County approves ban on outdoor burning

With high winds and an equally high load of combustible plant life, along with the longest persistent drought in recent history, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously to enact a ban on outdoor burning, effective for 90 days.

Land use permit being sought for sludge dump site on Hamrock Road

Image: Proposed Permit – page 1

Terra Renewal Services, Inc., of Russellville, Arkansas has applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a proposed beneficial land use permit to authorize the land application of wastewater treatment plant sludge and water treatment sludge for beneficial use on approximately 621.5 acres south of Italy.


Interim Purchasing Agent appointed

After a short executive session during Monday’s regularly-scheduled meeting of the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court, Commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Hanna McCleary as the interim Purchasing Agent.

Sale of County Buildings to Move Forward

After adjourning to executive session near the end of Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting to consult with county attorneys, Ellis County Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the County Judge to execute a contract of sale pertaining to the conveyance of all property located at 109 W. Franklin, 111 W. Franklin, 113 W. Franklin, 115 W. Franklin, 200 S. College Street, 114 S. Rogers Street, and an unnumbered lot on S. Rogers Street immediately adjacent to 115 W. Franklin in Waxahachie, Texas to Children’s Palace Investments, Inc., doing business as AZEB.

Purchasing Agent dismissed

Ellis County Commissioners met in a special session today, adjourning immediately into executive session to deliberate on personnel-related matters. After reconvening in open court, they voted unanimously to dismiss the Ellis County Purchasing Agent.

Driving Simulator Improves Employee Safety

The Texas Association of Counties is providing specialized safety training for Ellis County employees this month, utilizing a driving simulator that offers county employees a unique experience to prepare for unexpected driving situations.

Burn ban lifted

With the Keetch-Byrum Drought Index reading for Ellis County at only 186, Ellis County Commissioners voted unanimously to lift the ban on outdoor burning.

New officials sworn in

Image: Joe Grubbs was sworn in to the 378th District Court

It was a packed house for Ellis County’s swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 10 a.m. in the second floor courtroom of the Historic Courthouse in downtown Waxahachie. Voices fairly rang as the large crowd pledged allegiance to our flag, and many hummed along as Max Navarro, a student at Waxahachie’s Finley 7th Grade Center and son of County Auditor Mike Navarro gave a flawless rendition of the National Anthem.

Wilson appointed as new County and District Attorney

Image: Patrick Wilson of Waxahachie now holds the office of County and District Attorney

In a special meeting on Friday, December 17, Ellis County Commissioners appointed Patrick Wilson of Waxahachie to the office of County and District Attorney. The appointment was made necessary by the recent gubernatorial appointment of Joe Grubbs to the bench of the 378th District Court. Grubbs will replace Judge Al Scoggins, recently elected to the 10th Court of Appeals.

Ellis County issues burn ban

During this morning’s regularly scheduled meeting, Ellis County Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of a 90-day burn ban at the recommendation of Fire Marshal’s Investigator Jim Pharr.

Redistricting discussed

Ellis County Commissioners heard an educational presentation regarding the process of Redistricting that will be required in 2011 during a special meeting on December 3.

Sheriff to focus on DWI enforcement during holidays

During Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting of the Commissioners’ Court, Commissioners unanimously approved acceptance of a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation for DWI enforcement during Christmas/New Years, Spring Break, Independence Day, and Labor Day holidays.

Engineering services approved

During a special-called meeting of the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court on Monday, November 15, Commissioners approved a contract for engineering services relating to emergency communications systems interoperability and narrow-banding.

Commissioners consider radio issues

During the recent regularly-scheduled meeting of the Commissioners’ Court, Constable Terry Nay updated the Court on issues surrounding Federal Communications Commission requirements to reduce all radio communications to narrow band in January of 2013. At issue, whether to contract with TROTT Communications Group for independent engineering services or allow time for Aerowave to complete some preliminary testing first.

Commissioners’ Court provides direction for generosity

Ricardo Hernandez of Ennis was the picture of both generosity and humility on Monday evening when he approached the Commissioners’ Court with an unusual request: he wanted to donate some money to the county in order to help others. Hernandez spoke in Spanish, with his daughter to translate.

