By Greg Ritchie
HOUSTON COUNTY – Houston County Commissioners met to conduct business and to hold a public meeting regarding support to new businesses in the county.
The public hearing and related amendments were to work in concert with the City of Crockett on creating, “Reinvestment Zone Number One,” after Crockett city council adopted a similar measure. The hearing also covered tax abatements for A&A Texas Capital and Stealth Vision, two newcomers to the Crockett area.
Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein was present to present the city’s plan to the commissioners to ensure the two bodies agreed on the zone and the tax abatements offered to the two companies and the obligations the two companies have made in terms of construction plans and generating new jobs.
There was no one from the public to speak for or against the measures, which outlined the boundaries of the new business facilities and their commitments. The county and city are making decisive offers to keep attract new businesses to the area, although there can be stiff fines if the businesses do not live up to their commitments, including repaying of all taxes without abatements and in some cases, return of property to the county or city. The commissioners approved these measures.
The court took up the transferring of Sheriff’s Deputy Kasey Ballard from part-time to full-time. Ballard had recently moved to a full-time schedule in order to work for Grapeland ISD, returning now to full-time at the Houston County Sheriff’s Office. The commissioners approved this measure, but decided in the future to clarify the terms and payout conditions for employees who left the office before their commitment had been concluded. Ballard was one of the candidates whose training in law enforcement was paid for by the county, in lieu of their staying at their positions for a certain amount of time. This is a common practice, especially in police and sheriff’s departments, which helps local agencies retain qualified officers in return for supporting their certification to work in law enforcement.
The commissioners also approved:
- Transfers and hiring of new positions in the elections administration, sheriff’s office, county clerk’s office, county attorney’s office and tax assessor’s department.
- A request from the sheriff’s office to rescue an older vehicle set to be regarded as surplus the office will repair and use for certain tasks.
- An agreement with the Downtown Crockett Association to fund the Christmas Lighting Project in downtown Crockett.
- Use of HOT (hotel occupancy tax) funds for Piney Woods Fine Arts Association for two upcoming shows: Neal McCoy on Nov. 17 and Dallas String Quartet Christmas Show Dec. 14.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]