The regularly scheduled Hardin County Commissioners Court was held a day early on Monday, Nov. 20 as opposed to the usual Tuesday morning session due to the shortened work week with the Thanksgiving Day Holiday.
The canvassing of the votes from the Nov. 7, 2017 Constitutional Amendment Election are as follows: Amendment 1, broadens scope of homestead ad valorem tax exemption for disabled veteran or spouse, in favor 390 and against 51.
Amendment 2 prescribes conditions, fees, refinancing options, and eligibility for home equity loans, in favor 289 and against 144.
Amendment 3 limits the service of certain gubernatorial appointees after expiration of term, in favor 361 and against 70.
Amendment 4 relates to notice requirements to Attorney General regarding challenge to constitutionality, in favor 309 and against 123.
Amendment 5 permits additional professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct raffles, in favor 246 and against 180.
Amendment 6 provides a homestead exemption for deceased (line of duty) first responder’s surviving spouse, in favor 387 and against 52.
Amendment 7 permits financial institutions to award random prizes to customers to encourage savings, in favor 288 and against 147.
In other news the commissioners voted in the affirmative to create a technology department within Hardin County to reduce costs of contracting for IT services.
Judge McDaniel said that the candidate would “share that duty with the Emergency Management Coordinator,” which is currently a vacant position.
The in-house IT position will offer $48,807 in salary and fringes. McDaniel says one person has expressed interest in taking the position, but has yet to accept or decline.
Commissioner Cooper expressed concern for the cost of the in-house IT specialist, but added “I think this is a great idea.”
The Commissioners asked Angela Gore, County Auditor, to track the position funding over the next year in comparison to previous year’s expenditures. Support for the position voted in the affirmative.
Kristen White, Veteran’s Service Officer introduced Michael Langley, Director of Development for the Lone Survivor Foundation, who is donating two new computers to the Veteran’s Services Department.
Langley said that the average term a veteran spends with the organization is about 24 months. There about 5,100 veterans in the county who may benefit from the therapeutic retreats and educational programs provided by the Lone Survivor Foundation, according to Langley.
In closing, Julie Garrett, the public information officer with the Small Business Association provided a listing of loans approved in Hardin County. Overall, there have been over $80 million approved in Hardin County for residential and business loans through SBA.
Garrett translates the numbers as approved residential loans: 54 in Kountze, 287 in Lumberton, 52 in Silsbee, and 267 Sour Lake. Approved business loans: two in Kountze, nine in Lumberton, two in Silsbee and five in Sour Lake.