Commissioners approve purchase of equipment; receive health report

LIVINGSTON – The purchase of equipment, health information and the recognition of a county employee were among the items presented Tuesday to the Polk County Commissioners Court in Livingston.

During the meeting, commissioners approved the purchase of a new front end loader and backhoe for the Precinct 4 Road and Bridge Department at a cost, after trade-in, of $90,000. Pct. 4 Commissioner Tommy Overstreet said the trade-in would be a 1995 Ford 555D backhoe.

In other business, the commissioners received a report from the Angelina County and Cities Health District regarding the services they provided to Polk County residents.

Sharon Shaw, administrator for the health district, said that while the district was established in 1967 to serve the residents of Angelina County, they have obtained funding from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to provided public health preparedness services in Polk, San Augustine and Angelina counties.

As part of these services, the district serves as a clearing house for information regarding a list of "notifiable diseases" that include botulism, diphtheria, gonorrhea, hepatitis, malaria, mumps, plague, rabies, small pox and many others. She noted that whenever a disease on the list is diagnosed in the county, the health district is notified and the information is passed on to the Centers for Disease Control.

The health district also provided operates vaccination programs for Polk County school districts. She noted that a few years ago when the H1N1 influenza outbreak was projected, it was the Angelina County and Cities health Department that came to all Polk County schools to vaccinate students.

Shaw also said her agency is tasked with monitoring anyone who comes into the three-county area who has traveled though areas of the world in which the deadly Ebola virus has been detected, including returning government employees, oilfield workers and others.

"You might not realize it, but this is the number one area in East Texas for travelers from Ebola areas," she said.
Shaw noted that should Polk County decide to set up its own health district, she would be available to assist local officials in organizing the service.

During the meeting, commissioners recognized Emergency Management Coordinator Larry Pitts, who was presented the Making a Difference Award from the Texas Association of Counties during the 2016 County Management and Risk Conference.
Other business

In other action Tuesday, commissioners:
-- Approved a request for DSL/broadband service from Eastex Net for the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace office in Onalaska.
-- Approved a $10,024.40 payment to the Texas Department of Transportation to close out a 2008 bridge construction project on FM 942 at Long King Creek.
-- Approved documentation to close out a 2008 Hurricane Ike disaster recovery project related to the replacement of culverts.