Liberty County commissioners give green light to new plats, construction of Hartel Building storage facility

Moss Ranch is a new subdivision coming to the Tarkington area. This 117-acre property will have 125 homes on 3/4-acre lots.

Liberty County commissioners met in a regular session on Tuesday, May 23, to consider a slate of items, including preliminary and final plats for subdivisions, and to award a contract for a new 120-foot by 120-foot building to be constructed behind the Hartel Building at 318 San Jacinto St., Liberty.

The new building, which comes at a cost of $362,300, will be constructed by Mike Barnett Construction of Beaumont at the back of the Hartel Building property and used for emergency storage during floods, hurricanes and other disasters. Funding for the project, which is being managed by Pct. 1 Commissioner Bruce Karbowski, comes from federal grant money through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Commissioners tabled another ARPA-funded contract for a metal building and equipment shed for Road and Bridge Pct. 1. The contractor, Myron McDowell still has some registration documents to finalize funding.

First America Homes is the builder of new homes in the Moss Ranch Subdivision in the Tarkington area.

A preliminary plat for the Moss Ranch subdivision was approved by commissioners. This project is on a 117-acre property in the Macedonia area near Tarkington, with access to CR 2278, CR 2274 and CR 2285.

According to Scott Lambert, who is developing the property with local veterinarian Dr. Zack Stevenson, Moss Ranch will have 125 homes on 3/4-acre lots. The ranch-style homes will be constructed by First America Homes and the price point for these homes will start at $350,000. Each home will have its own aerobic septic system and have access to Tarkington Water Supply, Sam Houston Electric and AT&T for utilities. Lambert said the first homes will be on the ground by August or September 2023.

Commissioners also approved a final plat design for Santa Fe Village Section 1, which is located inside the Santa Fe Subdivision south of Plum Grove. Both the Santa Fe Village and Moss Ranch plat designs were approved LJA Engineering, the firm contracted by the County to review development plans and plats.

Commissioners approved a payment of $56,165 to LJA Engineering for wastewater engineering services related to the City of Hardin. This payment will come from ARPA funds.

A new canopy is currently underway at the Liberty County Probation Office on Main St. in Liberty. However, the contract ran into a snag when the windows that face Main Street were found to have leaks that were not discovered until the old awning was removed by the contractor. Before the new awning can be installed, the windows will have to be sealed, which comes at an additional cost of $3,000. Commissioners approved this unexpected expenditure.

A bridge replacement on Miller Road at Gaylor Creek was approved by commissioners. This bridge qualifies for 100 percent federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in November 2021. County Judge Jay Knight told commissioners the bridge is in desperate need of being replaced.

In other business:

  • Commissioners agreed with County Treasurer Kim Harris to discontinue the County’s contract with MetLife for supplemental insurance for County employees. Harris said the County has been collected insurance premium payments from County workers but her office cannot get MetLife to submit an invoice. Pct. 4 Commissioner Leon Wilson asked Harris to look for other alternative supplemental insurance plans.
  • Commissioners agreed to provide an old desk that was left behind in the Liberty-Dayton Chamber of Commerce office on Trinity Street to the family members of the previous owner of the desk. The original owner of the desk left it behind for the former chamber director, Mary Anne Campbell, to use. The Chamber is no longer in operation and the County has no need for the desk.
  • County employees will soon have an easier way to sign on to their computers and software. Commissioners approved the $10,890 purchase of Easy 365 Software Manager and its annual software cost of $1,050. IT Director Nick Dennis explained that employees will not have to remember multiple passwords for the various software and email systems they use, which will simplify their lives and make their jobs easier. Funding will come out of the technology fund.

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