Prime Timers Luncheon with guest speaker Commissioner Heath Sims

Image: Let’s eat! — Precint 3 crew member Brian Mathiowetz joins CBC church members in the lunch line.

The monthly Prime Timers Luncheon held at the Central Baptist Church (CBC) in Italy, not only served up a great meal to guests, it also gave the community a chance to meet and enjoy a discussion with Ellis County Commissioner of Precinct 3, Heath Sims, who highlighted the current status of the county and gave insight into the everyday business of the Commissioners’ Court.

Court Approves Construction Changes

First matter on the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court agenda was to approve a change order for a contract with Prime, Inc., who constructed the Sub-Courthouse in Ennis. The change order is for an additional $6000 needed to cover unplanned costs involving an electrical entrance.

County Declares “Pink Out” Day, Honors Explorer Post 106

Image: Explorer Post 106

Ellis County Commissioners approved two proclamations during Monday’s regularly-scheduled meeting. The first declared Friday, October 1, 2010 as “Pink Out Day” in support of breast cancer awareness, while the second recognized the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post 106 in celebration of its one-year anniversary.

Letter to the Editor: County Budget

First I want to say that these thoughts have no political undertone. I am not addressing the Commissioners Court in any way. I am sure there are plenty of justified complaints with the way the county spends our money. The one thing I will say is that employee expense ranks one of the highest expenses on any budget and is always the first to be examine and reduced. That is true in any company or should be true with government.

County Budget Approved

Image: County Judge Carol Bush

There was a packed house for Thursday morning’s meeting of the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court, a scheduled public hearing regarding the 2010-2011 budget, with action on that budget following the hearing.

Burn Ban Lifted

On the recommendation of Fire Marshal’s Investigator Jim Pharr, Ellis County Commissioners voted unanimously to lift the ban on outdoor burning within Ellis County.

Ellis County Clean-Up Day Scheduled for September!

With only a little more than a week left until our Ellis County Clean-Up day event scheduled for Saturday, September 18, 2010, this is to let everyone know that we have less than “half” of our available vouchers left. If you plan to participate, remember that you will need to pick up a voucher in advance.

County to hold the line on tax rate

As required under the local government code, Ellis County Commissioners took a record vote indicating their intent not to exceed the current tax rate of $0.393599 per $100 of property valuation in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which begins on October 1.

Supplemental building projects move forward

Remodel of the facility purchased from Ellis County Auto as part of the County’s facilities bond program is expected to be completed in early September, allowing the Community Supervision Department to move out of the temporary facility on Highway 77 on schedule.

Palmer to consider sale of beer and wine

Based upon Election Administrator Jane Anderson’s certification of qualified signatures on a Local Option Petition submitted for the City of Palmer, Ellis County Commissioners ordered that an election be held in the City of Palmer “TO LEGALIZE THE SALE OF BEER AND WINE” on November 2, 2010, the next uniform election date. The City of Palmer will be responsible for the election cost.

Caution urged in use of fireworks

With soaking rains a strong possibility for the week, Ellis County Commissioners took no action on a proposed burn ban during Monday night’s meeting, opting instead to urge citizens to exercise caution in the use of fireworks during the upcoming holiday weekend.

Bond Oversight Committee concludes

“On time. Under budget.” County Engineer Joe White and Jones Lang LaSalle Vice President Jon Vidaurri repeated the usual refrain in the final meeting of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee on Monday evening.

Grand Opening Celebrated

Image: Grand Opening Ceremony

County officials and employees and members of the public gathered this afternoon to celebrate the opening of the County’s new courts and administration building, county jail expansion, and the City of Waxahachie’s new parking garage.

Ennis Student Archers honored

Image: Archers recognized — Ennis ISD Archers were honored at Ellis County Commissioners Court.

Ellis County Commissioners were proud to have an opportunity to honor Ennis Independent School District student archers for their achievement in the recent National Archery Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ellis County Clean-Up Week a great success!

Thanks to extremely heavy participation in our Ellis County Clean-Up Week, there are no more vouchers available for this event. We’ve issued 1,100 vouchers to county citizens at a total cost of just over $28,000. We appreciate the tremendous response, and look forward to similar events in the future.