Following a request from Van Zandt County Tax Assessor-Collector Shirley Chisham, the VZC Commissioners Court unanimously agreed May 4 to install partition tempered glass in three of the VZC tax assessor-collector office locations.
Once again, the meeting was held with no public access. The special called meeting was made available to the public through ZOOM and YouTube.
While the attendance was not limited to 10 or less due to that coronavirus-related requirement being repealed by the commissioners’ court April 29, those attending were still required to abide by the social distancing rules of being seated at least six feet apart including the members of the commissioners’ court.
Chisham shared the costs of the project for each of the three offices during the May 4 meeting of the commissioners’ court.
“I am coming before you today (May 4) to request that you approve the modification to the tax assessor-collector office work-station areas in our Canton, Ben Wheeler and Wills Point locations,” emphasized Chisham to the commissioners’ court. “Our Grand Saline office already has this at their location.”
The total cost of the glass project will be $15,112.97 and would be paid for through amending the Vehicle Inventory Tax (VIT) budget to include an updated balance of $22,032.41 and updating the capital expenditures to $22,032.41, according to Chisham.
The VZC tax assessor-collector said that the glass project would also involve the modification of the tax assessor-collector’s office to a half-door. Chisham then gave an office-by-office breakdown regarding the costs of the glass project.
“In the Ben Wheeler office, the total cost is $3,697.56,” said Chisham. “In the Wills Point office, the total cost would be $625. In the Canton office, the total cost is $8,987.77. For the tax assessor-collector desk, the total cost is $1,802.64.” Each one of the total costs required a 50 percent deposit, according to Chisham.
VZC Judge Don Kirkpatrick pointed out to the commissioners’ court, “Shirley is not asking permission. This is her money from her office. This is not coming from the general budget. This is money that she has collected that she can spend for her office however she chooses, however, because the buildings that her offices occupy falls under the control of the VZC Commissioners Court, I felt that it was important that Shirley come before the commissioners’ court. Her office is opened to limited access and she needs to get this project done to protect her employees.”
Chisham was joined in the commissioners’ court meeting by her successor, VZC Tax Assessor-Collector Elect Misty Stanberry, who is scheduled to be sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2021.
The commissioners’ court pointed out that not only will the glass project be beneficial during the coronavirus pandemic going on currently but also address security-related issues in the future.
VZC Pct. 3 Commissioner Keith Pearson made the motion to approve the partition tempered glass project as well as modifying the office of the tax assessor-collector to a halfdoor and amending the VIT budget.
VZC Pct. 4 Commissioner Tim West seconded the motion before it was unanimously approved by the commissioners’ court.
In other action during the May 4 special called meeting, several VZC elected officials and department heads were in attendance to address Issues regarding software VZC is using through Local Government Solutions (LGS) of Waxahachie and the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) of Austin.
Among the elected officials and department heads in the meeting were VZC District Court Judge Chris Martin, VZC Criminal District Attorney Tonda Curry, VZC Clerk Susan Strickland, VZC Human Resource Director Dan Maucieri, VZC Auditor Sandy Hill, VZC Treasurer Kenny Edwards, VZC District Clerk Karen Wilson, VZC IT Director Scott Slaton and VZC Sheriff’s Department Captain Tim Scharfenberg.
“I know that there were discussions last week on this and VZC Pct. 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton Jr. requested that we put this item on today’s agenda (May 4) to discuss the situation.”
Melton said, “We just need to have an understanding on where we are going with this.”
Kirkpatrick responded, “I have spoken with Tonda and Chris about this and I have heard from Karen. I know that Karen was frustrated with LGS. Susan’s office has also had issues. Tonda said that the system has worked pretty well for her. Chris still is having some issues but overall, the system we have now is better than what we had before.”
Wilson said, “We are having some major issues in our office. Sealed indictment cases are being looked at in the system and they can’t seem to get that fixed.”
Kirkpatrick responded that Curry has agreed to serve as the “go-between” person between VZC and LGS.
“I would ask that all of the department heads make a list of all of the issues in each office so that Tonda can address those issues with LGS,” said the VZC judge.
Curry said, “If each department head would do that for me, I would not mind being the go-between. I have found that when you follow their communication protocol that you get very good response. One of the good things that we were told about this company was that rather than having a set way that the software would work and we had to conform to that way, we could have changes made and conform the software to what we need. I have found that to be correct. We do need to get this fixed. The problem they are having is converting all of our images (documents) into their computer system. There are issues converting the images from the two clerk’s offices to their computer system right now.”
No action was taken by the commissioners’ court following the lengthy discussion on the topic.
The next regular meeting of the VZC Commissioners Court is set for 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 13, in the VZC Courthouse.