By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – In a relatively short Houston County Commissioners Court meeting held on Tuesday, April 11, proclamations took center stage.

Clayton Starr, President of the Athens Chapter of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, led off the proclamation parade and read the first part of the document proclaiming April 21 as San Jacinto Day.

“The Battle of San Jacinto commenced at 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of April 21, 1836 in what is presently Harris County, Texas and was the decisive battle of the Texas War of Independence,” he said.

“Led by General Sam Houston, marching into battle to the tune of ‘Will You Come with Me to the Bower’ and shouts of ‘Remember the Alamo’ and ‘Remember Goliad,’ the Texians engaged and defeated Mexican dictator General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s forces in a battle that lasted only 18 minutes. This victory assured and resulted in an independent Republic which nine years later became the 26th state in the United States of America,” Starr said.

Before the proclamation for San Jacinto Day was adopted, the court also proclaimed the month of April as County Government month.

“I have been involved with Houston County government now for four months. It is an honor to be able to be here and work side-by-side with our county commissioners. County government works best when we work together. This county does and I appreciate that. I am honored to be a part of Houston County government,” County Judge Jim Lovell commented.

The final proclamation adopted by the court declared April as Fair Housing month.

County Attorney Daphne Session said this was an annual event and was part of the Fair Housing Activity Statement – Texas (FHAST) for funding through DETCOG.

“This basically was started by lawsuits many, many years ago that finally got resolved in 2013 or 2014 and had to do with segregation in housing,” the county attorney said.

Prior to the proclamations, County Court-at-Law Judge Sarah T. Clark addressed the court about setting the annual salary of the official court reporter of the county court-at-law.

“That spot has been empty for a while and that salary is still low for a court reporter. I know I have come to you several times (seeking a salary increase) but I’m going to keep it at that with this person. She has agreed to accept the position at that salary, but it is difficult to find someone for that position,” Judge Clark said.

The new court reporter is named Jennifer Aulds and her starting salary has been set at $51,000.

In other matters brought before the court:

  • The previous meetings’ minutes and the payment of bills accrued by the county were approved.
  • Line item budget amendments were approved by the court.
  • The Environmental Report was received as information by the commissioners.
  • The court approved the salary for a new Houston County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) jailer.
  • The commissioners approved a request to the State Comptroller of Texas for a refund of unclaimed funds from electric cooperatives in accordance with Section 381.004 of the Texas Local Government Code.

The Houston County Commissioners Court normally meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 10:00 a.m. in the County Courthouse Annex. The public is welcome and invited to attend.

Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.