By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (February 8, 2016) — Commissioners handled a full agenda Monday, approving a number of housekeeping items as well as a well-rounded discussion of allowing fireworks sales in the county for Texas Independence Day (March 2).
Erath County Judge Tab Thompson presented a motion from the state for Texas Independence Day to be a day the county allows fireworks, thus allowing fireworks sales leading up to the holiday. County Fire Marshal Steve Cole told the commissioners, overall, the fireworks on Texas Independence Day is not a bad idea. However, Cole and County Fire Chief Chris Brooks both urged the commissioners to also consider the fire danger when allowing the sale and use of fireworks.
“Right now is a very dangerous time for us,” said Brooks. “While there is plenty of moisture in the trees and deep in the soil from recent rains, the grass and brush are dry, dry and we have been seeing quite a few fires recently. I would say the county needs to keep a close eye on the weather, the wind especially, when considering the sale of aerial fireworks or anything with fins.”
Brooks said in the last four days the departments haven’t faced as many fires as the six days before that in which he said the local departments answered calls for two to four fires a day, with at least one being a major fire. Cole also advised the county that the nearest county to Erath County with a burn ban at this time was Comanche County.
Considering all the possibilities and options, the commissioners approved the measure to allow the sale of fireworks in Erath County for Texas Independence Day beginning at midnight on February 25 and through midnight on March 2 of each year. However, the commissioners advised they will keep a close eye on the weather conditions and consider a burn ban at the next meeting.
Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant and Chief Deputy Jason Upshaw were on hand to present the court with reports on racial profiling and North Central Texas Council of Governments assistance. Bryant advised in the past year, just like in the years before, Erath County Sheriff’s Department has not received one complaint about racial profiling.
Upshaw asked the commissioners to approve a measure that would allow him to purchase replacement 911 voice recording equipment as the county’s current equipment is out of date. NCTCOG has agreed to reimburse the county for the cost, however, at the next meeting the commissioners will need to approve the transfer of funds from another account to cover the cost until the reimbursement. The Chief Deputy also advised NCTCOG wishes to place a tower for emergency communication on the county’s lot behind the jail. Upshaw said this was part of a larger plan to place similar towers across the area to aid in communication among emergency personnel in case it is needed. Commissioners approved both requests.
In other business, the commissioners approved a motion to abandoning a potential county road near County Road 509 which the county never took possession of, the preliminary plat for Lonesome Dove RV Park in Precinct 1, a contract with LogMeIn which is a company the county’s IT Department uses, permission for a road bore on County Road 148, exemption to the purchasing policy for Precinct 3 to purchase a used haul truck no more than $250,000, the Quarterly Investment Report, request to use FY16 to pay an FY15 invoice and others before adjuring to judges quarters to have a short county communications workshop.