By Devin Corbitt-Garcia, The Belton Journal
Last week, the commissioners approved an item that would reduce the county’s right-of-way participation costs from 10 percent to 3.8 percent on projects conducted with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) by placing Bell County in a 2016 Economically Disadvantaged County (EDC) Program. This week, the commissioners unanimously voted to receive a refund from TxDOT in the amount of $12,789.05 for right of way acquired on FM 1123 at Salado Creek in August. This designation will save the county 6.7 percent on future right of way projects.
During their first weekly meeting in November, the Bell County Commissioners Court got straight down to business with the abandonment and release of easements between two properties in the Hidden Springs Subdivision, located in Precinct 2. These properties were formerly plotted with utility easements along the dividing property line; however, the owner received letters from the utility company stating that they do not require an easement there. The county engineer also reported that the area did not have any drainage issues.
The court then conducted a public hearing for the relocation of yield signs at two intersections in Precinct 3. The first would move signs at Willow Grove and Southerland Road, and the second at Wedel Cemetery Road and Shaw Road. Hearing no comments, the commissioners approved the relocations unanimously.
The commissioners voted to allow the resale of a property currently entrusted to the City of Rogers. The property, which was delinquent on taxes, will be sold to the City of Harker Heights.
The county will provide two full-time social workers to the Metroplex Health System, subject to the county’s budget. These social workers—one of whom has a master’s degree and the other has a bachelor’s degree—will provide their services for indigent patients within Metroplex hospitals.
The annual Cafeteria Plan was unanimously approved, retroactively taking effect on Nov. 1 through Oct. 31, 2016. The commissioners also chose Hohnfeld Hoffer Stanford as the best architectural firm to perform design and other services on the upcoming renovations to the Bell County Expo Livestock/Equestrian and Multi-Purpose Exhibit Space.
Joe M. Liles will continue to cut and bail hay on a county property after the commissioners unanimously renewed his lease. Liles currently farms 68 acres on Landfill Road.
The county auditor will begin accepting bids for the electronic equipment recycling program for the county and for the sale of two CAT M3 Motor Graders. For more information, call (254) 933-5115.
The Killeen Annex will receive energy upgrades by replacing all mechanical systems and lighting. HTS Texas Services will perform the upgrades at a cost of $504,256 to the county.
“All three facilities will get LED lighting retrofit and new fixtures, and the main annex is getting a new air cool chiller and separate units for the judges courtrooms,” Joe Latteo, Contract Manager for the County, said. “This is a total energy upgrade for overall with an ROI (return on investment) of about eight years, but it’s going to be a 20-30 percent savings per year in energy.”
To wrap up the meeting, the commissioners agreed to purchase two new Caterpillar 140M3 Motor Graders from Holt Cat through their buyback program at a total cost of $553,761.38. They also approved the sale of two 2013 Caterpillar 140M2 Motor Graders for a total of $415,000 as part of their buyback agreement with Holt Cat.
The Commissioners Court will reconvene Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. in the Bell County Courthouse.