Local News
Fannin County Commissioners Court affirms zoning change, urges caution regarding COVID-19
By Allen Rich
Jul 2, 2020
Print this page
Email this article

Fannin County, Texas -- All five members of Fannin County Commissioners Court were present for a regular meeting Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The invocation was given by Chuck Jestis, pastor at Blue Ridge First United Methodist Church, and pledges were led by Maj. James Manis (Ret.).

In public forum, Jannie Bellows urged commissioners to use grant money, while funds are available, to upgrade voting systems so voters will have confidence in voting machines.

*****

Commissioners updated the Fannin County Declaration of Disaster Proclamation for Covid-19, as well as the Covid-19 Response and Continuity of Operations Plan for Fannin County, by adding GA-26 and GA-28. Commissioners also extended the disaster proclamation and the county's operations plan until July 7, 2020. 

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore asked county residents to abide by preventative measures such as wearing masks and said these precautions are particularly important for restaurants.

"I'd like to see my server have a mask on," Judge Moore remarked and he suggested contacting management if servers aren't wearing a face covering.

The county judge touched on the massive amount of misinformation on social media regarding masks. After seeing posts that claimed masks raise blood pressure and lower oxygen levels, Moore decided to put on a mask and hook up his blood pressure machine; his blood pressure actually declined slightly.

"People on Facebook -- most of them aren't doctors," Moore cautioned.

Moore noted that on Saturday, June 27, 2020, the three-county region of Cooke, Fannin and Grayson counties had 19 ICU beds available.

*****

Commissioners tabled a recommendation from DBI Engineers for water line materials supply for the Fannin County TxCDBG Project 7219149.

*****

Last week, Fannin County Commissioners Court affirmed the Change in Zoning Application for Lake Trail Estates from Ag to Rural Estate Single-Family District by a 3-1 vote; however, a supermajority is required.

Commissioners court voted again Tuesday, July 30 and approved the zoning change by a 4-1 vote, which meets the supermajority stipulation. Judge Moore and commissioners Dean Lackey, A.J. Self and Gary Whitlock voted in favor of the change, with Pct. 3 Commissioner Jerry Magness opposing the zoning change.

Judge Moore said he has talked to developer Clint Hemby regarding the need to set aside a safe area for children to play outdoors within the confines of Lake Trail Estates.

*****

Commissioners approved the Fannin County Commissionersí Annual Road Reports.

Theft of stop signs and county road signs continues to be a problem.

*****

Fannin County Commissioners Court discussed action regarding personnel or supplies for Covid-19 from the CARES Act Grant or other funding and approved a request to spend up to $1,400 from CARES Act funds to clean election equipment between voters to prevent COVID-19 transfer.

*****

Commissioners approved the following budget amendments for Road & Bridge, Precinct 4:  Add revenue to FEMA $54,433.72, add expense to Rock and Gravel $40,000.00, Culverts $5,000 and R & M Parts $9,433.72.

***** 

Commissioners approved $21,500 for supplementing materials from Garney Construction for County Road 5045 pipeline in Leonard for the next year of maintenance; adding this amount to Budget Income 79-319-179 and Expense 79-622-341.

*****

Commissioners approved a one-time severance of 3.157 acres out of a 10-acre tract on CR 4870 in Leonard.

*****

Commissioners voted to approve access to the Development Services Director to make changes to the Development Services webpage for Fannin County.

"I will be adding the culvert policies and procedures and adding a downloadable application," explained Lita Huffman, Development Services Director for Fannin County.

The culvert policy is expected to be approved at the next regular meeting of Fannin County Commissioners Court.

*****

Commissioners approved the solicitation of a formal bid for fuel and oil for vehicles at the sheriff's office and all precincts.

*****

Commissioners approved the solicitation of a formal bid for culverts for all precincts.

*****

Commissioners approved payment of bills.

*****

Commissioners discussed the Equivalent Match Program through TxDOT for bridges, culverts and more in relation to the Lake Ralph Hall Project in Fannin County.

Sidney Newman, TxDOT advanced planning engineer, explained that this is the way most counties fund their 10% match for projects.

Engineers will soon prepare estimates and an advance-funding agreement is needed to proceed; a resolution will be forthcoming.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Jerry Magness thanked TxDOT and NTMWD for recent improvements to roads and bridges in Fannin County.

*****

In the segment of the meeting reserved for comments by county commissioners and the county judge, Pct. 1 Commissioner Gary Whitlock expressed concern regarding the recent surge in COVID-19.

"I pray we can all work together on this," Commissioner Whitlock remarked, adding that wearing a mask shows respect for others.

Pct. 2 Commissioner A.J. Self said that stop signs and county road signs are being stolen in his precinct and he asked for the public to help by turning in a license plate number or a photograph if culprits are spotted stealing county property.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Jerry Magness thanked those in attendance and called the regular meeting a "good session."

Pct. 4 Commissioner Dean Lackey expects FM 897 to open in a few weeks and noted that lots of changes coming.

"This county has a lot of good things happening," Commissioner Lackey stated.

Fannin County Judge Randy Moore said that renting a road reclaimer machine would be a great benefit to the county.

Judge Moore noted that a recent budget workshop revealed that $7.4 million goes to judicial system annually, which is approximately half of the county budget.

"It leaves little for everything else," Moore acknowledged.

The county is currently experiencing a significant drop in fees and fines.

Judge Moore said he received a phone call from DPS regarding the possibility of opening the DPS office in Bonham on Saturdays in an attempt to work through the backlog, but there is a question of who would do the cleaning.

The county judge said he attended an event at Hidden Grove Resort near Honey Grove and was very impressed at the new development that will have 64 full hook-up concrete RV sites, 5 luxury cabins and 15 primitive tent campsites.  The campground includes a 7-acre pond stocked with over 3,000 fish, 3 miles of hiking trails, laundromat, showers and restrooms.. 

Moore also met with the local radio club.

 "When all power goes down, we rely on our radio club," Moore explained. "They are a great asset to us."

Moore reminded residents that COVID-19 is still out there and coming back with a vengeance in places

"I think we are going to have to learn to live with it and just keep moving," he said in closing.