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Bad ends and new beginnings

By Gayle Erwin
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Trails End residents have made appearances in Commissioners Court the last three sessions, although the residents have not formally made request to be on the agenda. The Public Comment session at the beginning of each court session is where the residents have made their concerns known to the court. The roads in the Trails End, area are defined by residents, are in deplorable condition for personal vehicles, school buses, and emergency response. The developers 5G have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 according to residents, and Commissioner Bonds of Precinct Three.

During the Public Comment session of the February 26 session, resident Joann Siebert an employee of The Advocate, presented a very lengthy presentation on the rules and laws of San Jacinto County in regards to any disclosure of the rules of platting and procedures not realizing that when the area was developed in 1999, that the document in which she was reading was not in place until 2006, according to Commissioner Mark Nettuno and according to to a previous commissioner, David Brandon. The developer never met the requirements for the adoption of the roads as county roads. Mr. Brandon shared that the current policies and procedures for road adoption were placed in 2006 because of Trails End.

It appears that with the status of bankruptcy for 5G and the inability for the residents become organized in a manner to meet the county policy and procedures, this may be at an end. Commissioner Bonds shared with the residents and a court letter from the Attorney General of Texas and the San Jacinto County District Attorney, emphasizing that under state law, county funds cannot be spent to repair the privately owned roads. Commissioner Bonds also shared the contract in which buyers signed at purchase ,declaring that the roads were private roads and would not be county maintained by San Jacinto County.

Judge John Lovett took the opportunity to share with the court that Precincts One, Two, and Four in San Jacinto County are eligible to hold Bingo events. The eligibility has been in place for decades according to Lovett’s findings. Organizations such as Senior Centers, churches, volunteer fire departments, veterans groups and the like are recognized as potential hosts. Although each group would have to obtain licensing by the State of Texas in order to be functioning in a legal status.

Also sharing with the audience, Judge Lovett expressed a desire to pursue the modernization of the current alcohol laws in San Jacinto County. Lovett expressed that this desire would take action by the voters, but he thinks it is something that should be looked in to.

Chief Joe Schultea was on hand for agenda items concerning discussion and possible vote to advertise and bid for a 2016 Ford Explorer SUV Police Interceptor, in which approval was given by the court. The vehicle will be paid for from seizure funds. Schultea also requested approval to apply for the Violence Against Women: Justice and Training Program Grant FY 2017, in which approval was given to pursue the grant. Commissioner Nettuno made the motion to approve the request, but not add a new position to the staff.

Attorney Stephen Lee was present requesting the approval of the resale of trust properties for a public tax sale and approval of a bid received on a tax trust property. Upon some discussion in the court session, it was decided to take the item into executive session for consideration. The report and vote returning from executive session resulted in a motion by Commissioner Nettuno to not accept the bid. Nettuno expressed that the property in question is scheduled for the public sale in April. Nettuno said, “the public is not aware that the value of the property has gone down since the last sale”. The vote was seconded by Commissioner McCoppin and passed to not accept the bid in question with a vote of three to zero, two abstained.

Gerald Deeter was on hand to address the court in regards to the holding of funds allocated for the Coldspring Senior Center. The item was not on the agenda but addressed just prior to adjourning into executive session by the court entertained in public comments. Mr. Deeter has concerns as to the financial condition in which the center is presently working under. Deeter shared with the court “the center almost went dark last week”, due to lack of funds. Not with electricity though. In a San Jacinto News-Times previous edition, the City of Coldspring gifted a $5,000 donation to SHECO towards the Coldspring Senior Center’s account. Expressing that the donation should ease financial constraints for a few months.

Mr. Deeter went on to share that a board member presented a check on a loan basis contingent on upcoming funds to be received. In the meantime the center did receive the December payment from DETCOG. Commissioner Nettuno and others have met and requested financial records from the Coldspring Senior Center to be reviewed by County Auditor Carole Martin in an expedited manner. The county is presently holding a $12,000 contribution to the center. The county is working with the Senior Center Director Rayfield Jefferson and board members to ensure that steps are being taken to find solutions to the financial constraints that the center is experiencing.

The San Jacinto County Historical Commission will begin getting help from San Jacinto County Maintenance Department at the Old Jail Museum grounds, as a result of executive session discussion. Commissioner Nettuno asked for a motion to approve the action, but Judge Lovett indicated that a motion was not necessary. The county owns the property, Chris, the maintenance supervisor, just needs to be instructed to do so. The help with maintenance at the Old Jail Museum and the grounds will surely be of great help to the San Jacinto County Historical Commission.