Commissioners Remember Judge Bentley

PLAQUE OF APPRECIATION -- Tom Nolan, Veterans’ Services Administrator presents the Leon County Court with a plaque of appreciation from Fort Hood for the court’s aid in the annual toy drives for the children in Fort Hood.

Leon County Commissioners met Monday, December 11th, for their first meeting of the month. All four commissioners were present, and Leon County Judge Byron Ryder presided.

Judge Ryder began court with an announcement of the failing health of District Judge Bascom Bentley. Bentley, who had served as a district judge in Leon County the past several years, recently resigned from a long career in law due to health problems. ?The judge is a good man, and we ask for prayers for him and his family,? said Ryder. (On Monday afternoon, Judge Bascom Bentley passed away peacefully in the hospital at Tyler with family members at his side. See obituary on page 5.)

Following a brief closed session meeting, the court resumed the public forum and a motion was made to allow Leon County Attorney Caleb Henson to use his county office for his private practice. This measure is allowed by regulations but must be approved by the commissioners court. The motion was approved.

A request from Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis to hire a full time office employee for his department was approved. An employee will be hired to replace an employee that is leaving.

The court also approved the request to pay federal compensation time accruals as allowed by a policy change.

Robert Garza, owner of JTX Fitness in Jewett, was in court to present a donation to the Leon County Sheriff?s Department. The funds were raised by Garza?s second annual 5K run to generate money for donations to the Jewett Police Department and the Sheriff?s Department. The check this year was for $885.

Sheriff Ellis thanked Garza and said the funds would be used for further training of deputies. ?It is very much appreciated,? said Ellis.

The court voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between Leon County and the Office of the Attorney General to install equipment necessary to establish a secure wireless internet connection in the courtroom and old court house. There is no cost to the county for this equipment.

The court discussed additional signage to the parking area in front of the Annex II building. The parking is restricted to 15 minutes and is suppose to be used by customers to the Annex building only. After some discussion, and revisited in closed session, no action was taken on the matter.

Approval was voted to place Jimmy Carrigan and Sandra Kalousek on the Leon County Health Resource Commission Board. And approval was given to place Kathleen Buchnan on the Executive Committee of the same board.

A bid of $750 from Samuel T. Hamontree for Lot 1, Block 1, Hilltop Lakes, Section 71 was approved.

Donations totaling $3,194.50 for the month of November for the Senior Nutrition Center were approved. Also a $100 donation from Direct Services for the Veteran?s Toy Drive was approved.

The court voted to allow Black & Veatch to make a grant application for funds to assist the county in obtaining communications equipment. If approved, the grant is 100% with no matching funds required from the county.

Commissioner David Ferguson wished all present a Merry Christmas.