The Gray County Commissioners met on Tuesday morning for a regularly-scheduled meeting.
During the meeting, the Commissioners opened a lone bid for the County Road 3 project from Advanced Pavement Maintenance Limited.
The bid was in two parts, the first being $1,077,195 and the second being billed to Keystone Towers for $96,941 for a total of $1,174,136.
The County has $530,000 budgeted for the project including some federal grant money. There was some lengthy discussion on whether or not the County could do some of the job and cut some costs. The initial look at the savings to the County if they did it themselves would be around $100,000, not to mention neglecting other needs of other County roads and properties.
There has been some speculation about whether or not the County could use some additional federal grant money from the American Rescue Plan on this project.
Eventually, Commissioner Jeff Haley noted some capital project funds the County had been saving that could be used.
“The fact of the situation is we are committed to Keystone and this project on the road,” Haley said. “We budgeted $530,000 and had one bid. We have a deadline and we have to move on.
“The County’s been rat-holing $150,000 every year and now we have $650,000 in capital projects that could cover this bill. Hopefully we can get federal money (ARP) to cover this. Unfortunately, we’ve held that money back to buy equipment, but we all know we will have to sit and realize any equipment we need are going to need (in the future) went into this road from Keystone if we decide to do it.”
County Judge Chris Porter said the general consensus is they will move forward with the project, the question is how will they pay for it. This will not be the last discussion on the item, but the Commissioners approved the project.
The Commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding with the Emergency Services Unit.
The MOU was modeled after the one ESU signed with the City of Pampa and there was some discussion about terminology in the contract, specifically with the term “self-deploy” and who gives the ESU the authority to block traffic in the event of a wreck.
Lieutenant Lizz Beason with the Gray County Sheriff’s Office explained that ESU usually doesn’t show up at a wreck without being called to it.
“I’ve never seen them just show up,” Beason said. “Every time I’ve seen them they were called out.”
Porter explained the ESU usually listens to scanner traffic and then talk amongst themselves on who can show up at a scene.
“Part of that self-deployment is they are monitoring the scanner activity and when they hear a crash, they are discussing who is available to go to this to start reacting,” Porter said. “I had a discussion with (Pampa City Manager) Shane Stokes about the ‘self-deployment’ because I was sticky with that. This basically allows them off of scanner information to get ready and respond.”
Commissioner Logan Hudson noted there is a section where the ESU has to report to the commanding officer in charge of the incident. Porter said the ESU does not have authority on the scene, nor can they run lights and drive above the speed limits to get to a scene.
“They are not breaking the law in the performance of their duties is what I’ve been told,” Porter said. “We are hung up on ‘deploy.’ But my understanding of ‘self-deploy’ is when (ESU Director) Rob Hampton hears a wreck on the radio, he is calling people saying ‘We have a wreck on Highway 60 one mile west, are you available to go work that wreck?’ Because he has nine people who have vehicles that are marked and lit up. If we wait until dispatch to call them out, that slows down the process.”
Beason explained that she would prefer to have the ESU mobilizing and ready to go in the event of a wreck, rather than them take the “wait-and-see” approach.
“I would rather them be moving and us tell them we don’t need them, than it be such a disaster that dispatch is too busy to call them and we are waiting for them to show up,” Beason said.
The question was asked if they are communicating on law enforcement/fire frequencies, which Porter said they won’t be.
The Commissioners did approve the memorandum.
The Commissioners also approved the following items:
• Pay Bills as Approved by the County Auditor
• Budget Amendments
• County Treasurer’s Monthly Report
• Accept County Clerk’s Report
• Modification of Grant or Agreement with the USDA, Forest Service
• Approval of Notary for the County Attorney’s Office
• Accept Continuing Learning Education Credits and Acknowledge the Distinction of County Judge Fellowship for the County Judge
The Commissioners postponed the following items:
• Receive CARES ACT Funding for Perry Lefors Airport 2021. This item was listed wrong on the agenda and is actually for the Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program (ACRGP).
• FIT Investment Pool from the County Treasurer