the Clay County Extension Office and one in the annex mail room for an annual fee of $375 each.
  • Approved a letter of understanding between Clay County and Rutledge, Crain and Company for annual outside auditor services at a cost not to exceed $22,175.
  • Approved Clay County’s portion, $20,857.57, of the 97th District Court Reporter’s salary as requested by District Judge Roger Towery. Clay County pays 28 percent of the salary, with Montague and Archer counties making up the remainder.
  • Approved a contract with Petrolia ISD for the use of one Automark voter assist terminal during the district’s upcoming tax ratification election.
  • Approved the annual, non-financial Child Welfare Services Contract with the Texas State Department of Family and Protective Services.
  • Approved a retainer agreement between Clay County and Allison, Bass and Associates law firm for county road disputes.

Commissioners approved an agreement with FEMA stating the county would reimburse fire departments from neighboring counties that responded to mutual aid requests during wildfires. Reimbursements are only required on fires declared a disaster by the federal government, on which the county would receive funds from FEMA.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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