The increase of values set on land and property by the Jasper County Appraisal District was the main focus of many who attended the regular monthly meeting of the Jasper County Commissioners Court on Monday. A large number of people from throughout the county appeared and voiced their frustrations.
The first major item on the agenda was to present a petition for a local option election in Precinct 3 on the southern end of Kirbyville. Laura Nance with Me Maw’s Convenience Store on Highway 96 had circulated a petition to place the local option for alcohol sales on the November ballot. The petition needed 950 registered voters’ signatures to put the item on the ballot, but the number of verified signatures but fell short of that number on the last day allowed for submission, so it appears that the issue will not go before the voters in November as planned.
Mark Mueller formerly from Evadale and now living in Buna was nominated by Precinct #4 Commissioner, Vance Moss to fill a vacancy on the Emergency Services District #1 board. Commissioners approved the nomination.
The Commissioners approved an extension of grazing rights for Gary Drgac on the Jasper County’s School Land in Pecos County, Texas. Drgac has been grazing his cattle on the 9000 acre tract for $31,500 annually.
The item that brought about the most public discussion was when the Commissioners were voting on the renewal of the County Health plan. Jasper County pays the insurance for county employees and costs are of course rising. Discussion about the cost being passed on to tax payers and the number of employees were brought up. Then some commented that they were paying property taxes and doing without insurance. Then the discussion turned into problems with property appraisals. Commissioner Seth Martindale of Precinct #1 said that it has become a finger pointing exercise as the “blame game” as Martindale put it seems to be pitting local officials against one another while many of the problems are passed down from Austin. Commissioners did finally approve the insurance plan while assuring those present that they do look for savings and efficiency any place they can.
The other items included various reports and the payment of the County’s bill before adjourning.