Scott & White Hospital approached Llano County Commissioners on Monday, March 12, requesting permission to be included under the county’s FCC license for their 4.9 GHz radios.
The hospital currently operates on a 4.9 GHz bandwidth; however, the FCC recommends that the hospital go under the umbrella of the county. Llano County would then be in control of the frequencies, and could shut off unneeded communication in the event of an emergency.
Concerns of interference would also be somewhat alleviated by the placement of hospital radios onto the same towers that county radios are located on.
Commissioners expressed concern over future cost to the county; Judge Wayne Brascom told the court that all costs, including parts, labor, installation, and licensing fees would the responsibility of Scott & White.
Questions of the process of producing an interlocal agreement as well as whether or not the inclusion of the hospital on the county’s bandwidth were discussed, as well as suggested additions to the proposed contract.
Should the county not allow Scott & White to come under their license, they would still be able to apply for a license on their own with an exception from the county saying that they supply emergency services to the area.
Wanting more information prior to making a decision, Commissioners tabled the item.
Commissioners once again considered an invoice submitted by Cher-Tex Communications in December for the amount of $3,519 for the installation of security camera systems at each of three towers included in the Tri-County Tower project.
On January 25, Commissioners rejected payment of the invoice due to the fact that the work had not been authorized nor had a purchase order been obtained. The county’s purchase order policy calls for no payment for anything without a purchase order.
Bode Barker, owner of Cher-Tex Communications was present at the meeting to explain to Commissioners what happened.
Bill Edwards, Precinct 3 Constable was also present, because he and his son were contracted by Barker to complete the installations.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Don Moss began the discussion, stating his frustration with the work being done without authorization, not having a PO, and the charges that were listed on the invoice, which listed that four people did 10 hours of work each at a charge of $85 per hour.
Barker told the court that the charges were standard, and that over the course of several weeks, he had met with county officials regarding vandalism and criminal mischief at the site of the Allen Tower, and during the meetings, Barker said, the urgency for resolving the situation was evident.
Bill Edwards installed a temporary camera, and equipment for a permanent system was ordered.
Once the new equipment arrived, Edwards told the court that he and his son were contracted by Cher-Tex to install it. They proceeded to do so, he said over the course of the next 2-3 weeks.
Commissioner Moss questioned the invoice billing for the work of four people when only two did the work; he also said, “it bothers me that we are paying a county employee [for this].”
Edwards told the court that the time he submitted to Cher-Tex and the invoice that the county received was not the same. Edwards and Barker explained that due to regulations of Homeland Security, the invoice had to be input into the system a certain way. Both agreed to present the original invoices to the Court for review.
County Auditor Cindy Lent expressed concern about the fact that the invoice received by the county was not a ‘true representation” of what was billed. Barker told the Court that he believed the invoice had been reformatted at the instruction of the office of Ron Moore, the Department of Environmental & Emergency Services, so that it would be accepted by the SARS program for qualification under the Homeland Security grant that is funding the majority of the tower program.
The finding brings up two separate issues associated with the payment of this invoice; not only was the work done without a PO, but because it was submitted under the grant program inaccurately, the county could not be reimbursed by the grant.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Johnnie Heck stated, “the issue [right now] is that the job was not authorized by officials. No authorization was given to do the work. Will this Commissioners Court agree to pay without a purchase order?”
Precinct 3 Commissioner Tommy Duncan said that he felt like they should pay the invoice, however, Lent stated that she was unsure whether the county auditor could approve the invoice at face value.
Commissioners voted to remove the item until all invoices and information are available for review.
In other news, Commissioners voted against a request by TCEQ to create a watermaster on the Colorado River Basin, awarded $29,000 to various entities from the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund for advertising, and appointed Cheri Lambright to the Emergency Services District #2 board.