Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

November 29, 2012

County receives PK fires funds


Mineral Wells Index

— By LIBBY CLUETT

PALO PINTO – Palo Pinto County Commissioners this week approved receiving its first Fire Management Assistant Grant funds for the 2011 PK Complex Fires, amounting to $805,375.

The monies, Judge David Nicklas said, will “in turn be dolled out to local volunteer fire departments and the sheriff’s department.”

A total of 43 VFDs and emergency service districts applied for reimbursement expenses related to the PK Complex Fires – 14 of these requests are from Palo Pinto County departments. These Palo Pinto Countyentities – emergency medical services, volunteer fire and city fire departments – requested a total of $475,656.90 in the grant.

At least 15 Parker County entities requested grant monies. Also part of the grant were the City of Stephenville Fire Department and VFDs from: Hood County; Belleview and Vashti, from Clay County; DeLeon; Erath; Eliasville; Nacona and Sunset, from Montague County; Ranger; Selden, from Erath County; Shive, from Hamilton County; and Wayland, from Stephens County.

All totaled, the VFDs, EMSs, ESDs and entities responding to the PK Complex Fires requested $206,373 for labor reimbursements and $622,532 for materials and equipment reimbursements.

Lone Camp VFD Chief Charlie Sims, who helped the county submit the federal FMAG grant, said each agency will typically receive 75 percent of the funds they submitted, which he said is much better than nothing at all.

Nicklas said the PPSO will also be reimbursed for at least $80,000 used on law enforcement overtime during the nearly month-long fire. Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer told commissioners he would like to use some of that for a radio communication repeater.

He added that the $805,375 commissioners certified Monday does not include grant monies for expenses related to the 101 Ranch Fire, also in 2011, which still has an FMAG pending.

In other business, commissioners:

• Heard public comments from Lone Camp VFD Chief Charlie Sims, who informed commissioners that four of the five Emergency Services District board members “went to schooling and will be revisiting contracts with VFDs.”

Sims said the contracts will likely include requirements for insurance, proper driver’s licensing, namely when driving heavy tanker trucks, and training for structure and wildland fires.

The early October rollover of a new Brazos VFD water tanker “brought some things to light that need to happen and some require training,” he added.

Sims told commissioner there is accredited training in place and available. He said the board members also discussed putting background checks on vehicle drivers.

• Approved monthly reports.     Treasurer Tanya Fallin reported, as of Monday the total of all county funds was $8.65 million.

Mercer reported the sheriff’s department received 58 civil papers, wrote 42 tickets and 25 warnings, made 589 calls for service, 82 arrests, drove 50,923 miles and booked 119 inmates. He said the current jail population is 102 inmates.

    Public Works Director David McDonald reported responding to one complaint and issuing 7 permits in October, with six of those for new buildings and one for an existing structure. He told commissioners that November is typically slow, but this has “already been a good month.”

• Approved an exemption from competitive bidding and authorized bidding at licensed auctioneer services for the 2013 fiscal year, upon Precinct 3 Commissioner Mike Pierce’s request.

• Approved an order adopting an investment policy and investment strategies for the county – a yearly requirement under local government code, Fallin said.