Somervell County Commissioners were all business during a regular meeting Feb. 9 when Peter Morgan gave a brief presentation on the county’s annual financial audit.

At the end of 2008, the county had $21 million in current assets, up from approximately $12 million reported in 2007. Morgan noted that the $21 million does include $12 million in bond money.

Overall, the county saw a 31 percent increase in tax revenue.

Morgan said the county spent more money this year, but it was all pre-planned capital improvements. The improvements included renovations at the Courthouse Annex, the hospital expansion and certificate of obligation, six new patrol cars, improvements at the Expo Center and Squaw Valley Golf Course, and the purchase of new dump trucks.

Morgan did point out a few recommendations for improvement, which County Auditor Darrell Morisson said had already been addressed and changed implemented.

Commissioners also discussed possible changes to the wireless phone reimbursement policy.

Commissioners hoped to reduce paperwork by switching to a non-voucher allowance policy. Concerns were voiced over the aspects of the change, however.

County Judge Walter Maynard questioned why one elected official should essentially receive a $30 pay raise and another elected official should not.

Morisson said before the standing policy was authored, a year’s worth of phone bills were collected and used to determine which positions used cell phones the most.

Offices that had to use their personal phones more often were given a greater allowance.

No action was taken on the agenda item, allowing commissioners more time to research possible alternatives.

Duff Cunningham with Squaw Valley Golf Course reported that approximately 2,100 rounds of golf were played in January, despite freezing temperatures. That’s about 1,000 more rounds than Jan. 2007.

He also asked the commissioners to consider allowing all youth members of the First Tee Program to pay junior county resident green fee rates.

First Tee is a national organization that uses golf to teach life skills to children.

“It’s kind of like Boy Scouts with golf,” Cunningham said.

Participants progress through four levels: Par, Birdie, Eagle and Ace.

Cunningham said children do not need to have any golfing prerequisites and the program is open to all skill levels.

While the program is national, Somervell will be the first county to offer the program this summer in the area.

Cunningham said it is likely that children from Hood, Erath and other surrounding counties will travel to the area for the program. He hopes the lower fee rate would encourage more participation in the program.

C.D. Harnett was chosen as the new supplier for prisoner food. The company beat out Ben E. Keith for the job with what Morisson called a “very competitive” bid. He said bids came from three companies and were the most competitive they had been in eight or ten years.

Library book bids were opened in court on Monday. Some 15 bids came in, ranging from Barnes and Nobles in New York to Peppermint Pig in near-by Stephenville. The commissioners took all bids into consideration.

In other business, commissioners approved a $72,933 change order to the hospital bond. Janitorial bids will be accepted until March 13 and will be opened in court on March 16. The county’s investment policy was also approved and commissioners voted to see if First Financial Bank-Glen Rose would extend their depository contract for another two-year term.

John Pruitt, Tamara Ory and John Powers were re-appointed to the Somervell County Economic Development Board until January 9, 2011.