PALO PINTO – DRS Defense Solutions submitted notice to Palo Pinto County earlier this month that it will terminate its lease, effective Aug. 31, on the Dempsey Heliport, which was being used by DRS Unmanned Technologies Inc.

On Monday, Palo Pinto County Commissioners had an initial discussion on going out for bids in September to lease the facility to another company.

According to Precinct 1 Commissioner Beth Ray, DRS Unmanned Technologies Inc. had kept their lease since the company moved from Mineral Wells to Florida in the summer of 2008. The move came after Italian company Finmeccanica acquired DRS for $4 billion in May of that year.

“The final lease payment will be in the amount of $11,667 (for the months of July and August 2010),” stated the DRS contract notice.

Ray said that for one month each year DRS had sublet their Dempsey lease for close to $52,000. She told commissioners that two companies were interested in leasing Dempsey for a similar purpose – unmanned technology – provided the county keeps the grass off the runways. She said representatives from each prospective company visited the site in February to survey the property.

County Judge Mike Smiddy said he has received calls periodically from realtors “amazed” the Dempsey facility is here and that the county owns it.

“A lot of people don't even realize it's been leased,” added Ray, who said she's optimistic the site will be leased after the DRS lease expires.

In other business County Treasurer Mary Motley turned in the last three outstanding monthly reports. She said she is now “all caught up.”

“I'm just thrilled she's caught everything up,” said Ray, who served on a committee that worked to help Motley's office get up to date with her reports.

In his May audit report, Mike Edgin of the county's new auditing firm Edgin, Parkman, Fleming and Fleming PC, told commissioners that the office was behind in recording deposits related to a justice of the peace office and cash bond collections.

Motley told the Index then that she was trying to get caught up on two JPs and bank statements.

She attributed being behind to absences during her husband's six-month battle with terminal cancer. Herman Motley died in November 2008. Shortly after this, she underwent knee surgery and rehabilitation.

Edgin told commissioners that he understood there was also some staff turnover in the treasurer's office “which caused limitations on the office getting current.” Since then, Motley has trained a new staff member.

“I know she's put in a lot of extra hours to do it,” Ray told the Index Monday. “I'm pleased she has it caught up.”

Commissioners also:

• Amended the county uniform policy by stating that the county will provide matching ties for law enforcement officers for court appearances as required. Commissioners also deleted from the uniform policy the hat restriction, namely because hats are part of the law enforcement uniform.

• Dismissed a civil suit regarding a nuisance complaint at 136 West Sturdivant Road. The owner, Charles Harvey, said the property has been cleaned up and he plans to sell it. Precinct 3 Commissioner Mike Pierce confirmed that he saw dumpsters there and that “it's sure been a big job.”

Commissioners also accepted a supplementary sheriff's report. Citing this report, Sheriff Ira Mercer said the property had been “satisfactorily cleaned up” and added to Harvey, “We sure appreciate your efforts.”

• Approved donating a Precinct 4 watering truck to Santo ISD. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jeff Fryer told the court they purchased a “new, used” water truck and decided to donate the old truck to the district via their interlocal agreement – for a public purpose to a civic or charitable organization. He added that the Precinct 4 road crew watered for the Santo tractor pull, but this truck would allow the district to provide the tractor-pull watering.

• Held a closed session to discuss the resignation of Barry Gill and rehiring for the fire marshal/emergency management coordinator position.

• Held a closed session in which commissioners heard a presentation on real property and economic development from Mineral Wells Industrial Foundation Recruiter Steve Butcher, Mineral Wells City Manager Lance Howerton and Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce Director Beth Watson. Smiddy said the court took no action.

• Approved a re-plat of two lots at the 7-R Ranch in Gordon.


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