The Somervell County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Monday to implement overtime fees that the county’s two constables can bill property owners for having a deputy on hand during writ of possession cases.

Precinct 2 Constable Jeff Slaton went to the podium to address the issue, pointing out that if the job of clearing out a site on private property requires extended hours (after four hours), a constable must remain present at the scene 24 hours a day until the task is complete.

Slaton noted that the county has not previously had a provision for hourly fees for such jobs that are handled through the constable offices — Slaton and Precinct 1 Constable Mike Reynolds.

The commissioners approved the fees by a 5-0 margin, with Don Kranz, Kenneth Wood, John Curtis, Larry Hulsey and County Judge Danny Chambers voting.

The fees (after four hours) will be $75 per hour.

The commissioners also voted, 5-0, to designate the downtown courthouse grounds for the annual National Night Out that honors public servants in all law enforcement agencies. It is planned for 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. This year’s event will also be used to honor the first responders and deputies who volunteered to travel to south Texas to assist victims of Hurricane Harvey.

DOG DAYS

Chief Deputy Dwayne Griffin with the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office brought a proposal for the purchase of a certified drug-sniffing dog from Hood County using money from the criminal asset forfeiture funds.

Griffin noted that the dog is a 3-year-old Labrador retriever that had been used in Hood County until its trained handler resigned from the position with the Sheriff’s Office there.

Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds offered the dog for sale to Somervell County for $1,000, and related equipment for an additional $1,000. Griffin said that Butler Feed has agreed to provide a year’s supply of dog food for the first year, if the animal is purchased.

“The handler will need to go to school (for training with the dog),” Griffin told commissioners. “It will help deter drugs traveling through this area.”

Griffin said the dog should be “good for an additional six to eight years” of work. It is not trained as a patrol dog, so it is non-aggressive and not trained to bite.

County Auditor Brian Watts stated that the forfeiture fund currently contains approximately $30,000. Griffin also noted that one current deputy already on staff has agreed to become the dog’s handler, with no additional pay.

The commissioners voted to approve the purchase of the dog, 5-0.

OTHER MOTIONS

The county received only one bid in its effort to sell the former Somervell County Heritage Center building downtown. The city of Glen Rose submitted the only sealed bid for the vacant building, for $150,000. Judge Chambers said that figure was the current assessed value. The commissioners voted to accept the bid, but the city of Glen Rose now will have to make the final approval of the transition, which would include the city paying the closing costs. There is not yet any time frame set for that potential action.

Somervell County Election Administrator Christy Covey addressed the commissioners concerning the consolidation of the Nov. 11, 2017 polling locations for the Constitutional Amendement Election at the Somervell County Expo Center. The commissioners approved that motion, 5-0.

The commissioners set the vehicle speed limit on County Road 1020 in the Sunset Park area at 30 mph, by 5-0 vote.

County Extension Agent Zach Davis was on hand with several members of the Somervell County 4-H program. Davis spoke to the Commissioners Court about the upcoming National 4-H Week. The commissioners unanimously voted to support that proclamation in Somervell County.