Lights coming to Communication tower
During a Commissioners Court meeting on July 27, commissioners voted to engage in a contract with Lumen for maintenance and lights on the communication tower in Lott. The county has four towers total; one in Reisel, owned by Gene Brown, one in Reagan, one in Lott, and one in Rosebud.
The lights on the Lott tower have been out for a number of months. If not reported to the appropriate entities, there can be large fines attached to it. Falls County Road and Bridge has had constant contact throughout the process of them being down in order to prevent this. The lights that are out are still the original lights from the inception of the tower\.
The current Dallas-based maintenance company, Huffaman, is overwhelmed and has yet to be able to send someone to come down to fix them.
None of the other towers are tall enough to need the same lights, as they are less than 100 feet tall.
In lieu of waiting longer for repairs, the idea of engaging with a different company, Lumen, for new lights was presented at the July 13 meeting. Commissioners were receptive to the idea, but agreed that they needed more information in order to make a final decision.
On July 27, they were presented with the options of buying the equipment outright, leasing it, or leasing to own it.
To lease, the cost would be $239 per month plus a $10 data charge and a $59 maintenance charge. This would include any and all maintenance needed along the way.
The option of leasing to own comes with a $1 buyout at the end of a 60-month lease. Payments would be $329 per month, with the aforementioned additional fees and includes the same insurance policy. After the 60 months, insurance would be $79, along with the maintenance and data fees.
Buying it outright would cost $13,600 up front, followed by monthly fees of $148 for insurance, maintenance, and data.
“I would rather own it at the end than lease it out,” said Commissioners Milton Albright, citing that the total cost of the only leasing comes to $14,340.
The cost of leasing to own comes to $19,740, which is more than the cost of buying outright, but it was decided that with where the county budget is at right now, it would be more beneficial to choose the lease to own option.
The vote to go with that option was unanimous.
Sheriff and Constable fees
Fees for the Sheriff’s Department and Falls County Constables were brought before the commissioners to decide if there is an increase in order for the next fiscal year. They asked Falls County Sheriff Ricky Scaman for his opinion on the subject.
“I researched to see what other people charge and they are right about the same,” he said. “I think we could leave them the same.”
County Officials agreed that if that was the case, then they would. It was cited that there aren’t any delinquencies or trouble in receiving payment from any individuals, though the last time this was brought forth there were. Milton Albright made a motion to leave the fees as is, with Nita Wuebker seconding the motion. It passed unanimously.
In previous meetings, the idea of engaging in an agreement with an air ambulance service for full-county coverage for residents paid for by Falls County was presented. Both PHI Air Medical and AirMedCare have presented their options.
With PHI, no individual will receive a bill, as the company will cover all out-of-pocket costs. For those with insurance, any money received will be considered ‘paid in full.’ For those without insurance, all third party providers available will be bullied, but if there is not one available, all fees will be waived. Total cost for the county would be $43,240 annually, calculating $8 per household. This would be for transport within Falls county and within the surrounding ones; Bell, Milam, Robertson, Limestone, and McLennan.
AirMedCare has a similar system. For $64,985.33 annually, it would cover all county residents with insurance. Anyone without insurance would be billed at the ‘Medicare Allowable Rate.’ This is priced at about $12 per household and only covers transport picked up in Falls county. Both have the option of an upgrade to nationwide benefits for an additional fee.
Construction on the Jail and Sheriff’s Department are coming along nicely, expected to be completed in the near future. Additional bids are being waited on for the exterior walls of the jail, the damaged air conditioning units, and exhaust fans. Falls County Road and bridge is also awaiting bids for replacing the skylight within their building.
An application for road cuts was placed from OCI Solac LLC was approved. There will be four cuts, on CR 466A and CR 432. These will be used to connect sections of the solar project to one another using underground cables. These cuts will be in excess of 18’ in length.
New county-wide timesheets were approved.
A rape kit that was not processed in 2017 is neccessary for a current case and therefore needs to be processes. The Texas Department of Public Safety is refusing to process it because it was never submitted, so the county must seek private lab services. It was unanimously determined that the county would process a court order for DPS to process it and if they still refuse, Scaman is approved to seek outside services in the amount of $1,800 to $3,400.
Thor will be rejoining the Falls county Sheriff’s office for sure. The department is just waiting on one last signature, delayed due to personal reasons of his past family. The K9 is currently in FCSO custody.
Bills and Minutes were approved unanimously.