Politics

Hempstead County Quorum Court Meeting and Summary

A significant portion of the first 20 minutes is the reading of the ordinance.
20:36: 1st ordinance discussion and vote
23:20: 2nd ordinance discussion and vote
25:24: Telelogic Phone Contract Discussion


The Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday and while they short on agenda, they were not short on numbers.

The Court’s only agenda items for its April meeting were the passing of two ordinances that essentially shuffled money around. The first, Ordinance 2019-7 transferred and appropriated funds from within several departments to make up shortfalls in the 2018 budgets. The departments included County Judge, County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Treasurer, Collector, Assessor, Courthouse Maintenance, Elections, Reimbursed Insurance and Retirement, Health Unit, Sheriff’s Office, Judge Culpepper, Judge Wright, District Court, Judge Culpepper/Juvenile Intake, Prosecuting Attorney, Jail/Allocation, Coroner, Civil Defense, Voca Grant, County Waste, Extension Department and Veterans Affairs.

Ordinance 2019-7 was passed unanimously by the members of the Quorum Court. If you are interested in seeing the details of the ordinance, they are in the gallery below.

The only other item on the agenda was Ordinance 2019-8 which amended Appropriation Ordinance 2018-21. The ordinance stated that the budget for the Hempstead County General Highway Budget for 2019 will be $4,290,430.46 with an anticipated revenue of $7,114,428.13. The ordinance appropriates $428,025 to Machinery and Equipment. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Not on the agenda, but brought up by Justice of the Peace David Clayton, was the current telephone contract the county is in for the next four years with Telogix. There were questions to the validity of the cost of the contract with the company, which is $200,326.08 over four years. Clayton offered a comparison to costs for competing SkyePBX which Clayton said offers the service for considerably less. Clayton included a reference list of users of SkyPBX which includes several local schools, Hope Housing Authority and the city of Maude, TX. Clayton said if the county is able to get out of the contract, service costs would be cut by more than 50% and there are alternatives to purchase phones outright for less money than the county currently leases them.

Judge Crane said the owner of Telogix has requested to bring one of his auditors and be added to a future Quorum Court agenda.

County Clerk Karen Smith told the court that the county has been on the contract since the end of 2017 and that the only thing that changed on December,31 2018, when former Judge Haskell Morse signed a new contract, was that the contract for the county was moved to a new finance company. Despite the copy of the county’s bill which shows a total of over $21,000 and a contract for over $50,000 per year for four years, Smith said the county only paid Telogix $11,278 in 2018. Treasurer Judy Flowers presented payments made by the county going back to 2014 for telecommunications. Clayton questioned why the county has four different providers for phone and internet service. One of which is AT&T for 911 communications which Justice Ed Darling said is the only option for the service and a sore spot for many other local governments around the state.

No action was taken on the issue but with Telogix owner wishing to speak to the Quorum Court, and the many questions on the subject, the current telecommunications arrangements for the county will be on the agenda at a future date.

Digital versions were not available at the time of publishing.

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