At the Sept. 20, 2023, Regular Meeting of Grimes County Commissioners Court, commissioners accelerated the search for a new county road and bridge engineer by approving the search committee’s recommendations to contract with L.K. Jordan & Associates, Crawford Thomas Recruiting and Murray Resources for professional recruitment services. Current Road & Bridge Engineer Harry Walker retires Sept. 30 after 6-plus years with Grimes County.
Pct. 2 Commissioner David Tullos advised that all three firms work on a contingency basis, charge fees between 20-25% and guarantee replacement. Human Resources Director Talitta Coleman confirmed that applications and resumes will continue to be accepted through the “existing avenues.”
In a related item, Commissioners addressed additional responsibilities upon reconvening from closed session as authorized by Texas Government Code 551.74 and approved a $4,000 per month stipend for Subdivision Coordinator Todd Greene who will serve as Acting Road & Bridge Administrator in the interim. A $500 per month stipend was approved for Executive Assistant Patti Ermis for additional duties she will take on. The stipends will be effective Oct. 1 and carry a 60-day reassessment period.
Pct. 1 Commissioner Chad Mallett was absent from Wednesday’s meeting.
Battery storage presentation
Anthony Rotar with Valor Infrastructure Partners (VIP) provided information about a battery storage facility to be constructed on 10-acres of leased property south of Iola off FM 244. VIP is a renewable energy developer co-founded in October 2022 by military veterans and currently developing “3.5 GW across four states.”
According to the VIP website, in 2022 VIP partnered with Pelion Green Future headquartered in Munich, Germany to “grow their business in North America.”
Rotar said the single landowner project will be a 200 MW, two-hour duration battery which can power up to 60,000 homes for two hours. The batteries charge during periods of low demand, high generation early mornings and late at night. Rotar said, “It’s localized, not just greater Texas. It’s within the local community and will help stabilize that grid.”
He continued, “We are currently waiting for the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) interconnection process we filed for and we’re conducting our kickoff with them and Brazos Electric Power Cooperative next month.”
Rotar anticipates signing agreements with ERCOT and Brazos Electric Power Cooperative in 2025, beginning construction January 2026 and employee operation December 2026.
County retirees see medical increase
Commissioners approved renewing the retiree medical plan available through the Texas Association of Counties, opting to stay with Plan F. Premiums for 2024 reflect a 6.93% increase going $261 to $279.08 per month. Grimes County will continue to subsidize 30% of the premiums.
Meetings may be viewed in their entirety at https://grimescountytx. granicus.com.
Closed session activity
Reconvening from closed session as authorized by Texas Government Code 551.074, commissioners:
•Approved equity pay for Andrew Duncan which was forfeited when he moved from PC Tech 1 to PC Tech III.
•Took no action regarding salary range for Assistant Treasurer for lack of a motion.
Other court action
•Approved Consent Agenda Items which included the Treasurer’s List of Claims and Bills, payroll, budget amendments and/or line-item transfers and the Grimes County Investment Policy.
•Recognized the following employees for years of service: Gilverta Diaz and Phillip Cox, five years; Mary Ann Waters and Barbara Walker, 10 years; and James Ellis, 15 years.
•Proclamation and program by Robert Raines Chapter DAR regent Vanessa Burzynski declaring Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week.
•Presentation of 4-H Proclamation by TexasA&MAgriLife Extension Agent Kyla Moeller recognizing Oct. 1-7 as National 4-H Week.
•Approved Amendment #3 to the Health Services Agreement with Southern Health Partners, Inc. for inmate care, establishing a 75-inmate daily average capacity at an additional cost of $2,737.56.
•Tabled overhead electrical easement request for 113 S. Main Street, Anderson.
•Approved the following annual contracts for Road & Bridge: Hauling to Heise Trucking, LLC; Flexible Base to Frost Crushed Stone, Inc. (Type A/grade 5) and Connors Crushed Stone (Type A/grade 1-2); Bridge Labor to Sanders Creek Construction; Mowing to Wayne Pool, LLC.
•Approved on-call engineering services contracts with Bleyl Engineering and Paradigm Consultants, Inc., with Bleyl as primary.
•Approved accepting Pinebrook Drive Extension improvements, with the exception of seeding and fertilizing due to drought conditions and reducing contractor’s retainage to 1%.
•Approved Temporary Easement Agreements with Eddie Williams, Jr., John Williams, Gladys Williams Hughes, Evelyn Williams Fagan and L.K. Williams related to the CR 215 bridge replacement project.
•Approved IT’s request for replacement of MobileIron MDM (mobile device management) software with ManageEngine MDM software at a savings of $2,000.
•Approved the First Contract Renewal Agreement for Statewide Automated Victim Notification Services (SAVNS) with Appriss Insights, LLC and authorized the county judge as signatory.
• Approved the SAVNS Maintenance Grant Contract in the amount of $5,762.25 and authorized the county judge as signatory.
•Approved the Subrecipient Agreement (Senior Meal Program) with the Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging which increased from $9.81 to $9.88 per meal.
•No action taken on ARPA or Strategic Plan.
Workshop and Special Meeting
•After a workshop discussion reconciling HRCC Salary Survey data with the County’s current salary structure format, commissioners held a Special Meeting and approved the new salary structure with a few modifications. The HRCC-recommended administrative guidelines will be reviewed by commissioners before distribution to elected officials and department heads for input.
•The auditor’s department will compile a damage report from a recent rear-end collision that totaled Pct. 1 Constable Dale Schaper’s vehicle. The county attorney will contact the other driver’s insurance company and if no offer received, he’ll bring it to commissioners for discussion in a closed session.
Cagan Baldree with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments announced active shooter training for elected officials, school administrators, EMS, law enforcement and security personnel Oct. 9-11 at the Brazos Center in Bryan.
The burn ban remains in place for 90 days from its July 26 reinstatement unless rescinded or extended by commissioner court.