Johnson County Commissioners on Monday voted to lower the speed limit on three streets in the Bluegrass Estates in Joshua from 35 mph to 30 mph. The neighborhood is in Precinct 2, and Commissioner Kenny Howell explained that changing the speed limit would be, in essence, correcting a mistake.
“It isn’t that we have a problem with speeders out there, it’s just a mistake,” Howell said. He said that the 12 streets in Bluegrass Estates were developed and plans accepted by Commissioners Court in stages. On the streets in the earlier stages, the developer erected 30 mph speed limit signs and presented the streets for approval with the 30 mph speed limits. But on these three streets — Alabama, Idaho and Montana streets — Howell said for some reason the developer put up 35 mph signs and presented them for acceptance with that speed limit.
“We’re just trying to make the whole subdivision be 30 mph, the way it should be,” Howell said.
The court also voted Monday to make what County Auditor Kirk Kirkpatrick “two major changes” to the county’s investment policy.
At Kirkpatrick’s recommendation, the commissioners voted to name County Treasurer Debbie Rice as the county’s investment officer, rather than Kirkpatrick, and to authorize the investment officer to purchase certificates of deposit, under a set cost, for the county without the commissioners’ approval.
Kirkpatrick explained that CDs are very safe investments, and that if Price found a CD with a good interest rate, that rate could change significantly in the time it would take for her to bring the proposal to the commissioners for their approval.
Such an arrangement is “actually the norm” for many counties across the state, Kirkpatrick said.
Commissioners also approved two proclamations on Monday, one in recognition of American Red Cross Month and one in recognition of Purchasing Month.
County Judge Roger Harmon presented the Purchasing Month proclamation to Margaret Cook, the county’s former purchasing agent who is filling the office as interim purchasing agent following the firing of Purchasing Agent Jamie Brockaway. Harmon said Cook is “one professional lady” who continues to do an outstanding job for Johnson County.
Harmon presented the American Red Cross proclamation to Richard Diano, a field specialist in emergency services with the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the Red Cross in Cleburne. Diano told the court the Red Cross chapter is moving into new facilities at 915 N. Nolan River Road, and that three people from Johnson County had been in the northeast assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy, and that another Johnson County resident went to Hattiesburg, Miss., to assist victims of the recent tornado there.
In other business on Monday, the commissioners:
zx Approved a new interagency agreement between Johnson County, the city of Mansfield, the city of Burleson, Ellis County and the state of Texas for a Tri-County Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Task Force for fiscal year 2012-13. Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Powell said that the grant to pay for the task force had to be rewritten because the original grant included money for the Burleson Police Department, but that the Burleson PD, while it does participate in the task force, had chosen not to take the money or assign an officer full time to the task force.
Powell said the task force has been “phenomenally successful,” and had secured about three-quarters of a million dollars worth of equipment and property and is “one of the most proactive programs we have.”
zx Approved the temporary closure of County Road 519 by the Texas Department of Transportation so that the bridge over King Branch in Precinct 3, and the approaches to the bridge, can be replaced.
zx Voted to advertise for bids for a lawn service to maintain the laws around the County Courthouse on Main Street, the Guinn Justice Center and the new Adult Probation Building.
zx Approved racial profiling reports from constables from Precinct 1 and Precinct 2 and from Sheriff Bob Alford. Alford said county-wide, his deputies last year issued 5,535 citations and made 171 arrests resulting from traffic stops, writing tickets average $200 each. Alford said the racial breakdown of those stopped by deputies “fits well within the demographics” of Johnson County.
zx Approved payment of two invoices to Motorola, one for $149,412 and one for $1,105,500.
zx Approved reprogramming the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office’s VHF repeater frequencies to narrow band operation, according to FCC rules and regulations that went into effect Jan. 1.
zx Approved a variance for a property owner to build a second residence on property in the 5500 block of County Road 805 in Joshua, but tabled a request for a variance allowing a property owner to build eight new single-family homes on a five acre lot in the 400 block of Russell Lane in Burleson. The second variance request was tabled at the request of Precinct 3 Commissioner Jerry Stringer, who said he wanted to get more information.
zx Approved a request to declare various pieces of county-owned equipment, including a copier and a washing machine, as surplus equipment and to sell the equipment in an online auction.
zx Approved an inventory of the Indigent Health Care department, submitted by the purchasing department, following the firing on Feb. 25 of the department’s administrator, Shannon Taylor.
zx Approved renewal of the contract for real estate appraisal services with Appraisal Associates LLC.