10:00 AM. Houston County Commission Meeting - Five New School Resource DeputiesRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jul 05 2018 10:43 AM
HOUSTON COUNTY: 10:00 AM. The Houston County Commission met for their regular Administrative Meeting.
Chairman Mark Culver and all County Commissioners - Curtis Harvey, Doug Sinquefield, Jackie Battles and Brandon Shoupe were present.
Chairman Culver reminded the public on July 17 their will be a runoff election. One is the District 3 Houston County Commission and some state offices such as Lt. Governor of Alabama, Attorney General and AG Commissioner. Chairman Culver urges everyone to vote For your choice.
Chairman Culver said Friday night is Foster Fest in Downtown Dothan. A great time and great event. Plenty of water to keep you cool. Foster Fest has turned out to be one of the largest events in our area.
The Houston County Commission will approve on Monday to amend the Sheriff Department budget by $ 42,340.40 effective August 1, 2018. Present for today’s meeting is David School, School Superintendent David Sewell.
Sheriff Donald Valenza, the Houston County Commission, Superintendent David Sewell and the Houston County Board of Education have worked together, put their heads together, and decided one way or the other school security had to be addressed. It was time for ”boots on the ground”.
The commission will approve and by August 1 five new deputies approved for the schools. School begins on August 3.
This would increase from 2 to 7 School Resource Officers.
The Houston County Commission funds the Houston County School System with $ 41,667.00. The School Board has agreed to waive those funds for two years to help the Houston County Commission fund these additional two deputies.
School Superintendent David Sewell said this would help the schools with deputies with arrest powers. When school is out it will allow additional deputies on the street. So he feels this is a win win situation. Sewell said the schools have made significant improvement on facility improvements for security.
Major Rafferty said Sheriff Valenza has added a second school resource officer on his own. With these 5 it will make deputies available at or near each school At all times during the school day. This will protect the children and have armed arresting deputies on site or within seconds of each school.
Major Rafferty said Sheriff Donald Valenza’s beleif has been as soon as information is received the Department is on it. If informaiton comes in at midnight within minutes a investigator is on it.
Chairman Culver said this has been an important issue. The school system has a one year grant but the approval of the commission is from now on and not for the one year. Chairman Culver said this is a win - win for everyone. Chairman Culver said this handles the problem NOW but the commission will have to continue to work with the Sheriff Department and schools to continue the solution and make it work.
Chairman Culver commends Sheriff Donald Valenza for being so focused on this issue and obtaining a resolution.
Commissioner Sinquefield said the five additonal deputies hired will not need additional vehicles. Major Rafferty said they have spare vehicles. They will make it work. Not sure what Commission will do on vehicles in budget and then decisions will be made.
Chairman Culver said these deputies will not be riding the county and they will make it happen.
Commissioner Jackie Battles asked Major Rafferty is the Sheriff Department had two now? Yes. Commissioner Battles said that will make a total of 7. Commissioner Battles said he supports this and think’s it is great to take care of our precious resources, the children.
Commissioner Brandon Shoupe wanted to underscore the significance of this commitment. We have not had the money for roadways, cars and other items. Commissioner Shoupe said this is a sacrifice of other things to make things happen.
Chairman Culver was quite forward when the meeting happened of funding and not having additional money.
But Commissioner Sinquefield the feeling of all commissioners - the children are our future and responsibility.
The Houston County Commission will be se to Monday to fill a vacancy on the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development Commission Revolving Loan Fund Board. The appointment is expected to be Alice Beckham.
The commission will approve the 2017 insolvements, error and taxes ub litigation and uncollected insolvents, and litigations for previous years for final settlement with the State of Alabama.
The commission will approve a resolution to transfer the building located at 175 North Foster Street to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority and to authorize Commission Chairman to execute documents. The building housed the Houston County Juvenile Court Services. This Department has moved to the basement of the Houston County Courthouse. All court functions are now in the Houston County Courthouse.
The commission funds the Dothan Downtown Redevelopment Authority. The DDRA will purchase the building at $ 108,000.00 in a funding exchange. The building has no air conditioning upstairs. The commission has once been offered $ 50,000.00 for the building before. Commissioner Brandon Shoupe said the price is fair and the DDRA has done a great job rebuilding downtown and bringing commerce downtown. Shoupe is excited to see what Dothan will do.
Commissioner Shoupe would like to see the success Dothan has had move to other areas across the county to make their downtowns thrive. Chairman said Ashford, Columbia and Cottonwood downtowns it is the commissioners desire to make their efforts thrive.
Commissioner Sinquefield said the utilities cost the commission $ 25,000.00 a year. Commissioner Sinquefield said the municipalities outside the Dothan area could benefit from the money and the cities like Ashford, Cottonwood and Columbia are doing a greater job in working on making their downtown’s grow.
Chairman Culver said this is a tight budget year and we do not need to be in the real estate business.
Commissioner Jackie Battles asked are their any issues or EPA issues. County Attorney Press Register knows of no issues but the commission would be responsible for any during their ownership.
The Houston County Commission will approve the request for a budget amendment for inmate drug and medical supplies from $ 85,000.00 to $ 170,000.00. Houston County Sheriff Major Raffearth said $ 111,540.00 has been spent on speciality medicine for inmates at the jail. Major Rafferty said they can not control these and prescribed by outside physicians. Without these speciality medications the Jail has only spent $ 20,000.00 of the budgeted amount.
Commissioner Shoupe asked if these medications are on the inmates that require certian medications. The PA at the jail talks with physicians about trying to get different medications. But these are speciality doctors the jail has no control over. Commissioner Shoupe said pharmaceutical companies, he is not a fan of them right now.
Chairman Culver asked when someone comes into the jail and not a Houston County inmate, such as Florida, and they have a medical issue, do we work close to get those inmates to thier final destination. Major Rafferty said they do. One inmate belonged to another state and sometimes it takes time when the person does not sign a waiver. Houston County spent $ 70,000.00 on that inmate. The bill was sent to Bay County and they returned it to Houston County saying the inmate belonged to Houston County at the time of the expenditure.
Major Rafferty also said unfortunately the State has placed persons with mental issues in jails rather than behavioral treatment facilities. That is unfair and the Houston County Sheriff Department has no choice.
Commissioner Shoupe asked if when a inmate has been picked up from another state and has the other state picked up their expenses. Major Rafferty said he can not answer that question. Rafftery said unfortunately the department has to obey the law and if they have felony arrest warrants the Sheriff Department has to pick them up.
Major Rafferty said the court system works with the Houston County Sheriff Department to work with them on inmates with issues.
Major Rafferty said the department has had 12 to 15 inmates with major medical issues which has taken up the budget.
Commissioner Sinquefield asked was their an increase in inmates with HIV? Major Rafferty said that is a issue. Major Rafferty said they have no control over a persons medical expenses when arrested. For the past 5 years it has been great but they have had a increase in inmates with speciality medications.
No more items for the agenda.
Former Houston County Community Corrections Department Head Gary Knight addressed the commission. Knight asked for a online register of funding for county expenses. What Knight wants is a “open checkbook” online for all Houston County spending and income to be available online.