Johnson County commissioners always dress in business attire for their semimonthly sessions. Now all newly hired deputies at the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will be looking sharp, too.
Commissioners Monday supported a request by Sheriff Adam King to amend the sheriff’s office budget by creating a new line item of $2,000 per year to purchase two shirts and two pairs of pants for first-time hires.
“I think we should purchase the first two sets, but only for newly hired deputies,” King said. “Otherwise, their uniform allowance is in their first check, and they don’t receive it for two weeks. That can be a hardship for the new deputies.”
Many first-time deputies have been attending police academy at their own expense and have not received a pay check for six months or more, King said.
“A candidate must be certified before we will hire him or her,” King said.
Sheriff’s Office uniform shirts cost $60-$70, pants about $30, police-grade boots are $200 and a hat is $200, King said.
“Each deputy has a $600 annual uniform allowance, but it’s easy to ruin two or three uniforms per year in the line of duty because of tears and stains,” King said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Rick Bailey made the motion to approve King’s request. The motion was seconded by Precinct 3 Commissioner Jerry Stringer and supported unanimously.
In the new business portion of the agenda, commissioners agreed with Johnson County Economic Development Commission Director Diana Miller that a tax abatement for a Burleson development called “Project Southwest” should be given a new start date.
All parties involved with the recruitment of the company, the accompanying tax abatement and other incentives have signed non-disclosure agreements that prevent revealing the company’s name at this time, Miller said.
The governor’s office will be making the announcement because the state economic development office was instrumental in bringing the company to Burleson, Miller said.
The company or organization behind the project has not been identified. The project received a $40 million tax abatement in 2016, but Miller asked that the abatement period not begin until Jan. 1, 2020, because the project is behind schedule.
“The project will bring 150 new jobs to the Burleson area,” Miller said. “The governor will be announcing the company name at the appropriate time.”
The Burleson City Council already approved the new time period, Miller said.
“The land has been purchased and they’re ready to go,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Kenny Howell said as he made the motion to approve the new date. Precinct 4 Commissioner Larry Woolley seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
In other new business, commissioners approved a letter of engagement with the Houston-based accounting firm of Kennemer, Masters & Lundsford to perform audits on the county auditor’s office and the county juvenile justice department.
Also under new business, commissioners delayed until June 12 action on a proposal by Everest Construction Group to work on the handicap ramp at the Johnson County Courthouse. Everest is asking for $89,000 to correct the slope on the ramp the Texas Historical Commission considers too steep.
An inspector from the THC is threatening to fine the county if the slope isn’t corrected, County Judge Roger Harmon said.
“I spoke with a representative of the THC last week in Beaumont and he thinks the county can receive an exemption on the slope,” Harmon said.
County Purchasing Agent Ralph McBroom said the work must be put out for bid.
Harmon will gather more information and report to the court in two weeks, he said.
In the final item under new business, commissioners appointed Nita Redmon of Grandview to the Johnson County Historical Commission.
During the announcements and presentations portion of the agenda, commissioners declared May 26-31 as Memorial Poppy Days in the county and encouraged residents to wear a poppy, “as mute evidence of gratitude to the men and women of this country who have risked their lives in defense of the freedoms which we continue to enjoy as American citizens,” the proclamation read.
Commissioners posed for a photo along with Marty and Ken Peters, of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Texas, who distributed poppies to commissioners and the audience.
“The poppy has become a world-wide known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is a symbol of hope for all veterans who served this great country through military service. Each year, nation-wide, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of bright red crepe paper poppies in exchange for contributions to assist military families, disabled and hospitalized veterans,” the proclamation read.
The next scheduled meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners Court will be 9 a.m. Monday, June 12, in Room 201 of the County Courthouse in Cleburne.