Court approves $4.37 million in bonds [Cleburne Times-Review, Texas]
(Cleburne Times-Review (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 29--Johnson County Commissioners on Monday approved the issuance of $4.37 million in bonds to finance new software systems for several county departments.
Commissioners, following the recommendation of First Southwest Managing Director James Sabonis, accepted the lowest of 10 bids, which came from American National Bank in Terrell. American National offered an interest rate of 1.82 percent and an all-in cost -- including the purchaser's cost of $4,837 -- of 1.84 percent.
First Southwest is the investment bank handling the issuance of bonds for the county.
Sabonis told commissioners that the bid from American National was "lower than expected, lower than we talked about" when the commissioners court voted to take bids on issuing the tax notes. All of the bids that were submitted were pretty competitive, he said.
"It shows the strength this county has, that these banks see this county as being credit-worthy," Sabonis said. Johnson County has a double-A credit rating, the highest credit rating available.
A variety of state and national banks submitted bids on issuing the tax notes, as well as one local bank -- First Financial Bank Cleburne. Interest from the state and national banks is proof that the county is known to be financially stable and well managed, he said.
Bids ranged from American National's low interest rate of 1.82 percent to First Financial Bank Cleburne's bid of 2.5 percent.
Commissioners also approved a letter of engagement with the law firm of McCall, Parkhurst and Horton, L.L.P., to provide legal assistance in the issue of the bonds.
The $4 million-plus from the sale of bonds will pay for new software systems for the county's courts, law enforcement, land records and vital statistics and human resources department.
County IT Director Dan Milam said the new software for the courts, Tyler Odyssey software, will replace the outdated NetData software now in use. Tyler Odyssey software is a case management program for everything "from the jail forward," he said.
"It is the system that the prosecutors, judges and the district clerk and county clerk will use to manage cases."
The county's law enforcement offices will get SunGard OSSI software for dispatch and records management. Milam said the SunGard OSSI will improve and expand communications, not only within the Johnson County Sheriff's Office but with municipal law enforcement agencies in the county and the region, and with other county law enforcement agencies in the area.
The new software will allow Johnson County law enforcement to share information more efficiently.
The new Innoprise HR software package will expand the county's existing Innoprise software.
In other business related to IT, commissioners authorized Milam to bring in the Texas Department of Information Resources to conduct an external security audit of the county's IT resources, at no cost to the county. The court also authorized Milam to bring in Assero Security, at a cost of $5,300, to perform an internal security audit.
Milam said that in the external security audit, the Texas DIR, a state agency providing leadership and oversight for management of government information and communications technology statewide, will "check any Internet-facing applications we have on a quarterly basis and alert us to any potential security problems."
State law prohibits the DIR from doing the same kind of audit "from the inside out," which is why he wants to bring in Assero Security to perform that audit.
Milam said the money for the internal security audit is already in his department's budget, and that he believes such an audit is absolutely necessary.
"I fully expect they are going to find some problems," Milam said. "We recently had a virus that caused trouble county-wide for two days."
In other business, commissioners reappointed Dennis Erinakes to the Prairielands Groundwater Conservation Board but agreed to find someone to replace board member James Hallman when his term expires.
Commissioners appointed County Judge Roger Harmon to the Bluebonnet Resource Conservation and Development Inc. board, with Public Works Director David Disheroon as his back-up, and they voted to appoint Harmon to the Cleburne TIF No. 3 board until Disheroon, hired as public works director earlier this month, has had time to adjust to his new position and then take over on the TIF board.
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