Commissioners retain counsel in civil suit

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After a lengthy presentation and discussion, Wood County Commissioners retained the services of Todd Tefteller, Gilmer, and Reid Martin, Tyler, in a civil suit to recover damages and expenses related to opioid manufacturers.

“What we are trying to do is put together a coalition of East Texas counties to file an individual lawsuit, not a class action, against the manufacturers and distributors of opioids and drugs,” Martin said. “There is an epidemic in this country which has been recognized by the president and he has assigned Chris Christi to a task force to address this issue. Ken Paxton, our attorney general is a part of 41 state coalition investigating this right now.”

Martin went on to speak of the state’s involvement. “A lawsuit filed by the state of Texas is inevitable. We don’t know when it is going to happen. If the state of Texas files before a county, the county is precluded from filing their own lawsuit,” Martin explained. “If a county files first, the county retains its rights to seek compensation from the people who have cost this county money. We have already filed two lawsuits, Bowie County and Upshur County.”

In another matter, commissioners approved library contracts at $8,000 each for library services in Quitman, Winnsboro, Hawkins and Alba. Each contract is in effect for one year.

In other action commissioners approved interlocal contracts with Mineola ISD, Winnsboro ISD and Hopkins County for November bond elections. Commissioners further approved a notice of election for Nov. 7, 2017 for a constitutional amendment election. Commissioners also approved three lease agreements with Mineola Civic Center for 2018 elections.

An interlocal agreement with the City of Mineola animal control was approved. The city of Mineola will euthanize up to five animals per week at a rate of $35 per animal for the county. The county will provide a freezer for the use of storing euthanized animals brought in by the county.

A proclamation declaring Oct. 1 – 7 as National 4-H Week was approved commending the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

An interlocal cooperation agreement with the cities of Alba, Hawkins, Mineola, Quitman, Winnsboro and Yantis was approved for Wood County to provide a county-wide Emergency Management Plan. The county approves an emergency management coordinator for the entire county to develop and coordinate the countywide plan as required by Texas statutes. The coordinator is an employee of Wood County.

The cities will annually collectively contribute $19,419 for the development and implementation activities of the emergency management coordinator. For 2018 the cities contributions are Alba, $693; Hawkins, $2,136; Mineola, $7,260; Quitman, $3,189, Winnsboro, $5,617 and Yantis $523..

In other matters, commissioners approved:

• payroll of $321,960.45;

• health and Dental claims of $194,953.87 and Accounts Payable $547,373.67;

• the nomination of C.K. Baker as a candidate for Wood County Appraisal District Board of directors and Mary Lookadoo to the Andrews Center Board of Trustees;

• commissioner court meeting dates for Oct. 2017 through Sept, 2018;

• 2018 holidays and payroll days;

• revisions of lots at Holly Lake Ranch and

• corporate authorization resolution for Bank Texas for count’s accounts.

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