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Fannin County Commissioners Court presents Distinguished Service Award to Fannin County Historical Commission
By Allen Rich
May 23, 2024
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Fannin County, Texas -- Fannin County Judge Newt Cunningham presided over a regular meeting of Fannin County Commissioners Court held Tuesday, May 21, 2024, with Pct. 1 Commissioner Dale McQueen, Pct. 2 Commissioner A.J. Self and Pct. 4 Commissioner Doug Kopf in attendance. Pct. 3 Commissioner Jerry Magness was absent.

The meeting opened with an invocation by Judge Cunningham, and pledges were led by U.S. Navy veteran, Larry Standlee.


In public forum, Molly Hayes reminded residents that early voting for primary runoff elections is going on through Friday, May 24  and primary runoff election day is Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Judge Cunningham discussed an ongoing dispute with Steve Bergenholtz regarding permits for septic systems and the county judge cautioned Bergenholtz against threatening behavior towards county employees.

Bergenholtz is apparently insinuating that Cunningham received preferential treatment in regards to the appraisal on two lake lots and corresponding septic permits.

"Mr. Bergenholtz, I invite you to investigate further," Cunningham stated. "There is nothing here for you to get your hooks into. My life is an open book. I'm a public official."


Routine items

Commissioners court approved payment of bills totaling $171,709.02.


Bonham Fire Chief Scott Ridling presented the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) report for April 2024.

Chief Ridling reported 394 calls in April, which he described as "pretty steady."

Judge Cunningham noted that the City of Bonham has provided financial information regarding EMS as the county prepares to consider another five-year contract to provide countywide EMS services.

Chief Ridling said Bonham EMS has been providing this service since July 13, 2002.


Fannin County Judge Newt Cunningham presented the 2023 Distinguished Service Award to the Fannin County Historical Commission.

"I appreciate what you do and apparently the Texas Historical Commission appreciates what you do, too," Cunningham said in appreciation of this over-achieving group of dedicated local historians.

(L-R) A.J. Self, Pct. 2 Commissioner; Larry Standlee, Fannin County Historical Commission; Dale McQueen, Pct. 1 Commissioner; Newt Cunningham, Fannin County Judge; Malinda Allison, Fannin County Historical Commission; Mart Means, Fannin County Historical Commission; Margo McCutcheon, Fannin County Historical Commission; Doug Kopf, Pct. 4 Commissioner; Tom Thornton, Fannin County Historical Commission. photo by Lisa Loiselle


A request to hold farmers market at the courthouse was removed from the agenda. 


Discussion, consideration and action items

By a 3-0 vote, commissioners court voted against inserting a water gap into the fence to be replaced on CR 3210 over Bullard Creek due to the TxDOT bridge construction; the Memorandum of Agreement for the easement was signed on August 10, 2023.

Property owner Paul Wolter said he assumed the project included a water gap and asked for whatever is customary.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Doug Kopf pointed out that this new bridge is a vast improvement over the dilapidated bridge it replaces and said Mr. Wolter almost got this project stopped by his litany of complaints.

Commissioner Kopf noted that the Memorandum of Understanding doesn't include a water gap.

"I have three bids on this and none of them include a water gap," Commissioner Kopf told Wolter.

Kopf, Pct. 1 Commissioner Dale McQueen and Pct. 2 Commissioner A.J. Self voted against inserting a water gap into the fence; Judge Cunningham abstained.


Fannin County Commissioners Court approved an order allowing for the sale of fireworks for Memorial Day beginning May 22, 2024 and ending at midnight May 27, 2024.


Commissioners court approved an agreement with Quadient, Inc. regarding the leasing of two postage meters at $246.42 per month for 60 months, with amendments by Judge Cunningham.


Commissioners court approved the purchase of a John Deere 6110M with Diamond Boom Mower from Diamond Mowers for $198,944.74 for Precinct 4; to be paid from Precinct 4 Tex Pool Funds.


Commissioners court approved the rental of a Caterpillar RM-300 Reclaimer for $19,500.00, plus freight charge of $2,350.00 and a Caterpillar CS54B Smooth Drum Roller for $6,000.00, plus freight charge $1,500.00 for a total of $29,350.00 for 1 month for Precinct 3.


Commissioners court approved the rental of a Hitachi ZX60 Mini Excavator with a 48” ditch bucket from ASCO Rentals for one month; $3,309.04 from fund 210-621-4600 (Rentals/Leases).


Commissioners court approved hiring seasonal workers under the supervision of Fannin County’s Maintenance Facilities Coordinator to perform repairs to the Courthouse jury chairs and basement sloping and leveling at a cost not to exceed $5,000.

The workers would be under the direct supervision of Fannin County Director of Maintenance, Ruben Moreno.


Open discussion items

(Open discussion items will be passed on unless discussion requested by a member of the court or a citizen.)

A discussion of courthouse repairs and litigation focused on a hearing coming up Friday, May 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the district courtroom at the south annex. The hearing is in regard to a 202 motion that could open up pertinent information to discovery.

In this instance, discovery is a pre-trial process that enables the plaintiff to collect evidence necessary to prove their case.

This hearing is open to the public.


In regards to the justice center, Judge Cunningham said he expects a cost estimate shortly.


In a discussion of the county budget and revenue sources, Pct. 1 Commissioner Dale McQueen brought it to  the court's attention that the county could be bringing in as much as $40,000 each month in interest by restructuring accounts so that more money can be moved to TexPool accounts currently drawing 5.3% interest.

Commissioner McQueen said he has discussed this scenario with the county treasurer and county auditor and believes this can be accomplished without adversely affecting county operations.


In regard to water issues affecting Fannin County, Commissioner Kopf is continuing to meet with local city leaders in an effort to reconstitute the Fannin County Water Supply Agency. Members of the agency are being asked to step up and attend meetings or step aside.


Fannin County Commissioners Court had no need to go into executive session.


With Fannin County Clerk Tammy Biggar resigning in order to work for the Secretary of State, Judge Cunningham encouraged qualified county clerk candidates to contact party chairs.