— By JUDY SHERIDAN
In their only split vote Monday, Parker County commissioners voted 4-1 to increase the salary of a full-time 911 addressing deputy, using funds from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
Judge Mark Riley opposed the increase — from a $27,000 salary to a Grade 7 Step 5 salary of $34,953 — after asking if the employee was a department head or clerk.
“I’m not sure that’s the appropriate salary for that position,” he said, “and it’s the wrong time of year to be doing that kind of readjustment and reclassification.”
Commissioner George Conley, who put the issue on the agenda, said the employee was significantly underpaid. He said he tried to get her salary adjusted — unsuccessfully — during budget time.
Permitting and 911 Addressing Department Director Kirk Fuqua said the North Central Texas of Governments is reimbursing 19 counties for their efforts in developing a pictograph that tracks individual tracts of land.
As a result, he said, more than $23,000 has been transferred to the county’s general fund.
Fuqua said he surveyed surrounding counties — including Wise, Hood, Johnson and Palo Pinto — and found that salaries for 911 coordinators with the same responsibilities range from $32,000 to $50,000.
The job entails assigning addresses to new county residents as well as working with NCTCOG on mapping unincorporated areas.
In other action commissioners:
• Accepted the offer of a recently appointed citizens’ courthouse enhancement committee to raise funds for Christmas decorations both inside and outside the historic courthouse. According to committee chairperson Donna Tillman, the decorations might include a big star on the top of the bell tower — as of old — a large artificial tree on the lawn, a tree inside and lighting for sidewalks, bushes and windows. Tillman said the committee wants to have a tree-lighting ceremony, perhaps at Thanksgiving, and plans to begin fundraising by starting a courthouse facebook page and opening an account at Plains Capital Bank.
• Approved April 27 as a day to highlight the historic courthouse — by giving several tours — in recognition of county government month, sponsored by the National Association of Counties.
• Approved an agreement between the county and the City of Weatherford to lease the city’s crack seal equipment for 28 days for $3,500. “The cheapest route is going through Weatherford rather than leasing it from someone else,” Precinct 4 commissioner Dusty Renfro, who initiated the agreement, said, “and it obviously benefits one of our cities.”
• On the recommendation of Fire Marshal Shawn Scott authorized the county to file an objection with the FCC for the City of Joshua’s proposal to use radio frequencies that could be used by the county in the future.
• Renewed a contract with VFIS for volunteer fire insurance for $12,145.
• Approved expenses for volunteer Michael Baldwin and part-time employee Ian Christiansen to attend the Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio March 25-28.
• Approved shifting $88,000 in discretionary transportation bond funds in precinct 2 from a project to widen Holbrook Road to a project to straighten the intersection of East Dry Creek Road and Zion Hill. Holbrook Road is now in precinct 1, due to a change in precinct boundaries.
• Renewed an agreement with Tarrant Regional Auto Crimes Task Force, an organization where many counties work together to share information and use assets that are seized.
• Approved adding required debarment verification to the county purchasing policy, essentially agreeing not to do business with any vendors the federal government has debarred — those under indictment, for example — when it comes to grant funding. The requirement stems from a compliance review done by the State of Texas for homeland security grant funds.