CCSO suspected of shorting city for contracted police protection; county discusses dozer service contract for large wildfires

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The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is once again under the scrutiny of county and city officials after it was discovered in late October that the CCSO might have fallen short of its contracted duties.

The City of Henrietta contracts with the county for police services within the city limits. The contract requires that a deputy be posted within the city limits 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or 720 hours in a 30-day month, and 744 hours in a 31-day month.

Full time coverage of Henrietta comes at a cost of more than $300,000 to the city.

An analysis of the hours put in by city deputies in the last year, from Oct. 1, 2011-Sept. 31, 2012, was presented to commissioners during Wednesday’s special session.

According to the analysis, the CCSO has failed to provide coverage to the city of Henrietta for 267.5 hours in the last year, and met it obligation in only one month, in November 2011. The CCSO’s obligation to the city fell short by as little as one hour in March, to as much as 61 hours in August.

On Monday, City Administrator Kelley Bloodworth said she is looking into the shortage of hours and the issue will be presented at the Henrietta City Council meeting Nov. 12.

During Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners also discussed an offer from Jackson Construction of Jacksboro to provide dozer service during large wildfires.

Commissioners emphasized that if the county decides to move forward with using the company, the call would be a last resort, and local operators would get the first call.

Jackson Construction specializes in fire suppression and is under contract to the Texas Forest Service and U.S. Forest Service, said County Judge Kenneth Liggett. The judge also said that the company’s prices a high compared to local operators, but within the limits for FEMA reimbursement. The company charges $1,400 for a 12-hour minimum.

Jackson requires its operators to wear protective gear and has radios programed to TFS channels. Each dozer deployed by Jackson Construction has a two-man crew, a dozer operator and a man on foot to direct the operator. The dozers have lights and can operate 24 hours a day with crews rotating out.

The company carries a $5 million insurance policy, while Clay County requires operators to carry $250,000.

The option to use Jackson Construction will be on the Nov. 12 agenda.

In other business, commissioners:

Accepted a $12,789 credit from the county’s health insurance plan provided by the Texas Association of Counties. Commissioners chose to add an additional $279 to the amount, allowing the county to deposit an even $13,000 into its retirement system.

Ratified a 115 waiver for Clay County Memorial Hospital. The waiver, called a Certificate of Government Entity for Hospital Affiliates, states that Clay County will be responsible for prescriptions and preventative care.

Ratified an indigent care affiliation agreement between CCMH and United Regional Health Care System of Wichita Falls.

Accepted the donation of three laptop computers from Lubbock County to the office of Clay County Emergency Management Coordinator.

Approved a resolution concerning the indigent defense fund.

Tabled a service agreement from Pitney Bowles for a postage machine because another company has asked to submit a bid.

Accepted a bid of $100 on three lots located in south Henrietta from Boy Scout Troop 91 to be used in addition to a donated property from the construction of a troop hut. The City of Henrietta and Henrietta ISD must also accept the bid.

Determined that the job of invoicing the state for the sheriff’s office VINE system, an automated system that notifies crime victims of the custody status of offenders, should remain with County Treasurer Alexander. The system costs $5,551 quarterly and is paid for through grant funds, which go to the state.

Commissioners set a special session to canvas votes cast in the general election for Nov. 19.

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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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