County commissioners labored for more than an hour Monday comparing insurance policies before finally voting unanimously to keep coverage with the Texas Association of Counties, Brown County’s insurer for the last several years.

Porter Insurance, a longtime family-owned Brownwood agency, had submitted a proposal through Traveler’s Insurance. Robert Porter attended Tuesday’s meeting to defend or explain the policy from his company. Chris Faught, field representative for TAC, did the same for that insurance group. Both policies were opened out of sealed envelopes near the start of the meeting.

The proposals “are very parallel” Brown County Judge Ray West said after an extended number of minutes reading through them both. And to Faught, West explained the interest of a local agency should be taken very seriously by the court.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to saving the county money,” West said. “This court has a responsibility to see what it is that a local agency can provide.”

West quoted the bottom line figures for the total insurance packages which included property, employees, vehicle and liability – everything but Worker’s Compensation – at $215,402 from TAC and an additional bond insurance and $220,700 from Porter Insurance.

“While cost is a factor,” Porter said, “it should not be the bottom line for choosing an insurance carrier.”

But as the discussion continued, it was made known there would be a $15,000 penalty and some other cost factors for breaking the contract with TAC. West explained the insurance annual coverage dates do not match the county’s fiscal year, and it would likely be impossible to see that they are aligned.

After the vote, West added, “I want to thank both of you guys for your hard work and the time you have put into this. I consider you both friends, and appreciate your willingness to try and provide what is best for this county.”

In one other business item on Tuesday, the court voted unanimously to approve, for a second year in a possible three-year grant proposal, the interlocal agreement for use of solid waste disposal grant funds.

Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Aaron was to present the proposal and was “two minutes late” arriving at the meeting, which meant he waited for about an hour before addressing the court.

“I am so sorry, I was late,” Aaron said, bringing laughter from all in the court chambers.

“You’re not apologizing to us,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Steve Adams. “You’re sorry because you had to wait for all of this.”

Last year the grant paid 100 percent salary and expenses for an environmental officer. This year, there will be 75 percent payment and Aaron said the sheriff’s office had budgeted the other 25 percent.

Finally, the meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today in the Commissioner’s Courtroom in the courthouse is a meeting of the County Elections Commission, not a court meeting as reported in Sunday’s paper.