The Jasper County Commissioner’s Court on Monday officially passed a measure adopting a budget of $21,304,321 for the upcoming fiscal year, which is slightly more than the previous year budget of 21,135,169 and a tax rate of $.06591 per 100 dollars of property evaluation, resulting in no increased taxes for the upcoming year.
The unanimous vote came following a public hearing on the issue in which no one appeared, commented or asked questions.
County Judge Mark Allen said he was proud of the County and the fact it had met needs without fining it necessary to raise taxes.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Willy Stark also praised the County employees, department heads and others who he said had held a tight hand on spending and worked hard to avoid a tax increase.
In other business, the Commissioner’s Court voted to appoint Mike Kinnear of Jasper to the Board of Directors of the Jasper County Appraisal District. Kinnear, who had recently served on the appeals board will, replace Omarine Humble who decided to no longer serve.
If elected by the other entities Kinnear will join Chris Poole who represents the City of Jasper and the Jasper Independent School District, Jerry McEachern, who represents the Buna Independent School District, former Jasper County Judge Joe Folk, who represent the Kirbyville Consolidated School District, Johnny Gravis who represents the Evadale Schools along with Jasper County Tax Assessor-Collector Bobby Biscamp who serves as a non voting member.
In other action, the commissioners, after hearing a request by Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman, voted to move forward with the purchase of a computer and software to insure and record the monitoring of inmates within the Jasper County Jail. Newman said the system to be purchased from Ryan Technology at a cost of $58,000.00 would not only record when each prisoner was observed or check on but also notify supervisors when the routine checks were not being made. Newman said the money to pay for the equipment would come from profits made from the jail’s commissary account.
During his address, Newman told the commissioners that the County had received over $31,000.00 in the month of August from other entities for housing inmates. According to Newman, the totals included $17,880.00 from Newton County, $10,690 from Tyler County, $1,240.00 from Sabine County and $1,480.00 from the Texas Parole Fund.
On Monday, the commissioners also voted to extend the Emergency Declaration that was issued this year in connection with the floods that affected the area. The measure was brought forth by Jasper County Precinct 1 Commissioner Charles “Junior” Shofner , who said that there was still work to be done on ditch lines and drains.
Also on Monday, the commissioners voted to appoint or some cases reappoint several people to the Jasper-Newton County Long Term Recovery Group.
Those appointed or selected included: Charles Burchett, Karen Smith, Madge Jones, Connie Hughes, Rodney Norsworthy, Cathy Pearson, Danny Lewis, and Enrique Perez. Serving as Co-Executive Directors will be Billie Jordan and Sue Downing.