County seeking commissioner to fill unexpired term in Pct. 1

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

December 21, 2022

The Hill County Commissioners Court accepted the resignation of Precinct 1 Commissioner Andrew Montgomery and discussed its next steps to fill the unexpired term in a regular meeting held Tuesday, December 13.

Montgomery announced Thursday, December 8, that he will resign from his position effective December 31. He cited a need to care for a family member as his reason for stepping down with two years remaining on his term.

Hill County Judge Justin Lewis said that while he has the responsibility of appointing a replacement to fill the position until the next election, he wants to work with commissioners to interview applicants so that a decision can be made with their advice and input.

Any resident of Precinct 1 who is interested in the position is invited to submit a resume to the county judge’s office by 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 21.

Lewis and Precinct 3 Commissioner Scotty Hawkins will review the submissions and narrow them down to three applicants, and commissioners will conduct interviews during an executive session Tuesday, December 27.

The selected commissioner will begin serving the remaining two years on the term in January.
Lewis thanked Commissioner Montgomery for his work to move Precinct 1 forward, noting that the precinct has had some unique challenges that preceded Montgomery’s term, including growth that came to that precinct earlier than it did in other parts of the county.

In other action, the court opted not to implement a fireworks ban for the New Year’s holiday, noting that dry conditions have improved significantly in the past few weeks. Lewis asked residents to be reasonable with their celebrations to ensure safety and prevent property damage.

Commissioners also observed and recorded orders by District Judge Lee Harris appointing Susan Swilling as the assistant county auditor and setting the salaries for the county auditor and assistant county auditor.

Swilling, who had previously announced that she would retire as auditor this year, will serve as the assistant county auditor and provide training to Sahib Rao, who was appointed to serve as auditor.

An interlocal cooperation agreement between Hill County and the City of Waco was approved that will allow each entity to program public safety radios to operate on the other’s 800 MHz system.

The agreement is part of the county’s ongoing public safety effort to improve communication with out-of-county agencies. Additional agreements with nearby entities are expected to be before the court in the future.
The form of future agreements was also approved, which outlines how and when other entities may access Hill County’s radio system and outlines mutual aid agreements.

An amendment was approved to the county’s agreement relating to the Texas Law Enforcement Support Office Program. The program has been utilized by the county for several years and gives the sheriff’s office the ability to obtain surplus military equipment—including vehicles, safety equipment and limited weapons—through the program.

An executive order issued by President Joe Biden requires that participating law enforcement agencies notify the public that they have the ability to obtain this equipment. The amendment updates the agreement to include this new requirement.

The court also approved an engagement letter with Danziger & Markhoff LLP to allow the company to perform actuarial services related to the county’s post-employment benefits program.

Commissioners declared old tin horns as salvage material to be sold, and two boiler tanks in Precinct 3 were declared surplus material and will be placed for sale online through Kaddatz Auctioneering.

The court’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held Tuesday, December 27, at 8:30 a.m. at the Hill County Courthouse.

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