The Hood County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to create its own facilities policy for when non-county organizations wish to reserve space inside county-owned facilities.
During a regular meeting of the Hood County Commissioners Court on Nov. 14, Precinct 2 Commissioner Nannette Samuelson explained that through a recent request to use a Hood County facility, it became apparent that the county did not already have a procedure in place.
“Several meetings back, it came to (our) attention that we are not covered for liability,” Samuelson said. “So, we talked about implementing some type of request for people who wanted to use it.”
She explained the organization could have purchased a liability policy, but County Attorney Matt Mills and HR Director Melissa Welborn came up with the idea to include a hold harmless clause on the application. A hold harmless clause is used as a release of liability in a contract that protects one party from injury or property damage caused by another party.
The only problem, Samuelson said, was the county didn’t have a facility application — leading Mills and Welborn to create two documents: Hood County Use of Facilities Policy and Procedures; and Use of Hood County Facilities Requirements and Agreement.
FACILITY POLICY AND PROCEDURES
The policy includes all Hood County facilities and grounds except for the Hood County Library as it has its own policy and procedures.
Groups that are eligible to reserve county facilities include civic, educational and nonprofit groups or organizations that are holding meetings or events of public interest.
Excluded meetings/events include:
There is generally no charge for facilities/building use. However, the county may charge a security, maintenance or cleaning fee, depending on the facility/building used, length of time, time of day and condition after use.
All meetings held must be open to the general public. County staff retains the right to attend any meetings or events to ensure compliance of policies and procedures. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to attend the requested meeting/event.
A group may request the use of a facility/building by email or in person. A facility must be reserved giving a reasonable time in advance with no more than four applications from the same group within a 90-day period if another group is requesting the use of the same room or space.
Applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Groups must make the county aware of any cancellations no less than 72 hours in advance.
FACILITY REQUIREMENTS AND AGREEMENT
The requirement and agreement document explains that Hood County buildings may be utilized for nonprofit organizations directly or indirectly related to Hood County government.
Requirements state that a single person must be designated to be responsible for the conduct of persons attending the meeting.
The designated person will ensure the facility is returned to the same condition as it was found, including:
The designated person must also contact the following for access to the building being requested:
If any of the requirements are not met, it may result in the forfeiture of the group’s future use and charges assessed.
The individual is required to list their group name, telephone number, purpose of the meeting, the number of expected attendees, and the requested date/dates to use the facility.
No reservations will be accepted until the form has been completed and returned.
Samuelson made a motion to approve the Hood County Facilities Policy and Procedures, and the Facilities Requirements and Agreement. The motion passed unanimously.