County Commissioners approve reinvestment zone for Keystone Towers

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The Gray County Commissioners Court met on Monday morning in the second floor courtroom at the Gray County Courthouse. Commissioner Jeff Haley was absent for the meeting.

The Commissioners approved the next step in the process to bring Keystone Towers to Pampa as they approved the reinvestment zone at the former National Oilwell Varco property.

Attorney Vanessa Buzzard spoke to the Commissioners on behalf of Keystone.

“At this time we’re asking that you’ll approve the resolution to designate the NOV facility as a reinvestment zone,” Buzzard said. “This is, of course, a prerequisite to propose a tax abatement, which we will follow with that.”

Buzzard further explained that in order to have any tax abatement, you must have a dedicated reinvestment zone. County Judge Chris Porter said he was excited they are getting close to the end of the process and thanked Keystone for choosing to come to Pampa.

The Commissioners also approved to increase the fee to have records expunged.

District Clerk Jo Mays said they are raising a specific fee on those type of cases if they qualify. 

“The petitioner can request the court to do away with records, seal them and completely do away with them,” Mays said. 

“It’s not really a mailing thing or increasing postage. On expunged cases, by law, we have to send off certified copies of the order and the petition to the agencies the attorney has asked to be informed so those records can be destroyed.” 

Since 2017, Mays’ office hasn’t increased the fee and the County has taken a hit on the costs. Mays was asking to increase the fee from $19 to $25. 

“We will still be losing out on some, but this is how much I’m asking to increase for now,” Mays said. “I’m thinking attorneys will take to that better than an increase to $30 on each agency. It’s hurting us not to increase that.”

Mays added sometimes attorneys have 15 to 20 agencies they have to send the letters to, but they know the action is part of the suit.

Commissioner Logan Hudson asked if they went to $30 would Mays’ office break even on the cost.

“I would absolutely break even,” Mays said. “But you would be hearing attorneys throw up their hands all over the state of Texas because of that increase. They gripe about $19 now.”

The Commissioners approved an increase to $30 and told Mays if there is too much complaining about the cost, have them approach the Commissioners Court about the issue.

The following items were also approved:

• Minutes of the previous meeting.

• Pay bills as approved by the County Auditor

• Line Item Transfers

• Budget Amendments

• County Treasurer’s Report

• County Clerk’s Report

• Canvas of 2020 General Election

• JP 2&4 LOS/Hill Country Contract

• Panhandle Regional Housing Finance Representative for Gray County. Commissioner Jeff Haley was named to the position.

• Extending Disaster Declaration.

• Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases Interlocal Agreement.

• District Clerk Postage Increase. 

The next County Commissioners Court meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

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