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County certifies fire tanker loan as tax free

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HENDERSON COUNTY–Commissioners’ Court of Henderson County adopted a resolution June 7 certifying tax-exempt status of a loan that the Log Cabin Fire Department received to finance a new fire tanker truck.
The volunteer department is utilizing a $220,000 Texas Forest Service grant as a down payment on the $374,087 cost for the Pierce fire truck, Log Cabin Fire Chief Cory Abbe said, with the rest financed through a Simmons Bank 15-year loan with 3.75 percent interest, he said.
Abbe sought the court’s certification of the tax-exempt status of the loan, which he said carries no obligation for Henderson County. County Judge Wade McKinney said the tax-exempt status qualifies the loan for a lower interest rate.
The truck, which was delivered in May, is manufactured on a Freightliner Chassis, holds 3,000 gallons and can pump 1,250 gallons per minute. The department’s older tanker truck, nicknamed “Red Dangerous,” was purchased by the Englewood Rural Fire Department in Kansas.
The court also proclaimed June as Elder Abuse Prevention Month. Carey Samford of Texas Adult Protective Services said the problem is “grossly underreported,” adding that in-home case workers investigated 592 intakes in Henderson County, of which 213 cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation were confirmed against elderly Texans or those with disabilities in 2021. “Truth is, per capita, Henderson County gets a lot of reports of elder abuse,” Samford said.
The court also heard a presentation from UT Health East Texas. UT Health Regional CEO Donald Baker said the level of health care services provided in Henderson County is “very advanced.” Baker added, “Athens is a thriving hospital, it is a growing hospital.”
In other business, the court:
•Approved a $5,017.46 refund request for overpayment of taxes from the Henderson County Tax Assessor-Collector.
•Approved placing a Henderson County Fairgrounds employee at Step 6 on the Step Pay Program.
•Approved by 4-1 (Precinct 2 Commissioner Scott Tuley opposed) applications for a 30-day extension of the deadline for filing audit reports for Emergency Services Districts (ESDs) 1 (located in Trinidad) and 6 (in eastern Henderson County).
•Approved a petition applying for creation of proposed ESD No. 12, located in Precinct 3 in the Chandler area, following a public hearing.
•Approved ordering a Nov. 8 special election for the creation of ESD No. 12, open to voters within its proposed boundaries. 
•Approved updating the Henderson County employment application to add qualifications for commercial driver license status, such as whether the license allows standard or automatic transmissions.
•Approved a contract with DebtBook to manage lease agreement reporting as required by Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) statements 87 and 96.
•Approved a contract with Deaf Action Center to provide sign-language interpreting and captioning services during county legal proceedings, when needed.
•Approved a right-of-way permit for Lakeshore Utility Co. to repair a water leak on Harris Boulevard in Clearwater Bay, in Precinct 1.
•Approved a right-of-way permit for Crescent Heights Water Supply Corp. (WSC) to lay a service line along Pecan Circle in Shady Oaks, in Precinct 1.
•Approved a right-of-way permit for Bethel-Ash WSC to bore under County Road 3705.
•Approved a right-of-way permit for Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative to perform work along County Road 3718 in Precinct 3.
•Approved replatting 10 lots into one for ESD No. 6/Westside Volunteer Fire Department property in Precinct 3.
•Approved the final plat for the Endo Camino addition in Precinct 4.
•Approved road materials contracts for all vendors for all categories except cold mix.
•Approved rejecting a bid for haul and transport services and to authorize rebidding.
•Approved the payment of fiscal year 2022 bills in the amount of $494,648.37.