The Hempstead County Quorum Court met in regular session Thursday May 23rd. First up the JP’s passed a transfer and.appropriation ordinance to use $21,900 in insurance settlement funds and approximately$12,000 from other funds to purchase a vehicle for the Sheriff’s Department to replace a vehicle that was recently submerged in flood waters and totaled.
The JP’s approved an ordinance which will fund a new dump truck.
Brandon Clark of Telelogix spoke to the JP’s about the phone service for the county. He explained an $11,000 check which will reflect about a year’s worth of billing. He noted this check came because the county had to pay by check and couldn’t deal with automatic bank draft. He explained some lease terms and that the service is “turnkey”. Judge Crane noted there aren’t any problems with the system at the moment but the phones do need some backup for power when there is an outage. It was noted the contract for the service will run four years. There were questions about whether the contract was bid and Judge Crane noted it was approved under an “emergency clause”. Another spectator asked what the emergency was and Judge Crane said he understood Judge Morse declared the emergency due to the cost of the monthly fees being paid to A.T. &T. Judge Crane said those fees were considerably higher than the current bills. Spectator John Odom asked if this was being investigated and JP Ed Darling noted auditors are now in the courthouse. Zack Hicks, a sole proprietor who has served the county as an I.T. contractor addressed the Quorum Court. Hicks talked about contracts for the service and phones. He said it appears the county signed on to lease phone equipment for $199,000 which could have been bought for $30,000 cash. He noted there was confusion on the length of the Telelogix contract while a contract with Graybar Leasing plainly states a four year contract. Hicks says he has researched the county judge rules and couldn’t find where a phone situation could be a potential emergency situation. Hicks says he thinks the phone system should have been bid. He noted the JP’s had heard of a potential vendor last month who could have saved the county $28,000 per year over Telelogix. John Odom asked about potential criminal charges in the matter for the previous county judge and Judge Crane reiterated that will depend on the audit findings. No action was taken and the meeting adjourned.