Commissioners to look at notification system

Howard County commissioners are expected to discuss and possibly take action on a new notification system that could have Crossroads residents looking to their cell and smart phones for more than just 911 in times of emergencies.According to County Judge Mark Barr, emergency notification systems utilizing both voice and text messages have become very popular with other Texas counties when it comes to reaching residents in times of crisis.“This system isn’t designed for county employees or just emergency responders. It’s designed for residents, everyday folks like you and me,” Barr said. “It can be used to notify residents of things like weather events — tornadoes, storms, flash flooding — or even grass and wildfires. When you really look at it, the overall uses are pretty amazing.”Barr said county officials recently learned about the services — which are provided by a number of different companies — during a recent emergency management seminar.“My understanding is the city and Howard College are also looking at this, along with the commissioners court,” Barr said. “The service costs roughly $6,000 a year and depending on the number of agencies participating, that number can come down some.”Barr said the service allows residents to set up their notifications based on their own preferences.“You can set it up based on the areas you’re concerned about, such as Forsan or Coahoma,” Barr said. “It gives you a great deal of control over what notifications you receive. It’s very targeted, so you’re not getting notifications about wildfires happening on the other side of the state. You’re getting the information pertaining to the events happening right here in the Howard County area.”Also Monday, the court is to discuss fuel tank testing, as well as discussion and possible approval of a Chapter 381 agreement for a grant for Boyce Galvanizing LLC.County Auditor Jackie Olson is to discuss invoices, purchase requests, budget amendments and presentation of her office’s monthly financial report.Olson is also to meet with commissioners in a budget work session, as well as seek approval for department collecting county funds to deposit with the county treasurer’s office not to exceed 15 days — the previous limit was 30 days — after the date the funds are received.County Treasurer Teresa Thomas will present personnel considerations and a payroll report, while County Clerk Donna Wright will present her department’s monthly report.Newly hired Road and Bridge Administrator Brian Klinksiek is to report on road maintenance and pipeline crossings.Monday’s meeting will get under way at 10 a.m. Monday in the Commissioners Courtroom, located on the third floor of the county courthouse. For more information on the meeting, contact the county judge’s office at 432-264-2202.Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at