Knives banned from Guinn Justice Center
Anyone who plays a quick game of Dungeons and Dragons outside the Guinn Justice Center will have to remove their knives and swords before entering the building.
Johnson County commissioners decided Monday that all swords, spears, daggers, sabers, Bowie knives and machetes with blades longer than 5.5 inches are prohibited at the GJC and all Justice of the Peace courtrooms.
In August, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that took effect Sept. 1 allowing citizens to openly carry knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches except in schools, prisons, hospitals, amusement parks or places of worship. Long blades are still banned at sporting events.
As of Monday, they will be confi scated at the entrances of the Guinn Justice Center and Justice of the Peace courtrooms.
They will be kept at the entrance until the owner leaves the building.
Commissioners also conducted the second public hearing on the proposed county tax for 2017-2018. No one was present to address the issue.
On Aug. 14, commissioners proposed a tax rate that is two cents higher than last year. Commissioners set the ad valorem (property) tax rate at 0.47200 — or 47 cents — per $100 valuation.
The tax rate is the total of a maintenance and operation tax of .406872 cents, a debt rate of .034828, and precinct farm to market lateral road rate of .030300, County Auditor J.R. “Kirk” Kirkpatrick said.
The rate and budget will be voted on at 9 a.m. Sept. 18, in Room 201 of the Johnson County Courthouse.
That meeting will also take the place of the regularly scheduled commissioners meeting of Sept. 25, which is being rescheduled to Sept. 18.
In another schedule change, the regularly scheduled meeting of Oct. 9 will be held Friday, Oct. 13.
In the unfinished business portion of the agenda, Jeremy Smith, representing SEDALCO Construction Company of Fort Worth, the firm that build the new jail and is working on renovations at the old jail, told commissioners renovation work is ahead of schedule.
It was work at the new jail, however, that concerned County Judge Roger Harmon.
“There is a stress crack at the new jail that happened one year ago,” Harmon said. “It was patched and I was never notified. We spent $19 million on the jail and it bothers me I was not notifi ed. I recommend we not accept any patch.”
Precinct 1 Commissioner Rick Bailey agreed.
“We need to fi x it now, not a band-aid,” Bailey said. “I was told it was patched with silicone and painted over.”
The crack was patched according to standard procedure and the structural engineer presented a letter as to what was done to correct the problem, Smith said.
“It’s a stress crack of an interior fi ve-foot wall in the booking area,” Smith said, adding he would evaluate the situation and fi x it correctly.
In the new business portion of the agenda, commissioners approved a budget amendment for $122,060, for purchase of land in concert with TxDOT for a highway loop near Cresson.
Harmon said because the county is classifi ed as “disadvantaged,” it is only paying 4.6 percent of the cost for acquisition of right-of-way instead of the usual 10 percent charged by TxDOT.
Commissioners also approved a grant of $51,000 from Texas Department of Agriculture to provide home-delivered meals provided by Meals On Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties.
Also under new business, commissioners appointed Ramona and Richard Ingram of Keene to the Johnson County Historical Commission.
During a ceremony to open the meeting, commissioners were joined by Marty and Ken Peters and Susan Reese of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion, and Katheryn Fasci, Johnson County Veterans Service Officer, in the releasing of balloons on the courthouse steps in memory of American military members who are prisoners of war or are missing in action.
Harmon declared Sept. 15 as POW-MIA Remembrance Day. Commissioners also proclaimed Monday as 9/11 Remembrance Day in honor of the victims of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Harmon spoke to America’s response to 9/11 and the recent natural disasters in South Texas and Florida. “There is no other country greater than the United States of America,” he said. “We will rise to any occasion and we have a true leader: Our Heavenly Father."
IN THE PHOTO: Johnson County Commissioners, elected offi cials and representatives of the American Legion Auxiliary release balloons on the steps of the Johnson County Courthouse Monday in remembrance
of American Military Prisoners of War and those missing in action. Commissioners declared Sept. 15 as POW-MIA Remembrance Day. BURLESON STAR/PAUL GNADT