Feb. 14—The Ector County Commissioners' Court approved a more than $540K grant for 1,000 devices for the Ector County Library on Tuesday.
Ector County Library Director Howard Marks presented to the Court the $548,100 grant from T-Mobile, which provided 1,000 devices to the library.
Those devices are 200 iPads, 200 Samsung tablets, 200 Chromebooks and 400 hotspots. Marks also explained all 1,000 devices belong to the library.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our community, for Ector County and for the citizens who don't have access to those devices to go in and check them out like a book," Ector County Judge Dustin Fawcett said after the meeting. "They really are similar to a book and that they provide education when used correctly, which is what these devices are set up for.
"This is a great service for our community. We saw with COVID and with at home schooling the need for upgrading our technology."
In addition to approving the devices, the Court also OK'ed the library to allow all vetted authors and artists that present at the library to be able to sell their books and artwork.
Fawcett said during the meeting this agenda item "sounds like a good plan."
Marks echoed Fawcett's statement after the meeting and he said this opportunity is giving him a wealth of ideas about what the library can do moving forward.
"We have lots of space for artists to display their work," Marks said. "We could have art shows. We could use the courtyard. We could set it up in the spring and summer. We could have artists outside. We could have them in the parking lot or in the park. There's plenty of potential for art shows."
The Court also approved accepting a $5,000 grant from the Literacy Coalition of the Permian Basin for a book drop in West Odessa.
The book drop is expected to be located at Kellus Turner Park near the Ector County Sheriff's Office West Odessa Annex.
The library was also approved to enter a new agreement with Hoopla Database. The library has been with Hoopla since November of 2021 and Marks said the new agreement would allow the library to expand its section for older adults. He said the database is currently packed with material for young adults.
Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis was approved to use commissary funds to pay for contract services to help staff the Ector County Law Enforcement Center. The contract service is called Advance Recruitment Solutions.
Griffis told the Odessa American on Tuesday morning the ECLEC is short 80 jailers. He also said that a total of 165 jailers is full staff. Griffis also said during the meeting this contract service was also used by Midland County to staff its jail.
"Apparently, they are very effective," Griffis said after the meeting. "It's a position specific recruitment. It's been very effective for Midland County and we don't have to use taxpayer money to try it out. That's the best thing about it."
The sheriff was also approved to update an existing contract with Mitchell County for housing inmates.
As of Tuesday morning, Ector County has 59 inmates being housed in other counties.
There are 31 in Brewster County, 11 in Mitchell County, nine in Hudspeth County and eight in Garza County.
The court also:
>> Approved an advanced homicide investigation training class in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for Lieutenant Randy Dominguez.
>> Approved Eddie Landrum's out-of-state conference from July 10 to July 14, 2023 .
>> Approved mileage reimbursement for ROW Inspectors.
>> Approved an additional $100 charge for out-of-state marriage applications.
>> Approved an application and resolution for the VOCA Grant#3978903 with the Office of the Governor for the Ector County District Attorney's Office.
>> Approved the cancellation of the Measurement and Verification Services from Johnson Controls included under the Performance Contract and to make that cancellation retroactive effective November 1, 2022.
>> Approved a budget amendment to General Fund, County Clerk, Office Supplies, 00l-160-5171 from Unreserved Fund Balance, 001-3310 for $2,600.
>> Approved a budget amendment to Self Funded Liability Fund, Auto Liability, 032-960-5367, and to Auto Premiums, 032-4403 for $40,768.
>> Approved both a Microsoft License for Planning and Development and a budget amendment to Sales Tax Fund, Planning and Development, Subscriptions, 005-025-5207 and to Interest Earnings, 005-4161 for $470.
>> Approved a budget amendment to Sales Tax Fund, Sheriff, Contract Services, 005-360-5309 from Unreserved Fund Balance, 005-3310 for $20,000.
>> Approved an increase in the change fund amount for the Detention Center to $5,000.
>> Approved the Ector County Investment Report for the quarter ending December 31, 2022.
>> Approved the Accounts Payable Fund Requirements Report for February 14, 2023, and review County financial statements and reports.