Hempstead County Quorum Court

The Hempstead County Quorum Court held their regularly monthly meeting on Thursday. Due to the absence of County Judge Jerry Crane, JP Ed Darling was designated to lead the meeting.

Under old business the JP’s discuss the proposed update of employee handbooks. JP James Griffin said the proposed books are being checked and another committee meeting is needed. He suggested it be tabled until July and the Quorum Court agreed.

JP Steve Atchley gave an update on the status of the new courthouse. He noted demolition should be compete this week. He noted work has been continuing on the fire suppression system. Atchley also noted all carpet, tile, and the fountain has been removed. A change order has been ordered for some work on the county judge’s office. New front doors will be installed. Artwork depicting the county may be added to the entry walls. Plans are to remove the clock from the tower and to add a depiction of the county seal in its place. Jessie Henry asked about meetings and changes. Atchley noted an upcoming meeting with the contractor. He noted the JP’s and media are welcome to attend. Atchley said the project is on schedule. James Griffin asked if the doors will be bulletproof and Atchley said he would check on that. He also noted plexiglass”sneeze” guards will be installed. J.P. Jay Lathrop asked about storage of furniture. Atchley noted they have it stored at the old Dave Felder building. Atchley said they carried 13 truckloads to storage. He also noted the county got refrigerators, about 50 desks, over 100 chairs, and more. J.P. Whit Whitlock asked about the”sneeze guards”. Ed Darling said they may want the sneeze guards to be permanent.

Ed Darling gave an update on finances. He said property taxes are up $500,000 from this time last year and sales taxes are holding up well. He said they are putting down lots of gravel and that budget may need some help soon due to the heavy rains. He said the county is in line on the budget reductions each department made when COVID came in.

Steve Atchley said the courthouse committee will meet with contractors July 8th at 10am. The Courthouse is set to be completed January 15th.

Ed Darling gave an update on the Tyson feed mill. He said they are looking to pour a half-million cubic feet of concrete soon and silos should be started in October. The feed mill should be finished in mid 2021.

The meeting then adjourned.