By Caleb Dorn

Gray County Commissioners Court


The Gray County Commissioners Court met, for a regularly scheduled meeting on January 16. Among the items discussed were ‘Item 5’, a discussion with Med-Trans Concerning Gray County Heliport Contract. Two representatives from Med-Trans were in attendance to inform the court on upgrades and changes coming to the heliport as well as shed insight into plans for the heliport. After meeting with Tommy Parks, who is over the Helipad, the plans to adjust the layout, to allow a better flow of traffic was decided, but also with the possibility of expanding and adding onto the heliport to allow for more to land at once when needed. In addition to the discussing of the changes to potentially come, the contract was overlooked to insure that the county would be able to get out of if need be. As it sat previously, the other party was able to leave the contract with given notice, but not Gray County. Under the order of County Judge, Chris Porter, the amendments are set to be made with clear wording to give the county that assurance. Also discussed was ‘Item 6’ Consider Grazing Contract for Perry Lefors airport.

The contract for Perry Lefors had been on the agenda more than once, with different reasons halting its progression. But, with all things finalized on the contract between Gray County and bidder, Lee Shaw, the motion was passed to allow the grazing contrast to move forward.

“The areas within the contract for grazing are laid out,” County Attorney, Josh Seaborne said. “We have also went through to ensure the wording within the contract work well for both parties.”

Without any further discussion, the item was approved and moved forward. Paul Loyd, with the Perry Lefors Airport was in attendance to discuss the possibility of the airport applying for funding to make upgrades. The new funding opportunities were opened up to airports across the U.S. and the deadline to apply is the end of the month. While Loyd wasn’t sure of the terms on the money, whether it be a 50/50 cost on the county or possibly a 90/10, leaving a lot to be questioned. The funding of 293 million dollars is to be spread across the country to airports that apply. The airport can’t apply for any funding without the approval of the Gray County Commissioners Court.

“If we don’t know the terms of the money, or the limitations, I’m not comfortable putting our name onto something without knowing.” Porter said. “We don’t know if there are any hooks to this money, so it’s something we need to find out before we decide on anything at all.”

The item was only a discussion, so no vote was needed to move onto the next item, but will be revisited potentially, if more information can be provided. ‘Item 8’ Considering an Inter-local Agreement for Office Space with Texas Division of Emergency Management was finally voted on, as the item has been on the agenda more than once. The TDEM was requesting an office space, at no cost to the county, to place a field agent in the courthouse to aid in emergency responses. The agent was granted an office space while the court worked out an agreement over the contract.

“This is of great value to our county,” Porter said. “With them here and near by, we can relief a lot of issues.”

The office space was available for use and was finally voted yes by the court on the 16 of January. On matters of emergency matters, Troy Schwiegerath of Pampa Emergency Management was in attendance to ask the court to consider enacting a burn ban for Gray County.

“We haven’t had precipitation in a good while,” Schwiegerath said. “These are the times when everything is dry and the slightest thing can cause a fire. We need a burn ban.”

When asked by Porter the exact amount of dates since Gray County had received precipitation, Schwiegerath wasn’t able to give a clear statement.

“It’s your job to know how many days we’ve gone without precipitation,” Porter said. “You have to know the exact time frame, these things matter.”

With more than enough reason to enact one, a motion to initiate a 30 day burn ban for Gray County was approved by the court.

The Court also approved the following Items:

‘Item 1’ Pay Bills as Approved by the County Auditor - The county will spend a little over $15,000 out of ARPA funds towards upgrading the Watchdog for GCSO as well as providing McLean with police radios.

‘Item 9’ Consider Adopting Rules of Court for Gray County Commissioners Court

‘Item 10’ Consider Request to Replace an Employee in the Tax Assessor and Collections Office.

Agenda Items 2, 3 and 4 had nothing to be discussed, therefore went without discussion.

The Gray County Commissioners Court will meet again on the second floor courtroom of the Gray County Courthouse on Feburary 1 at 9 a.m.