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County commissioners set guidelines for proposed bond oversight committee

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Diana Buckley
Ellis County Communications
WAXAHACHIE - Contingent upon the passage of the proposed $53.875 million bond slated to come before voters on May 12, Ellis County Commissioners said they would establish a Citizens Bond Oversight Committee.

The guidelines for the committee were approved in a regular meeting on Monday evening, as follows:

• The goals and objectives of the oversight committee are to create a venue that allows public oversight of the county facilities projects while going through the design and construction process.

• The role of the committee shall be for oversight and shall in no way interfere with the authority of the court or its assigned representatives, to govern and manage the affairs of the county.

• The charge of the Ellis County Bond Oversight Committee shall be to report to the Commissioners' Court regarding the progress of the bond program.

• The committee shall be composed of citizens representing all of Ellis County.

• Members shall be recognized by the community as individuals of good faith who will assume the court's charge with a sense of commitment and objectivity.

• The committee shall report to the Commissioners' Court on a regular basis or as determined by the Ellis County Bond Oversight Committee and the Commissioners' Court.

'This is a trend we see in our public works sector,' said Jon Vidauri of the Staubach Company.

'School districts, cities and counties are creating these as a way to operate with a sense of transparency with the public - to show them that there is nothing to hide, from the selection of the architects to the selection of the contractors.'

Commissioner Heath Sims, pct. 3, proposed the establishment of the committee during the last meeting of the court.

'I make a motion to appoint Commissioner Sims, (County Engineer) Joe White and the Staubach Group to put together a list of responsibilities for the oversight committee and bring it back to Commissioners' Court,' said Commissioner Bill Dodson, pct 2, noting that the County Attorney's office would also be represented in discussions.

The measure passed with Dodson's amendment.

Another facilities-related action taken by the Court on Monday was adoption of a resolution specifying a plan for addressing those needs in the City of Ennis.

'We request your affirmative consideration on this,' said Ennis Mayor Russell Thomas.

'We would also like to commend you on your far-reaching planning for future facilities throughout the county.'

Jack Dineen, President of the Ellis County Emergency Service #6 in Waxahachie, addressed the court concerning a proposed tax increase for that entity.

'Emergency Service District Number 6 is also having an election on May 12,' Dineen said.

'We will be asking property owners to increase the maximum tax rate from three cents to ten cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation.'

Dineen said the district's governing board had passed a resolution stating its intent to set the cap at six cents per $100 of assessed valuation in the 2007/2008 fiscal year.

'Last but not least, we want you to know that the ESD Commissioners support you in this upcoming bond election,' Dineen added.

Several members of the public were in attendance at the meeting to voice their opposition to a proposed location for a new salvage yard at 3230 S. Highway 77 in Waxahachie.

'We object to any new salvage yard,' said Jim Decuir, a neighboring landowner.

'They contain old cars that leak oil, gas and diesel into our water system.

'They perpetuate the use of older vehicles which tend to pollute our air. They are, quite frankly, unsightly.'

Other objections included problems with storm water runoff, density, congestion, and traffic flow.

In other business, Commissioners:

• Accepted the donation of labor and materials necessary to asphalt pave a 575 foot section of Ozro Road in precinct 3;

• Approved an agreement with the Waxahachie Lions Club, pending appropriate insurance coverage, for use of the county property located in downtown Waxahachie for the annual Grand Prix, May 15 through May 19;

• Authorized the county judge to sign an addendum extending a contract for software and support with Indigent Healthcare Solutions, to include six months free service at the end of the term;

• Authorized submission of an application for a Federal planning grant, in cooperation with Hope Clinic;

• Rejected a settlement proposal offered by developer seeking to create the Maypearl Water Control and Improvement District, in a matter pending before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the State Office of Administrative Hearings;

• Took no action on the proposed hiring of Charles Parkhill for the position of Human Resources Director;

• Took no action on a request to allow the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors Dallas Chapter Number 5 to place a 'geocaching monument' near the Ellis County Courthouse;

• Awarded the annual bid for Emulsified Asphalt to both bidders, with Cleveland Asphalt being the primary supplier;

• Approved one final plat and one preliminary plat under the Department of Development; and

• Held an executive session to consult with legal counsel regarding the settlement offer later rejected by the court and to deliberate on the appointment of a Treasurer for Ellis County.

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