By Greg Peak
LIVINGSTON – The purchase of new electronic voting equipment and a computer-based after-hours medical system for the Polk County Jail were given the green light Tuesday by the Polk County Commissioners Court.
During the meeting, commissioners authorized County Clerk Schelana Hock to purchase the Verity electronic voting equipment that has been approved by the Texas Secretary of State. Cost of the equipment will be $569,623 and will be obtained from Hart Intercivic, Inc. under a state buyboard contract.
County Judge Sydney Murphy noted that the purchase was included in the 2018 budget's capital purchase projections.
Hock told the court earlier that the current voting equipment is getting old and is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain parts and service when it breaks down.
In other discussion, the commissioners approved a three-month contract with Futurus Telemed, PLLC, for after-hours inmate medical services at the Polk County Jail.
Under the system that will be put into place, the company will install computer equipment in the jail that will allow the jail staff to teleconference with a registered nurse or a doctor when a medical issue arises during the times the jail's regular medical staff is off duty. The hours it will be used will be weekdays from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m., weekends, holidays or when the local doctor is either ill or on vacation.
The system is designed to allow medical personnel to see and speak with inmate patients using the teleconference system and determine an appropriate medical treatment. Company representatives said this should reduce the number of trips by inmates to the hospital emergency room.
Cost of the service will be $3,500 per month with the company providing the computer equipment and the training need for jail personnel to utilize it.
Commissioners indicated this is one of the options available to meet state mandated medical care for county prisoners. At the end of the initial three-month trial, they will evaluate how efficient and cost effective it is.
While the medical contract was accepted by the commissioners, final approval will not come until after it has been reviewed by attorneys with the Polk County Criminal District Attorney's Office.
During the meeting, the commissioners also:
• Corrected the list of consolidated voting place for the Nov. 7 constitutional amendment election. When it was approved by the court last month, those who reside in voting boxes 3, 4, 7, 16, 18 and 21 were designated to cast their ballots at the Livingston City Hall. However, the county had previously agreed to move voting from the city hall across the street to the Polk County Courthouse, so during Tuesday's meeting, commissioners formally voted to designated the courthouse as the consolidated voting location for those boxes.
• Approved a construction change order for the new Livingston Senior Citizens Center now under construction. The change order was tabled at the Sept. 18 meeting when commissioners objected to having to pay for a $3,200 error made on the sidewalk leading from the parking area to the front door. The slope of the sidewalk did not comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements which officials had made clear from the start of the project had to be met. The change order approved Tuesday, eliminated those costs and added only $907.14 to the total construction cost.
• Approved a request from the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace's Office to purchase a scanner and Cloud Storage at a cost of $1,077.22.
• Agreed to advertise for proposals for a county compensation and benefits study. The study would compare the salaries and benefits received by county employees with those with similar jobs in counties and private companies in this area of the state. Information from the study would be used when commissioners begin working on the budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
• Voted to reschedule their second December meeting from Tuesday, Dec. 26, to Wednesday, Dec. 27. The meeting time will remain at 10 a.m.
• Agreed to remove Mankins from the county road system at the request of the owner of all the adjoining property.
• Approved a construction change order for the RoyOMartin oriented strand board project in Corrigan. The Texas Department of Agriculture provided a grant to install water and sewer to the new manufacturing plant and the change order will apply to a sewage lift station. Murphy noted that the City of Corrigan had agreed to cover the cost of this change.
• Agreed to extend the period in which county employees could use leave time from the additional hours worked during the Hurricane Harvey emergency. Under the county's policy, employees would have had to take "comp time" by the end of the year or lose it. Under the extension, they now will have until the end of March.
• Named Rebecca Marlow as the permit/inspection supervisor for the county.
• Appointed the Sick Leave Pool Committee for the county by random drawings from among the names of county employees.