Bonham -- At a regular meeting January 28, Fannin County Commissioners approved proclamations regarding Black History Month, Texas Food Connection Week, and National Wear Red Day, nominated two county residents to the Appraisal Review Board, authorized use of the Fannin County Courthouse Square for Heritage Day and voted down a request for a $12,000 raise for a district court bailiff.
Creative Arts Center Executive Director Lisa Avila addressed Fannin County Commissioners Court Monday and asked commissioners to approve a proclamation announcing that February is Black History Month. With several exhibits planned to recognize the contributions of African Americans to local heritage and economy, Mrs. Avila said the proclamation would be a countywide endorsement of the harmonious amalgamation of all races in modern society. Commissions unanimously approved the agenda item and Fannin County Judge Spanky Carter offered to personally deliver the proclamation to Creative Arts Center Friday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m. for a reception that will feature art, music and entertainment presented by members of the black community.
336th District Judge Lauri Blake addressed commissioners to request the starting salary of the district court bailiff, currently $26,913, be raised $12,000 annually to $38,913.
By comparison, the county's patrol deputies start at $23,755.
"This needs to be brought up at budget time," said Judge Carter. "This is a budget issue."
"What about the bailiff at Fannin County Court at Law?" Fannin County Commissioner Stan Barker asked Judge Blake. "What you do for one, you do for all. I can't see giving one man a 50% increase in the middle of the year."
Commissioners were also concerned about the effect of giving one person a sizeable raise would have on the morale of other employees.
"It causes turmoil," Commissioner Barker stated.
"I think it needs to be done at budget time," Fannin County Commissioner Gary Whitlock said of the proposed salary adjustment. "I think everyone would understand it better."
Judge Blake suggested the $12,000 salary increase be taken out of the Courthouse Security Fund that is administered by Fannin County Commissioners Court; there is currently approximately $93,000 in the Courthouse Security Fund and it accrued $13,000 during the last fiscal year.
If both bailiffs were given the $12,000 raise paid from the Courthouse Security Fund, in approximately eight years the fund could be depleted and result in an increased burden to local taxpayers.
Judge Carter stated that Fannin County Commissioners Court has lowered the county tax rate for the past two years and he would work to see that trend continue.
In other business, commissioners approved Tillman Boyd and Richard Danner as nominees to the Appraisal Review Board.