The Belton Journal

The Bell County Commissioners Court accepted the resignation of Justice of the Peace Pct. 3, Place 2 G.W. Ivey during their regular meeting Monday morning.
Ivey’s last day will be June 24. He is resigning after nine consecutive terms as the Justice of Peace, or nearly 36 years. Ivey did not run for re-election in March. During Monday’s meeting, he told the Commissioners that while he would no longer be a Justice of the Peace, he would continue being the city judge for the cities of Rogers and Troy, one day a month.
“We appreciate y’all’s working with us, and we appreciate the people backing us for 35 and a half years, and we just feel like it’s time for us to go do something different,” Ivey said. “We’re not going to get another job. We’re done on that part but thank y’all.”
“I just want to say thanks for your service also to the citizens of Bell County,” said County Judge David Blackburn. “I don’t that people fully realize- I know they don’t-fully realize what Justices of the Peace do in our community and across the state, but the number of hours you have to put in all times of the day and night, all across year, don’t know that that’s fully understood or fully appreciated, but again very much say thanks for your service to this county.”
The commissioners each thanked Ivey for his service as well.
The court then appointed Temple Police Sgt. Larry Wilkey to serve in Ivey’s vacated place and finish the unexpired term, which ends Jan. 1, 2023. He will then begin his full term in the position. Wilkey won the nomination in the Republican Primary and is unopposed in the November election. He will be retiring from his job at the Temple Police Department on June 23 and will take over for Ivey after Ivey’s last day of June 24.
Wilkey is expected to be sworn into his new position by Ivey himself, which he said would be a big honor.
Wilkey had nothing but praise for Ivey during Monday’s meeting.
“One word you can’t use is replace, because after nine terms he’ll never be replaced, but I will do the best I can and be a strong advocate for Bell County and do what I can for everybody,” Wilkey said.
The Commissioners also approved placing a county burn ban following a
recommendation by County Fire Marshal Chris Mahlstedt.
“I have been approached by a number of departments throughout the county asking when we’re going to have a burn ban to the point that that cities, even though they’re not affected by the burn ban, have stopped issuing burn permits within their jurisdictions just to limit the number of burning sites within their cities,” Mahlstedt said.
Mahlstedt shared that the Drought Index has gone up as well.
“It’s in the 500 to 600 range, is the average across the county,” Mahlstedt said. “The Moffat area is 600 to 700 already, so it’s pretty dry out that way, and as you know, we’ve already had two really large fires out there this year.”
Some areas of the county are showing four to 10 percent for 10-hour fuel moisture content percentages, while other are 11 to 25 percent. The preferred range in order to prescribed burns is six to 15 percent, with below six percent being too dry.
Temperatures are also expected to be in the triple digits for most of the week, Mahlstedt added.
Coryell, Burnet and Lampasas Counties continue to have their own county burn bans in place.
Bell County’s burn ban went into effect at 10 a.m. Monday morning and will remain in effect for 30 days, until July 11 at 10 a.m. The ban prohibits all outdoor burning in the county. Commissioners said they will continue to monitor the weather conditions each week.