Hempstead County Quorum Court

The Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday January 23rd. When JP Jessie Henry opened with prayer, he prayed from the spot where the late Olen Dorman sat in tribute to Dorman.

Under old business the Quorum Court looked at the county policy handbook. Judge Jerry Crane asked JP’s James Griffin, Ed Darling, and Steve Atchley to serve in the committee to revise the handbook.

The JP’s passed a resolution declaring a vacancy on the court due to the death of JP Olen Dorman. Judge Crane said he’s been given several names to possibly fill out Dorman’s term and intends to pray about it. He said he intends to take his time on the appointment in deference to Dorman’s family.

The JP’s took a look at the hot check report. No action was taken. Also a list of items removed from the county’s fixed assets was perused by the JP’s.

Prosecutor Christi McQueen read a revised agreement with the city concerning the city’s new addition to the police department. The agreement was approved.

Judge Jerry Crane thanked the JP’s for their dilligence and service. He noted the public is looking to the JP’s to do the right thing. He also said he wants the county to be able to pay their bills this year in a timely manner. Judge Crane also asked the JP’s to attend the public meetings on the proposed tax to fund the renovation of the Farmers Bank building. He said he believes it is vital to have the new courthouse. Judge Crane also said it was suggested each JP has a public meeting in their district every six months. He also lauded the efforts of the county road department and also asked citizens to not just air their grievances on Facebook but to come to visit his office in person.

Hope Police Chief J.R. Wilson spoke to the JP’s. Judge Crane told the Chief the JP’s had approved the updated agreement between the city and the county concerning the expansion of the police department.

The JP’s discussed some fact sheets being prepared on the proposed tax election. JP Troy Lerew noted he is encountering citizens who don’t know who their JP is. JP James Griffin detailed several public appearances at Civic clubs on the jail tax. JP Cherry Stewart suggested the county out a sign on the old Farmers Bank building declaring it the future courthouse.

County Agent Stacey Stone detailed the upcoming Career Development event planned for January 31st.

JP Steve Atchley noted Mayor Steve Montgomery had spoken in favor of the proposed county tax at the Chamber Coffee this week.

Sheriff James Singleton gave an update on his efforts to let those with outstanding fines know the county can garnish their state income tax refund to satisfy their fines. He noted they had sent out 1,134 letters. About 300 were returned due to incorrect addresses. He noted the county has collected $13,000 in outstanding fines the first ten days of the year. He noted they want those with outstanding fines to know they will not attempt to garnish their refunds if they make arrangements to pay their fines. The meeting then adjourned.