Billing question leads to review of bulletproof vest purchases

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Questions arose during Monday’s meeting of county commissioners concerning a purchase of bullet-proof vests for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

While reviewing a list of bills received by the county, Johnny Gee, Precinct 2 Commissioner, questioned a $12,480 payment to GT Distributors for the purchase of “ballistics vests.”

Sheriff Kenny Lemons said the bill is for the purchase of 16 bullet-proof vests approved by commissioners in the months of January and March, a portion of which will be reimbursed through a federal grant.

On Jan. 14, Commissioners approved a request from Lemons to seek a $3,700 grant through the U.S. Department of Justice for the purchase of bullet-proof vests. Lemons purchased four vests through the grant, of which Clay County is required to pay half.

During the January meeting, commissioners did not specify the number of vest to be purchased.

March 25, commissioners approved the purchase of 14 vests to replace vests which Lemons said had expired. The sheriff has applied for a DOJ grant to cover 50 percent of the cost. In Monday’s meeting, Lemons said 12 vests had been purchased.

An inter-local agreement between Clay and Lubbock counties was approved. It is the last step in joining the regional public defenders group for capital murder cases. Commissioners compared membership in the group to an insurance policy.

Membership is free for the first year. The county will pay $3,582 in the second year, $4,776 the third year, $7,165 in the fourth year and $9,553 in the fifth year. Membership fees are $11,941 for each year after.

Commissioners approved membership on June 10. The regional public defenders’ office  save the county as much as $1 million should a capital murder case go to trial.

Commissioners postponed two agenda items concerning a wind energy company with interests in southwest Clay County. Horn Wind of Windthorst are requesting one-year extensions to tax abatement agreements with the county for the South Clay Wind Farm and Shannon No. 1 Wind Farm sites. The requests will be considered July 8.

Commissioners also:

  • Approved a request by Precinct 1 Commissioner Lindy Choate to go out for fuel and rock bids.
  • Issued a burn ban order.
  • Discussed the trade of forfeited firearms by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office to an online distributor of law enforcement equipment for in-store credit. See related story.
  • Approved the annual agreement between Clay County and the Helen Farabee Center for behavioral health services. Clay County will pay $2,900. It is one of 18 counties funding the center. The annual rate is based on the county’s population.
  • Approved a resolution giving County Judge Kenneth Liggett authorization to execute Juvenile Justice grants on behalf of Clay County.
  • Recorded in the court minutes the reappointment of Ramona Seward for a two-year term as county auditor by 97th District Judge Jack McGaughey.
  • Approved the release of two securities from Legend Bank totaling $3.36 million, as well as the pledge of a security by Legend Bank for $377,481.40.
  • Deemed a Canon typewriter as salvage, as requested by Justice of the Peace John Swenson.
  • Approved the treasurer’s affidavit for the month of May.
  • Approved payroll and all bills related to Clay County and Clay County Memorial Hospital.

Commissioners spent the remainder of Monday morning and all of Monday afternoon in budget sessions.

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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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