Cherokee County TX courthouse

RUSK – Funds and purchases were the main discussion – along with COVID-19 related items – during the Cherokee County Commissioners Court meeting, held Tuesday in Rusk.

County leaders approved the filing of an application for a County Transportation Infrastructure Grant program, which Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Traylor said the county is eligible for a minimum amount of $320,903.

The grant is awarded through TxDOT, and previously Cherokee County received $425,000, Kelly said after the meeting.

Funding is based off oil and gas production, he said, noting the state follows a formula that uses information about how much production a

county has.

The money is available to all counties, but if some do not apply for the grant, funds are redistributed to others that have applied, he said.

The closing date for the application is May 27.

In other action, the court granted the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department an exemption to the competitive bid process, and authorized the purchase of a Kohler 500 KW diesel generator, which replaces one installed when the county jail was built in 1986.

The unit was purchased from Mark Henderson Electric Inc. of Palestine, and is the same as the one it will be replacing, Sheriff James Campbell said.

“We've had a few problems with the old one because of age, but it served us a good while,” he said, adding that a second generator was added in 2003, when the jail extension was built.

The cost of the new generator is $110,200, and the unit is on order. In the interim, a temporary generator is in place to power the original jail and front offices at the department, he said.

During the meeting, in addition to a COVID-19 update from county officials, the court approved separate agenda items related to the pandemic, including an addendum to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to reflect federal changes, and an interlocal cooperation contract with the Department of State Health Services and Cherokee County Public Health which provides grant funding to the county in its fight against COVID-19, County Judge Chris Davis said, following the meeting.

Additionally, county health officials provided the court with updated information about the impact of the local pandemic, he said.

“Five people (who initially tested positive for the virus) are well, three are at home recovering, and there has been one death” due to COVID-19, he said.

Officials will continue on the same path of strongly urging people to take precautionary measures to protect themselves from becoming ill.

“When you watch the news, you see that it's not over yet, so we need to keep on keeping on – people should not let down their guard” against the virus, he said.

In other action, the court:

• Approved road bore requests by entities in two different counties: One in Precinct 3, by Cherokee County Electric Co-op for work on County Road 3911, and one in Precinct 4, by Afton Grove Water, for work on CR 4236;

• Added Juvenile Services to a juror pay request form; and

• Approved a consent agenda that included Commissioners' Court meeting minutes, monthly reports from County Auditor Steven Daughety and County Treasurer Erin Curtis, and authorizing payment of bills, payroll and transfer of funds.

Cherokee County Commissioners Court meetings currently are closed to the public as part of officials keeping with guidelines issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, but have been streamed live online, according to the website www.co.cherokee.tx.us.

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