The way has been paved for the Monterey Square Business Association to host its first Farmers Jam Fest on Saturday, May 14, on the courthouse square in Wharton.

Permission to use the square and electricity was granted by the Wharton County Commissioners Court during regular session on Monday, April 25. That evening, the Wharton City Council approved the festival and granted street closures, waived permit fees, allowed for advertisement on Highway 59 and agreed to provide waste containers and trash bags for the event.

“They are looking to highlight the talents of local craft vendors.  And so the event sponsors are planning for live music and food vendors,” County Judge Phillip Spenrath said.

“The association is trying to start a spring event as we do every fall we do the Wine Fair, the second Saturday in October and we’re trying to do a spring event the second Saturday in May,” Terry Arceo told the city council. “And so we’ve come up with the Farmers Jam Fest where we can have artisans and crafters and people that make all these homemade goods have a vendor spot and judging contest and stuff on the square; stuff to bring locals out with their homegrown items. We were looking at street vendors, food vendors, a judging area and some live music.”

Both the city and county unanimously approved the requests for the festival.

Commissioners

The commissioners awarded a bid for construction of a 5,000-quare-foot pre-engineered metal building and added alternates for the Wharton County Solid Waste Station in Precinct 2, but it didn’t go to the lowest bidder.

The county received four bids for the project and awarded a bid of $284,165 to BLS Construction of El Campo. It scored considerably higher than the other bidders in terms of meeting the full request but was $29,015 more than the lowest bidder. County Attorney Trey Maffett advised that the law allows the commissioners to award a higher bid if the scoring justifies it.

In other action, the commissioners:

• Purchased a mulcher head with quad cut teeth from Anderson Machinery for $22,600;

• Accepted 9,400 tons of gravel from CenterPoint Energy for damages to County Road 421;

• Approved installation of a boiler at the Wharton County Jail for $13,475;

• Approved the purchase of truck accessories and a vehicle lighting package for a truck purchased by the sheriff’s office;

• Approved an interlocal agreement with Victoria County for jail services;

• Put salvage/surplus items up for auction at www.gov.deals.com;

• Changed the personnel policy to the maximum GSA-Texas travel rate for county business requiring overnight stay and any reimbursement not requiring an overnight stay to $35;

• Approved the purchase of security devices from SecureTech for $29,000; and

• Heard presentations for electricity usage from four companies, Constellation, Freedom Energy Team, Public Power Pool, and Direct Energy Business.

City council

In addition to approving the Farmers Jam Fest, the city council:

• Set the dates for budget workshops on June 21, July 18, and Aug. 9 with adoption anticipated for Sept. 26;

• Set the date for a public hearing for the annexation of city-owned property into the city limits on May 9;

• Awarded a contract for renovations to meeting rooms A and B at the Wharton Civic Center to Rosenberg Carpet;

• Approved the pool schedule, with the pool opening May 31 to Aug. 7;

• Passed a resolution denying a rate increase requested by CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC;

• Authorized the sale of surplus property;

• Approved resolutions regarding American Rescue Plan Act funds and Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, allowing the city to participate in the programs and to receive funding;

• Approved a resolution allowing the city to receive HUD and General land Office funding related to damage from Hurricane Harvey; and

• Approved submitted a letter to the Texas Department of Transportation requesting that FM 1301 be classified as a minor arterial roadway.

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