Robert Baumgardner, chief for the North Lake VFD, told Brown County commissioners Monday that because of a change in the signal tower, the paging system that worked "pretty well" several years ago doesn't work at all any more for emergency contacts with the North Lake and May Volunteer Fire Departments.

A speedy and efficient contact system needs to be found as soon as possible, Baumgardner told the court.

"Sometimes, on a grass fire it won't make too much difference, but we run the EMS and when there's someone in critical condition, every second counts. We can't afford to wait while we get the right people contacted."

Baumgardner said the current system is to "text" firefighters, who are asked to "text" others.

One communication method the departments are trying to get established is for the county dispatcher send a "blanket" text to all firefighters in the department, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Joel Kelton, who is also a firefighter with the May VFD, said that should be possible.

"We've been discussing this for a while now, and nothing is happening. It's very upsetting that we're still discussing it and nothing's getting done," Kelton said.

Brown County Judge Ray West said he would make a phone call and find out what the issue was with the tower and if there was a way to reinstate the paging system.

In other business on Monday, commissioners approved:

The hiring of Brandon Arnold as a sheriff's deputy, effective Aug. 30. Arnold is now with the Brownwood City Police. He will replace Jeff Benson, who left the sheriff's office to go to work for the Early City Police.