County selects redistricting firm
WAXAHACHIE - Ellis County Commissioners have voted to retain the law firm of Guinn and Morrison to assist the county during the upcoming redistricting process.
David Guinn and Michael Morrison have been actively involved in voting rights matters and federal litigation since 1978 and have represented over 70 political subdivisions, including cities, counties, school districts and junior college and hospital districts, as well as the State of Texas, in voting rights and redistricting matters.
In more than 30 years of redistricting experience, the two law professors have made several hundred Section 5 submissions to the United States Attorney General under the Voting Rights Act. Both speak regularly on redistricting in Texas.
The total fee for their work with Ellis County is estimated to be in the $25,000 to $30,000 range, with expenses estimated to be between $2,000 and $2,500.
The court had also heard a presentation from the Austin legal firm of Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta last spring and had received that firm’s fee proposal.
"I like Guinn and Morrison," said Commissioner Dennis Robinson, pct. 1, who made the motion to approve the firm.
"One of the reasons is the cost is a little less. Also I like that they are out of Waco versus Austin, so that the times we do have to travel down there it would be more convenient."
All commissioners expressed the opinion that both firms were highly capable of assisting with the process.
Commissioners also voted to approve contract extensions for certain materials and supplies that have not increased in price, including Wholesale Gas and Diesel with Avenue Fuel, Recycled Concrete Flex Base with Big City, Printing Services with Gingerbread Press, and Flexphalt with Big City.
Lightweight Surfacing Aggregate and Unscreened Pit Run Gravel will go out for new bids.
In other business, commissioners:
• Granted a one-time variance relating to the requirement for a fire hydrant spaced every 450 feet in Whispering Meadows on Wilson Road in precinct 1;
• Took no action on a request for variance relating to road frontage requirements in Cross Creek Phase Seven;
• Increased the Electrolink contract for horizontal cabling from $375,000 to $394,500 to cover the cost of approved work associated with the Bond Project in Waxahachie and at the Sub-Courthouse in Ennis;
• Added the new generator at the new courthouse to the existing Historic Courthouse Preventative Maintenance Agreement with Emergency Power Services at an annual cost of $3,000;
• Approved the City of Ovilla’s request through an interlocal agreement that precinct 4 repair, reseal, and maintain for three years: East University, Cardinal, Meadowlark, and the 300 block of Willow Creek Lane and install two culverts on Red Oak Creek Road;
• Approved the consent agenda which contained, among other administrative items, a proclamation designating Jan. 16-23 as Sanctity of Human Life Week in Ellis County and a proclamation designating the month of January as School Board Recognition Month in Ellis County.