The Montgomery County Commissioners met on Monday for their regular meeting with a light agenda. The main focus was the granting the approval to Rick Whitson, Emergency Management director to seek bids for the remodeling of the Emergency Operations Center room (EOC) and the upgrading of the commission room. “Each year I apply for the grant from the state to be used for emergency operations equipment and after talking with the director of the grant he informed me these upgrades do fall under the grant use,” said Whitson. The upgrades will provide the county the opportunity to host more informative programs and educational classes with visual aids and high power WiFi for emergency operations.

The grant money is already available and it is specifically designated for the advancement of emergency management office and the EOC. It won’t cost the county anything. I need approval from the commissioners to be able to spend that grant money on upgrading these two rooms in the Judicial Center,” Whitson requested.

County clerk, Charlotte Schmidt reminded Whitson he would need to get quotes or bid out any equipment or work if the amount exceeds $1,000. “I’m expecting the total cost not to exceed $25,000,” said Whitson.

Currently there is $31,000 of grant money available to the county to use for emergency management equipment and training. The commissioners approved Whitson to seek quotes or bids on the equipment needed for the two rooms.

A request from Whitson to seek 501 c3 non-profit organization status for the Rural Fire department and the Emergency Management office to apply for grants that are not available for government agencies. “When I apply for a grant from a private entity as soon as I say I’m from the county it disqualifies me from applying for a lot of the grants I’m seeking,” said Whitson. His idea is to seek a way to designate the rural fire department as a 501 c3 to be eligible to apply for many of the grants available to these types of organizations.

After Whitson had finished, Schmidt informed him before he seek a 501 c3 status for Emergency Management, because it is a government entity, he should seek legal counsel regarding the tax laws. He agreed to contact the county counselor.

The commission approved Whitson to seek a 501 c3 application for the rural fire department only.

The concern regarding the restrooms in the county appraisers office are no longer efficient and in need of renovation. Jeff Phelps, county maintenance director and Dianna “Dee” Carter, county appraiser presented plans to the commissioner on what changes are in needed to renovate the restrooms into a new breakroom. Phelps estimated it will take approximately 80 hours to complete the project with a total cost of between $4,200 to $4,300. The project will not begin until January and will come out of next year’s county appraiser’s budget. It was approved to go out for quote bids.

A request from the Jim Wright, assistant public works coordinator to transfer funds from the Road and Bridge special equipment in the amount of $200,000 and the transfer of $5,175 from the Household Hazardous Waste to the Noxious Weed for payroll reimbursement. Approved.

At the end of the meeting, the commissioners were requested by Schmidt to go into an executive session for 20 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel. After the session concluded it was announced Jim Wright would fill the vacancy of the Public Works coordinator position. He will become the interim coordinator effective Dec. 3.