By Teresa Holloway
ANDERSON COUNTY – In the brief Oct. 17 regular meeting of the Anderson County Commissioners, the unbudgeted overtime for Anderson County Sheriff’s Office jail employees was bridged with an approved line item transfer of monies in the existing ACSO budget.
According to Sheriff Greg Taylor, the money was already in the sheriff’s office budget and did not come from other county funds. Taylor was pleased to report only 180 inmates were currently housed in the jail, down from the overtime-chomping 192 or more so common of late.
In state related county business, the East Texas Housing Finance Corporation (ETHFC) is appointing two members for the Board of Directors.
The ETHFC receives housing funds through statewide bond issuances which allows the corporation to offer low-interest rate mortgage loans, down payment assistance and mortgage credit certificates to qualifying county residents.
Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston volunteered to serve on the board, along with Precinct 3 Commissioner Kenneth Dickson. The two will serve the six year mandated term.
Court approval was given for Resolution R28-2016 permitting the purchase of two acres on ACR 2110 by Jeff Jeffcoat. The price was agreed upon at $8,500. The lots were sold by Elkhart ISD to recover back taxes.
The county’s Indigent Defense Grant Program application was approved. The annual grant will reimburse a percentage of the county’s state mandated Indigent Defense Program expenses.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Rashad Q. Mims, approved by the Court, entered into a land use agreement with Ben Baker. Precinct 2 will use approximately 30 acres of Baker’s land to stockpile road materials and debris from county roads.
The county will pay Baker $100 per tanker of oil per year and $3.00 per yard of materials stored.
The Commissioners approved the Tax Abatement Guidelines for Palestine and Anderson County. The guidelines are inclusive of eligibility criteria, ineligibility criteria and economic, employment and environmental factors.
Among the standard eligible abatement authorizations are manufacturing groups which fall into the ‘Major’ category, transportation in the same category and utility groups under the Major category.
Businesses which create new value may be granted abatement for the eligible property improvements made subsequently to, and specified in, an abatement agreement between the county or city and the property owner or lessee, subject to such limitations as the county or city may require.
Abatements may be granted for new facilities and improvements to existing facilities for purposes of modernization or expansion. Most fixed property related to business can be eligible for abatements, though moveable assets typically are not.
A few of the standards for tax abatement are the value of existing improvements, if any; the type and value of proposed improvements, the expected economic life of the proposed improvements, the number and type of permanent new jobs, local payroll to be created or enhanced, local sales taxes to be generated and other criteria.
The Commissioners also approved the $20,000 grant for Texas Veteran’s assistance through the Palestine Office. The Veterans assistance officers use the grant to keep the office open and provide two personnel to assist incoming veterans.
The grant also provides funds for qualified veterans needing emergency assistance with items such as car repair, rent or mortgage payments, medicines, day care assistance, utilities or other qualifying urgent needs.
By Teresa Holloway