HENDERSON COUNTY–The five-member governing body of Henderson County voted Oct. 13 to accept and seek grants to help offset county program finances, as well as enter a staffing agreement for emergency employment.
First, Commissioners’ court accepted a $3,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Sue Ellen Shaw, with the Friends of the Library group which supports Henderson County Clint W. Murchison Memorial Library in Athens, said the library applied for the grant in May and was notified in September that its application was accepted.
Shaw said the grant was written for the Early Readers Book Club, which targets readers in grades third through sixth with below grade-level reading skills, English language learners, new readers and readers with learning disabilities.
During the school year, Shaw added, the grant would target these students with the after-school library program that includes reading together, targeting specific skills, doing a craft and receiving a book for home reading.
“Last May, when the grant was written, we never guessed that this school year would be affected the way that it is by the pandemic, which makes the receipt of this grant even more beneficial,” Shaw told the court. “We all know the paramount importance of early reading skills and how it determines success in school for students.”
Shaw also said the “amazing” library staff, which she said “has been very creative to work though this pandemic,” is “very excited” to help create lifelong readers and learners through library resources.
The court also approved a staffing agreement with Express Employment Professionals of Athens, which county Human Resources Director Halie Bever said will help the county staff emergency vacancies with a day’s notice.
County Judge Wade McKinney said the county saw the need to enter the contract to help staff emergency openings, such as one recently experienced by the county’s Election Administration Department.
Commissioners’ court also voted to accept the Center for Tech in Civil Life Grant Award, which targets pandemic-related expenses in conducting elections. County Grant Coordinator Jessica Brown said the county expected a minimum of $5,000 and instead got $46,788, which will be used for election staffing. McKinney said the employment staffing agreement accepted earlier would be funded by this grant.
The court also approved a resolution about applying for the Texas Indigent Defense Grant Program. Brown said the reimbursement program provides financial assistance based on a percentage of expenditures, as well as population.
McKinney said the county spends more than $1 million for indigent defense and the state reimburses the county $71,000, which is used to pay for the indigent defense coordinator position and be in compliance with rules for adequate legal defense.
Also approved was a bid to extend a contract for the second time, for a one-year term, with Envolve Pharmacy Solutions to provide indigent medicine assistance. Henderson County has contracted with Envolve for four years overall.
In other business, the court approved transferring a LeeBoy Laydown Machine used for asphalt paving, from Precinct 3 to Precinct 2. Precinct 3 Commissioner Chuck McHam said he had acquired a larger machine and believed it would be better used in Precinct 2.
Also approved were requests for right-of-way permits, one for East Cedar Creek Fresh Water Supply District for a road bore to extend a sewer main in Indian Harbor subdivision near the Ottawa Trail and Choctaw Drive intersection, as well as a road bore for Leagueville Water Supply Corp. to put a water line under County Road 3614.
Further, the court approved paying bills for fiscal year 2020 worth $369,055.04 and for fiscal year 2021 for $1,851. The court also agreed to replat property; one vote turns three lots into two in the Highlands of Cedar Creek Lake in Precinct 2, and another within Hillside Lake Addition at Lake Palestine, within Precinct 4, replats five lots into two lots.