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Hartley commissioners approve alcohol election, not ATVs

Posted by: tdt -

Hartley commissioners approve alcohol election, not ATVs


 Hartley County voters will have a say on alcohol sales, and how does one define “approval”? These were two of the topics Hartley County Commissioners Court dealt with at their monthly meeting Monday morning. 

After approving the routine bills and financial reports, minutes and employee bonds, the court considered the only bid for pauper burials. This, from Dalhart Funeral Home, was for $1,000 for cremations only, and was approved. County Judge Ronnie Gordon stated that there were not many calls for pauper burials, but the need did arise on occasion. 

Commissioners next approved an order for the liquor election, i.e. “all alcoholic beverages, including mixed drinks” can be sold in the county. The issue will be placed on the Nov. 5, 2024 ballot after a petition was circulated and garnered 574 signatures; only 547 were needed. 

Election judges and clerks were also approved for the 2024-25 election year, but names were not yet released. 

Finally, Hartley County Sheriff Chanze Fowler spoke about his plans for the use of funds from Senate Bill 22, which established a grant program for rural law enforcement agencies but limits how the money can be spent. Fowler explained that he had spent extensive time researching possible expenditures, discussing them with the Texas Comptroller’s Office and coming to his decisions. Because grant money has already been used to purchase vehicles and increase officers’ salaries to the maximum extent, Fowler proposed purchasing two side-by-side ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) to be used by his office. 

“We could stay local with our purchase, but get them outfitted with lights and everything,” Fowler said. “We don’t need them that often, but when you need it, you need it, like when someone is lost in the canyon or something.” 

Commissioners immediately offered a great number of opposing suggestions, all of which Fowler negated as not allowed under the grant. 

“We’ve been learning a lot while doing this,” Gordon said. “But this is the Sheriff’s Department’s money. The intent is not for the Commissioners Court to tell him what to do with it.” 

“I’m asking ‘approval’ kind of like when you ask a man for his daughter’s hand in marriage,” Fowler explained. “What you really want is his blessing, but you don’t have to have approval.” 

“We just want to make sure that you’ve exhausted all the possibilities and are using the money wisely,” responded David Vincent, commissioner for Precinct 1. 

In the end, Fowler asked the court to table the agenda item until next month. He then requested to be allowed to sell a surplus patrol unit and use the funds to build a badly-needed garage with additional storage space at the Justice Center building, which was approved. 

Hartley County Commissioners Court meets at 8:30 a.m. on the second Monday of every month. Meetings are held upstairs in the Hartley County Courthouse in Channing. 

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