Athens Review, Athens, Texas


January 26, 2013

GUEST COLUMN: 2012 was a year of challenges, growth

ATHENS — The start of fiscal year 2012 for Henderson County began with fine tuning of several activities from 2011, which included the county’s redistricting, finalizing the move into the Henderson County Annex and finishing work on the new county phone system.

By the end of the first quarter, work commenced on the most challenging issue facing Henderson County in 2012 — the 2013 county budget.

  Throughout most of 2011, Commissioners Court worked on redistricting Henderson County, a process required by state law every 10 years. When redistricting was finalized in 2012, Commissioners Court had reduced the Justice of the Peace and constable precincts from six to five and reduced Henderson County voting precincts from 31 to 27 voting boxes at 26 locations.

The move into the Henderson County Annex was complete in early 2012, moving county offices into the former Prosperity Bank building. The move was completed with very little expense to the county, as the county utilized the building in its current form and made the space work without any renovations to the building.

Commissioner Ken Geeslin led a project in obtaining a new phone system for county offices, as part of the County Annex move. Geeslin, working with Henderson County’s Information Technology (IT) Department, was able to replace the existing outdated phone system with a modern system and provide phones for the new County Annex and the entire county’s Athens campus. The county immediately benefited in cost savings. When the system is paid in 2014, the county will realize cost savings in excess of $60,000 per year. Over the life of the equipment a total of $632,000.00 will be saved as compared to previous cost of phones used by the county.

The county budget process started when the County Judge’s Budget was submitted in July of 2012, and the process was not complete until the budget was passed by Commissioners Court in September 2012. With property values holding steady to slightly declining, and with a steep decline in out-of-county inmates, a shortage in projected revenues of approximately $600,000 was created. Each line item in the county’s budget was closely scrutinized. When streamlining of the county budget was completed, the Commissioners Court in a combined effort with other elected officials and department heads had reduced the county’s budget in the amount of approximately $1,200,000 and had balanced the budget without raising taxes.

Commissioner Ronny Lawrence should be commended for his work on the insurance committee, holding down insurance costs, and Commissioners McKinney and Geeslin for their work on the McKinney/Geeslin report. The report compared the last five years of increased costs to revenues and was helpful in looking at the 2013 budget challenge and future county budgets.

After many months of evaluation in the IT Committee, the Commissioners Court approved the purchase and installation of new audio/visual equipment in three courtrooms. Additionally, the county’s IT Committee started the laborious task of reviewing Judicial Software packages to replace the aging Able Term Judicial Software, which will cease to be supported by the vendor in 2014. The county hosted several workshops with two possible software vendors, so the Judicial Package software users could provide input and suggestions.

The Commissioners Court worked with the Henderson County Appraisal District in its obtaining of Pictometry Aerial Imagining & ERSI Mapping Software. These incentives will have great benefit to the Henderson County 911, Sheriff’s Department, volunteer fire departments and to county commissioners. The software is expected to be implemented in 2013.

The Year of 2012 came to a close with the retirement of Commissioner Joe Hall. Henderson County Commissioners Court would like to congratulate Hall on his retirement after serving 12 years on the court.

Richard Sanders has been Henderson County’s county judge since 2010.

Text Only
  • 4-12 Rich mug.jpg Meal time for kitties can be an adventure

    I believe God gave us housecats because we didn’t have enough to worry about. They are puzzling little puffs of fur that seem to be constantly developing new sets of peculiarities.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I've got my rib back!

    Much has changed since Jan. 19, 2008.
    Bruce Almighty, Man on the Moon, Major League – gone.
    Complete rooms decorated with sports memorabilia – gone.
    More than a dozen trips to catch baseball in Arlington – gone.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Exhausted, but happier than ever

    Wow, what a rush!
    I can not begin to explain the emotions I experienced on Monday, March 17 as Maylee Grace Wilson made her debut.
    Yes, there were tears.
    Yes, this “Iron Man” showed the emotion he hoped and prayed for.
    Over the two weeks I was home with Maylee and my wife Lacie, I experienced a plethora of emotions - emotions rather rare in my life.
    As expected, there was little sleep at the hospital. With the way Maylee acted her first night, I thought I might be able to catch a little shut-eye once we got home.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Music helps deal with life’s situations, good or bad

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
    With music, it can help us deal with tragic situations, help us deal with the loss of a loved one, make us want to dance, make us want to sing along to the words, or help us calm down after a long day of work.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg ‘Small town, USA’ has advantages, disadvantages

    Living in a small town can have its advantages and disadvantages. For me, personally, I love “Small Town USA.”
    Some disadvantages possibly are: if you do something out of character, everyone will know by tomorrow morning; everybody tends to be related, so watch what you say;  limited resources;  it's not easy to broaden your horizons; and driving more than 50  miles to the nearest mall.



    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg A habit in a society and in a home that should stop

    It was Tuesday that I was walking back to my car on the Walmart parking lot, when a business acquaintance of mine who comes to the Review office sometimes, stopped her car in front of me to say hello.
    I noticed her doing something that happens at almost any moment she is around, without the office surroundings.  She had a cigarette in her hand.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • RICH-USE THIS ONE.jpg TVCC Lady Cards add to school’s winning legacy

    When I came to work in Henderson County in 1991, the Trinity Valley Community College Cheerleaders had already picked up a couple of national titles. Coach Connie Russell had the team doing things few had ever seen cheerleading squads do. Russell retired after winning five times on the national stage.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Let’s all follow Tom’s lead

    My first-born child is here and there is a hero for her to admire already.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMNIST.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimation

    The bar owner was blunt. A couple of weeks ago, he announced that people of a certain persuasion would not be allowed into his establishment.
    To demonstrate his seriousness, he had head shots printed of those who are not welcome to make sure that his security team would deny them entry.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG I am Iron Man, the suit and I are one

    The suit is damaged, it might not hold up this time.
    Like many men, I have hidden my emotions behind a suit of armor for years.
    Happy, sad, excited or mad – my external emotions were never displayed.
    In some ways that was a good thing, but in others...

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case