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Wood County Commissioners Court

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Ambulance response questioned; Software compatibility solution?
By JOHN SPARKS

Meeting with a lengthy 25 item agenda for first meeting of 2007, Commissioners and a new Wood County Judge were faced with two dilemmas: where is the accountability for sub-standard response time for ambulance service in Wood County, and does the implementation of a new computer software package at the Wood County Appraisal District require major expenditures and new software packages throughout other Wood County departments? The court also voted to accept a recommendation by the Wood County Crime Victim Assistance Coordinator to realign the function by establishing an office and staff member at the Wood County Justice Center.

Judge Bryan Jeanes presided over his first open meeting of the Wood County Commissioners Court on Friday, January 12. All four commissioners were present for the meeting.

The ambulance response time question was posed by Ben Witeking, of Texas Walls in Alba. Witeking said his firm called for ambulance services three times in the past year, and none of the responses to those calls were within the 20-to-25 minute standard he understood to be a part of the agreement between the county and ETMC. He cited the most recent instance on December 20, 2006, when an employee suffered a fatal heart attack at the company's plant.

In the December 20 instance, Witeking said, the ambulance that responded to the Texas Walls' call was dispatched from Lindale and not from the two ambulances that he understood to be located in nearby Mineola. He said, "I know that there is a Champion ambulance stationed in Emory, which is only six or seven miles away. It makes sense that an Emory-based ambulance could have gotten to our plant much more quickly than one from Lindale." Witeking questioned the rationale of the central dispatching service in Tyler in this particular case.

Wood County has agreements in place with ambulance services with the eastern portion of the county served by Champion and the western portion served by ETMC.

Judge Jeanes and the Commissioners Court will seek a detailed log of responses from both ambulance services that serve Wood County to see if improvements in response times could be improved.

Wood County Tax Assessor/Collector Tommie Bradshaw was present at the meeting to discuss a problem of incompatibility between her office's computer system and that of the Wood County Appraisal District's newly installed system. She reported that records could not be transferred between the systems electronically and therefore must be entered digitally by her staff.

Randy Parish, director of information technologies for the county explained the Appraisal district's new system is not compatible with the system currently in use throughout other county-wide departments. He indicated initial discussions with software providers place a cost of at least $60,000 to solve the appraisal district/tax collector problem. But, the judge and commissioners pointed out that other county functions (other than the collector's office) also may be impacted.

Bradshaw said she had contacted a number of tax collectors in other counties faced with the same problem. Based on those discussions she could not recommend the solution offered by the appraisal district's provider.

The vendor for the appraisal district offers a software package that could make the two systems more compatible as does the provider of the county's packages-The Software Group.

Parish and the commissioners court will discuss the problems with the county's current vendor and the appraisal district' vendor to seek a cost effective solution to establish.

A decision to add an office in the Wood County Justice Center for a professional to serve the county's crime victims was approved as recommended by Jalayne Robinson coordinator of the services provided primarily by grant funds from the state. The function will continue to report to the Criminal District Attorney. "By having an office in the justice center," Robinson said, "victims can access services prior to a case reaching the CDA. There can be a delay of weeks or months," she said. The source of the county's share in matching funds required by one of the state grants has not yet been determined.

Commissioners also approved:
- Claims of $247,096.00 and $661.49.
- Two-week payroll of $260,376.77.
- Two-week employee/family health claims of $162,664.26.
- Appointment of Becky Burford as Wood County Auditor for another two years (appointed by 402nd District Judge).
- Conducted public hearing for cancellation of Preston Place Subdivision (Pct. 1).
- Plat change (combining some lots) for Black Berry Creek Subdivision (Pct. 1).
- Plat for Oak Leaf Meadows subdivision (five lots off of CR 2320) (Pct. 2).
- Plat for Flying "W" subdivision (three lots off of CR 2210) (Pct. 2).
- Appointment of Glen Davis to board of directors of Wood County Industrial Commission from City of Quitman.
- Appointment of Gary McKinley and Osma Carroll as members of the East Texas Economic Development District.
- Advertising for bids for new dump truck for Pct. 4 R&B.
- Activity report of Constable Steve Bowser, Pct. 1.
- Updated authorized signators for Texas Capital Fund Program.
- Proceeding with renewal process for liability, professional and property insurance through the Texas Association of Counties (County has $18,072 in credits which can be applied to premiums).
- Reconstitution of Wood County Jury Wheel.
- Final document for amendment # 12 to employee health plan.
- Renewal of contract with Securus Technologies for upgraded inmate telephone service and security cameras (4.4 percent increase in rate).
Personnel actions approved, were:
- Kasandra Michele Ramey, resignation, Assistant District Attorney.
- Judy Trammel, reduction in force, part-time, Election Administrators Office.
- Perry Pennington, new hire, part-time, auto registrations, Tax Assessor/Collector, $8.50/hour.
- Kathy Lynn Lutonsky, promotion, senior assistant treasurer from assistant treasurer, County Treasurer's Office, from 13.17/hour to 13.61/hour.
- Clarence Holmes, resignation, deputy sheriff, WCSO.
- Robert Low Holland, new hire, deputy sheriff, WCSO, $15.68/hour.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Wood County Commissioners Court is Friday, January 26 at 10 a.m. A special meeting of the court can be called with 72-hour public notice.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2009 14:28  

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