Ellis County Commissioners approved to spend $500,000 on the purchase of new vehicles for the sheriff’s office, constables, and the maintenance department at their Tuesday morning meeting.
County Judge Carol Bush stated she would leave the decision up to her fellow commissioners to decide how the funds would be dispersed.
“There was not a clear consensus of what vehicles should be purchased,” said Bush, who abstained from the vote. “One vehicle that does need to be purchased is a maintenance vehicle that was totaled out. The repairs exceed the value."
The discussion went back-and-forth on how the money designated in the county vehicle fund would be utilized.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry advocated using $30,000 for the maintenance vehicle, $320,000 for the sheriff’s office and the remaining $150,000 to be split between the constables with the provision that they would be limited to two vehicles in their fleet. His motion failed to pass.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Lane Grayson sought to increase the amount to $420,000 for the sheriff's office. His motion failed to pass as well.
Bush told the court she felt it was important not to overlook the need for a new maintenance vehicle so the employee driving it can be safe on the road. She made the motion to spend up to $30,000 on that vehicle, which was approved by the court.
Commissioners then approved $320,000 for the sheriff’s office, which would allow for the purchase of six patrol vehicles.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Randy Stinson felt like the constables' needs needed to be addressed.
“I feel like we do need to take care of the constables. We have been behind the last few years. This year we thought that we had it taken care of, but mistakes were made,” Stinson said. “Nothing against the sheriff they do a great job. I do want to work with the constables somehow to move forward.”
Stinson made the motion to use the remaining $150,000 for vehicles for Constables in Precinct 1-3 because they had submitted a budget during the county’s budgetary process. He noted Precinct 4 Constable Mike Jones had not filed a budget with the court. If the constables utilize these funds for a vehicle, they would be limited to only two in their fleet. The court passed Stinson’s motion.