By Matt Kelton
After a month of discussions, commissioners decided Monday not to “put a Band-Aid” on problems with the backup generator at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office after receiving a proposal for electrical work that exceeded estimates.
The issue stems from Pioneer Reunion weekend thunderstorms that caused a power outage in Henrietta. When the sheriff’s office and jail lost power during the Sept. 17 storm, the CCSO’s backup generator did not start. Power was out for a little more than one hour, a violation of rules set forth by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
As a temporary fix, commissioners asked Sheriff Kenny Lemons to come up with a way to use a portable generator, owned by Nortex and housed in the county, as a backup incase a similar situation arises. Lemons presented his findings during Monday’s meeting.
Commissioners nixed the project by taking no action due to its $4,628 cost for a temporary fix when the main backup requires replacement. County Judge Kenneth Liggett said that because the portable generator belongs to Nortex, it might not always be available to the CCSO.
After reviewing the, the commissioners instead considered allowing for replacement of the generator in next year’s budget. While the current generator is in working order, it has become outdated to the point that parts are hard to find, and a new machine will require less maintenance, said Precinct 2 Commissioner Johnny Gee. The diesel generator will be replaced with one that runs on natural gas and will not require refueling, said Lemons.
The sheriff’s office generator is original to the facility, constructed in 1990. Lemons said the fencing around the generator would not meet today’s jail standards except that it is grandfathered in by meeting earlier requirements.
A new generator is estimated to cost more than $75,000.
In other business, commissioners:
- Approved the appointment of Jeff Pierce of Henrietta to the Clay County Memorial Hospital Board of Managers for a term of two years. Pierce replaces Martha Poyner of Petrolia. Commissioners accepted her resignation.
- Approved three new members to the Clay County Historical Commission as submitted by CCHC Chairman Peggy Shepherd. Judy Davidson, Carma Healer and Glen Gonzenbach, all of Henrietta, will replace Bence Brown, Katie Parkey and Betty Blackmore, who resigned for various reasons.
- Approved expenditures from the sheriff’s seizure fund in the amount of $5,100.
- Approved a resolution authorizing application for the county’s participation in the Hog Out county grants program.
- Adopted the revised holiday schedule for county employees after an oversight was discovered, placing the Pioneer Reunion holiday on Sept. 14 instead of Sept. 21.
Commissioners took no action on reinstating a burn ban, though Liggett warned that dryer winter months are fast approaching.
“Each day, they’re giving us more and more warning,” said Liggett, “So. Keep it under consideration.”