Law enforcment center on county agenda

Howard County commissioners will meet Monday morning to discuss a number of items, including possible approval of a contract with Dallas-based WBK Construction to manage the court's ongoing project to build a new joint law enforcement center.The project — which would provide a new home for both the Howard County Sheriff's Office and Big Spring Police Department, located at the newly constructed County Detention Center — has been in the works for more than a year now, and according to County Judge Mark Barr, Monday's meeting could pave the way for construction to begin.“Once the contract has been looked over by the commissioners and approved, that's when the actual construction can begin,” Barr said. “I talked to our project architect, Jeff Heffelfinger, and he feels pretty good going into Monday's meeting. I don't foresee a problem with the contract.”Also during Monday's meeting, commissioners are to discuss the possibility of adding a part-time employee to Auditor Jackie Olson's office, a move that could help the county in more ways than one, according to Barr.“Since FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) declared Howard County a disaster area (due to recent wildfires), we're eligible to be reimbursed for 75 percent of our costs for firefighting,” Barr said. “However, to accomplish that, it takes a great deal of bookkeeping. I discussed it with Jackie (Olson), and her office is already overrun, so we're going to ask the commissioners to consider hiring a part-time employee to handle the bookkeeping for these FEMA matters.”Barr said FEMA will also cover a portion of the the employee's wages, should the court decide to move forward with the idea.The meeting is to get under way at 10 a.m. in the commissioner's courtroom, located on the third floor of the county courthouse. For more information, contact Barr's office at 264-2202.