The Johnson County Commissioners Court on Monday, after some discussion, approved purchase of 29 LUCAS chest compression systems at a cost of $448,157 for fire departments associated with the Johnson County Emergency Services District No. 1.
The LUCAS machines allow for automated CPR and are more safe and efficient than CPR by hand, JCESD Executive Director Tom Foster said. Foster added that the machines allow for distance between the first responder and the patient.
Commissioner Jerry Stringer agreed.
“CPR is messy,” Stringer said. “And doing it by hand will tire you out really quick. There’s also the danger of doing it by hand of breaking ribs, which can make the situation worse.”
The LUCAS, Stringer said, adjusts compressions accordingly to prevent such mishaps and better helps to get air into the patient's lungs.
Commissioners plan to seek reimbursement of the purchases from the CARES Act grant. Johnson County received about $4.1 million in CARES Act funding and has so far spent about $1.8 million. The grant assists cities, counties and other governmental entities cover costs associated with mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commissioners addressed the LUCAS purchases while discussing the county’s recent purchase of about $600,000 worth of masks and other personal protection equipment, which will also benefit JCESD fire departments as well as other county workers.
Several commissioners initially voiced reservations about the LUCAS purchases. The fear being that the county may get stuck with the cost should the federal government not reimburse the cost.
Stringer and others countered that numerous other fire departments have purchased the machines through CARES Act funding and that the machines appear to meet the guidelines for CARES Act reimbursement.
Those guidelines, County Attorney Bill Moore said, require that items or services purchased be necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that the items or services in question were not budgeted for in the governmental entities previous budget. The items or services must also be purchased between March 1 and Dec. 31, Moore said.
Commissioners also approved grants of $5,000 each to nine businesses within unincorporated areas of the county. The approval marked the second and final round of the grant awards, commissioners having approved 19 grants earlier this month.
The grants, which derive from CARES Act funding, are meant to assist businesses hard hit by the recent COVID-19 shutdowns. The city of Cleburne earlier this summer enacted a similar grant program for Cleburne businesses albeit one with an alternate funding source.
County Judge Roger Harmon announced that a public hearing on the county’s proposed property tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year will be held at 9 a.m. Monday in the Johnson County Courthouse, 2 N. Main St. in Cleburne. The proposed rate — .425 cents per $100 of valuation — is the same as the current year’s rate. The county’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
“I think it’s good we’re looking at keeping the rate the same despite large losses in our revenues this year because of the coronavirus,” Harmon said.
Bailey commented that commissioners lowered the tax rate by a nickel last year.
Harmon announced that commissioners will hold a public hearing on the county’s proposed budget at 9 a.m. Sept. 28 in the Johnson County Courthouse after which they will officially vote on adoption of the proposed tax rate and budget.
Commissioners, following a public hearing, approved installation of No Thru Truck signs on County Road 108C from Farm-to-Market Road 1807 to Alvarado city limits. CR 108C becomes Maple Avenue once it crosses into Alvarado, Commissioner Larry Woolley said. Alvarado plans to install similar signs on the road in their city limits, he said.
The issue, Alvarado Police Chief Brad Anderson said, is a steep rise in the roadway, which has caused problems with tractor trailers getting stuck.
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