Ellis County commissioners discussed for almost a hour how to best allocate the use of law enforcement vehicles within the county. Two agenda items were posted regarding which department needs the vehicles along with a proposed purchase of three new SUVs.

The discussion began with an agenda item authorizing the purchasing department to acquire three Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs; two for the sheriff’s office and one for the emergency management coordinator’s office. The agenda item set a total for the purchases at $125,000 for the fully equipped vehicles.

Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown came to the podium with pricing estimates for the two vehicles for his department. “To purchase and completely equip two units will be over $104,000,” Brown said.

Brown said that he needed to replace a unit that caught on fire and burned, with all of the equipment lost. The second vehicle for the department will replace a fully equipped patrol car, which will be transferred to Constable Jimmy Ray’s department. “I’ll take that trade, a used car with miles on for a brand new vehicle,” Brown said

The agreement with the sheriff is that his department will give one of the constables a fully equipped, highway ready vehicle.

During the conversation, Constable Terry Nay was asked about the number of vehicles in his department. “I have three, two on the road and one back up that will soon be used,” Nay said.

Judge Carol Bush and the commissioners asked if the extra vehicle was for the grant funded vehicle inspection program. “Yes, that car came from the program, and is used as a back up if we have one go down,” Nay said.

“ I do not see that it is unreasonable with two high mileage and one low mileage car to keep the one high mileage one in reserve,” Commissioner Paul Perry said.

“We need to use all of our resources where we need them the most,” Bush responded.

The commissioners continued on the agenda item for the vehicle purchase. Pct. 2 Commissioner Lane Grayson asked about purchasing the third vehicle that would be assigned to the emergency management coordinator’s office. “I do not see the need as there is no one in the position at this time,” Grayson said.

The commissioners unanimously approved the purchase of the two Tahoe SUVs for the sheriff office and delayed the third vehicle purchase. The final approval amount was $105,000.

Following a brief executive session to discuss an action item for a right or way agreement with TxDOT, the commissioners unanimously agreed with the contribution agreements.

The agreements are for the construction of seven bridges in the county. Two of the bridges are located on Farm-to-Market 55, three are on Farm-to-Market 875, and one on Farm-to-Market 66.

“Where at all possible, when constructing a new bridge, TxDOT will close traffic to one lane rather than acquiring additional right-of-way,” County Engineer Joe white said.

The action authorizes the county judge to execute to TxDOT an on-line system right-of-way contribution agreement.

Another request for the commissioners’ consideration was for DFW Communications to re-tension the guide wires on the communication tower in Ennis and to repair the mast and straighten the antenna located on the Bristol Water Tower.

“This is a very technical procedure and has to be done with several instruments to make sure the mast is straight and vertical,” Smith said, The total cost of both antennas was estimated to be $55,000.

The commissioners heard a presentation by a representative of North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (NTBHA) to become the community health care facility for Ellis County. The commissioners unanimously approved the resolution for the agency.