By CHRIS AGEE
County offices to receive computer-assisted services
County commissioners voted Monday morning to add LexisNexis capability to computers in the offices of the County Judge, County Auditor and Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace.
The computer-assisted legal research service will result in increased efficiency and will reduce the expense of replacing the log books heretofore used as a reference for various statutes.
"Books are out of date basically the day they're printed," County Judge David Nicklas stated.
He explained the county has spent as much as $6,300 per year on log books just for his office, noting the cost of adding the electronic reference makes more sense.
Several other offices in the county courthouse already use LexisNexis, he added, explaining the system makes up-to-date statutes available online for a monthly cost of $38 per computer.
JP Baker seeks payment window
In an effort to provide security to his staff when he is not in the office, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Todd Baker spoke to commissioners about the possibility of installing an external payment window to his courthouse office.
The window would be cut directly into the wall, Baker explained, and would be closed when he is in the office.
When open, residents can securely leave their payments without coming inside, he added.
The estimated cost of the project is $1,468.25, he noted.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jeff Fryer noted the renovation would have to be removed should the county decide to accept grant money from the Texas Historical Commission Courthouse Preservation Program.
Architexas, a firm that has handled a number of courthouse preservation projects across the state, presented commissioners with a plan to renovate the historic Palo Pinto structure during a March meeting.
Fryer explained the addition of a payment window would be wasted money if the courthouse was restored to its original appearance, as the program dictates.
He noted commissioners will likely decline taking part in the program, though, as it would result in the loss of local control over the renovation.
Commissioners asked Baker to contact the historical commission for input and revisit the issue at their next meeting.
Burn ban remains lifted
Palo Pinto County Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell expressed his feeling a burn ban is still unwarranted, given the county's current condition.
"We don't need one," he told commissioners Monday morning.
"Everything has been good, even on windy days."
He noted the green vegetation, thanks in large part to last week's precipitation, has resulted in favorable conditions, adding he has not responded to a fire in recent days.
Commissioners agreed with his assessment and determined the burn ban should remain lifted.
In other business, commissioners voted to:
• Approve Precinct 2 road maintenance project with the City of Graford and approve reimbursement payments.
• Rescind previous action and approve request to advertise for bids for the sale of the old Precinct 1 barn in Mineral Wells.
• Approve the purchase of five replacement phones.
• Acknowledge the appointment of Steven E. Watson as County Auditor.