Breckenridge Texan

County approves purchase of new vehicle for Sheriff’s Office, entry sign for Ag Center

County approves purchase of new vehicle for Sheriff’s Office, entry sign for Ag Center
October 28
16:51 2022

By Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

During their meeting on Monday, Oct. 24, Stephens County Commissioners voted to authorize the purchase of a new patrol vehicle for the Sheriff’s Office, apply for a grant to purchase a new ladder truck for the Breckenridge Fire Department and kick in for the purchase of a new Christmas tree to be displayed in downtown Breckenridge. They also left the county-wide burn ban in place; however, it was lifted on Friday morning after significant rainfall on Thursday night.

County Judge Michael Roach said on Friday that after speaking with Stephens County Fire Marshal Wayne McMullen, they decided to lift the burn ban because the Keetch-Byram Drought Index had dropped due to the ongoing rainfall.

New Sheriff’s Office vehicle

At the Monday meeting, the commissioners voted to approve the purchase of a new patrol vehicle from the local Bayer Motors if they could get the price below $50,000 or purchase it through the bid process if it’s above that price. On Thursday, the commissioners scheduled a special meeting for  Monday, Oct. 31, to approve that purchase because they were able to negotiate the price to $49,999, which is below the requirement for a bid process.

Sheriff Kevin Roach said at Monday’s meeting that in May commissioners approved the purchase of a new patrol vehicle for the Sheriff’s Office and he had ordered one from the buyer board, which is where purchases can be made by the County that do not require the County to take bids if the cost is under $50,000. However, he said, because of production delays at Chevrolet, it had already been six months since he ordered the vehicle and it could still be next year before the truck would be delivered. Since then, he said, he had found one available locally at Bayer Chevrolet, but it costs more than $50,000 and he was asking commissioners for authorization to purchase it since they need the truck now to replace one that was purchased in 2015.

“I knew there was going to be a delay in obtaining that vehicle, but no one knew what that delay was going to look like,” Sheriff Roach said. “But here we are going on six months, and it still hasn’t even been manufactured.”

He said Chevrolet still has not given them a projected manufacturing date on the vehicle and it looks like it’s going to be well into next year. However, he said Bayer had one on their lot available but it was a more expensive model and he was requesting commissioners to authorize the purchase since it was available.

Roach said they will use the insurance money they received from the hail damage to the old vehicle and the sale of the old vehicle to pay toward the new vehicle, which will be close to covering the costs of the new vehicle. However, he said, they would still incur the cost of transferring their radio and other equipment from the old vehicle to the new one.

Judge Roach said if they could negotiate the price at Bayer down, it would meet the statutory requirements for a purchase without having to go out for bid. Otherwise, they would have to seek bids from at least three car dealerships for the purchase.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff said they will keep the order open for the other Chevrolet truck they ordered back in May and that when it is manufactured, they will purchase it to replace one of the three current trucks that were purchased in 2017.

Sheriff Roach said the three current trucks, which were all purchased at the same time, are costing the department a lot of money in maintenance and repairs. He said he wants to try and stagger the purchase of the trucks so their replacements in the future will be spread out.

Overview of National Defense Authorization Act

Also during the meeting, Sheriff Roach updated commissioners on the status of the department’s participation in the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the Secretary of Defense the authorization to transfer excessive equipment for use by law enforcement. He said the program’s main goal is to provide equipment to be used for anti-terrorism activities.

He said the department participated in the program about eight years ago but has not acquired any equipment from it in since then. However, he said they still have some of the equipment they obtained, which includes some weapons and optics, so he’s required to update the department’s civilian governing body about their participation in the program.

New entry sign for the Stephens County Ag Center

Commissioners also approved a grant for the Agricultural Association for the purchase of a new, lighted entry way sign leading into the Stephens County Ag Center off of U.S. Highway 180 East. The cost of the sign will be around $8,500, which includes about $1,000 to run electricity to the sign.

The sign, Judge Roach said, will help people find the entry way to the Ag Center. “People all the time go past it because they don’t … know where the road entry is,” he said.

Purchase of Building from Breck Operating

During the meeting, commissioners also approved an order allowing the county judge to sign the closing documents and pay necessary fees on the purchase of buildings and property from Breck Operating. The commercial building, which currently houses the WIC office, is located at 222 N. Baylor. It is south and across the street from the Stephens County Law Enforcement Center. The purchase also included a house located at 200 E. Elm St., just south of the other building. The commercial building will be used for offices space and for storage. The building also has some caged parking areas that can be used to store seized vehicles, Judge Roach said.

Roach said commissioners made an offer to purchase the property during a recent executive session and then voted to buy the building and land for $150,000. Roach said the land’s former owners valued the property at over $300,000 but wanted the county to have the property.

Roach said the title company hopes to close the transaction by the end of December.

Grant for new fire truck

Commissioners agreed to hire Langford Community Management Services to write a grant application to purchase a new ladder truck for the City of Breckenridge Fire Department. The county will pay Langford $7,500 to write a grant application for $750,000 and handle the grant application process for the county. However, the county will be reimbursed by the grant for $7,500, which means there will be no costs to the county for the purchase of the truck, according to Commissioner Mark McCullough.

Judge Roach said helping the city purchase the new fire truck fits in the scope of what the county has done for the city in the past.

“So this historically, it’s in line with what we’ve done,” he said. “The other thing is, a lot of the city is in the county…and it keeps the insurance rates low. And it’s one of the ways where the County, whether it be brush pickup, and hopefully some of the paving projects we want to do with the city pothole repair…this kind of comes along with that where the two entities work together to keep the tax burden as low as possible. And we have the grant opportunity to help them. So it’s all about who’s paying the bill, which is the taxpayer at the end of the day.”

Downtown Christmas Tree 

In addition to helping to purchase a new fire truck, commissioners also voted to help pay for the purchase of a new Christmas tree that will be placed in Foundation Park in downtown Breckenridge at the intersection of Walker Street and Breckenridge Avenue. The tree will be 26 feet tall and 16 feet in diameter, Roach said.

The cost for the tree and tree topper will be around $30,000. The total cost will be split among the County, City of Breckenridge, the Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce and a private donor. Roach said the County’s portion of the money will come from a grant, so no County tax dollars will be used for the purchase of the tree.

Roach said he supports the County helping purchase the Christmas tree since the money is coming from Capital Credit funds and no local tax dollars are being used.

“Being as it’s Capital Credits that comes from that grant fund … I think it’s the perfect time to invest in that and partner with the other entities to do something nice for downtown,” Judge Roach said.

The commissioners will finalize the purchase of the tree at the meeting on Monday.


Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:48 p.m. Oct. 28 to correct the cost of the fire truck.


Cutline, top photo: The Stephens County Commissioners met Monday, Oct. 24, and approved the purchase of a new vehicle for the Sheriff’s Office, pending an agreement about the price, and agreed to contribute to the cost of a community Christmas tree. On Friday, County Judge Michael Roach and Fire Marshal Wayne McMullen lifted the burn ban for the county. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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