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HC burn ban off, at least until Tuesday

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Commissioners’ Court will revisit ban at Oct. 22 meeting

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HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Commissioners’ Court took no action on extending its burn ban, which expired soon after the court adjourned Oct. 15. The court meets Oct. 22 and will revisit the issue.
County Fire Marshal Shane Renberg told the court that Oct. 15 rain was expected to get the Keetch-Byram Drought Index under 575, the point above which a burn ban is recommended. Renberg said his office had more than 50 calls the previous weekend, which he called “nonstop,” about illegal burning. The fire marshal also said many assumed the burn ban was off, with some claiming that they’d seen as such on Facebook.
In other action, the court approved a contract to build a new Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace facility in LaRue. The 2,000-square foot building at the corner of County Road (CR) 4719 and State Spur 60, near the post office, will include office space for the justice and constable, along with a courtroom.
The building will have a voting room that’s the same size as the one at the county election center on Larkin Street in Athens, said Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin, who added precinct voting will move there from New York Baptist Church.
Watson Commercial Construction of Tyler will erect the $356,497 building, which has been planned for 17 years. That price is about $23,000 more than originally forecast because of delays, redesigns, repositions and rebids, said County Judge Wade McKinney. Watson Commercial Construction forecasts the building to be completed in March 2020.
The court also approved a sanitary control easement agreement with Bethel-Ash Water Supply Corp. (WSC) pertaining to CR 3700. Tyler Hendrickson, consulting engineer for the WSC, along with County Attorney Clint Davis, told the court the 150-foot easement allows the WSC to drill a water well with annual inspections thereafter by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), instead of quarterly TCEQ inspections, as well as to forego certain TCEQ-required testing, saving the WSC “thousands.”
Davis said the easement precludes the county from running cattle or hogs, constructing buildings, or placing septic tanks and lateral lines within the right-of-way, which he believes would be beyond the county’s original easement to begin with. Hendrickson said the WSC has secured easements from all other surrounding property owners.
The court also approved a right-of-way permit to place a utility pole and associated electrical lines along CR 2927 (Old Highway 85), east of Gun Barrel City.