Meadowbrook Funeral Home will remain the vendor for the county’s removal and transport of the deceased as well as for direct cremation for the county’s deceased paupers, Harrison County Commissioners Court decided in a 3-2 vote on Wednesday.

Casting the dissenting vote were Pct. 3 County Commissioner Phillip Mauldin and County Judge Chad Sims.

The vote came after a motion — made by Sims to move forward with the lower bidder and only other responding vendor, Downs Funeral Home — failed to receive a second motion for support.

“We have received those bids from (purchasing agent) Ms. (Kendl) Russell and we’ll see that Downs Funeral Home has bid less than Meadowbrook,” Judge Sims said, following a closed session on the matter.

“Our discussion has been about services divided; and personally we’re very grateful to Meadowbrook for all that you’ve done,” Sims said, before making a motion to go with the lower bidder, Downs.

Comparing the bids, the county’s purchasing agent, Kendl Russell, noted that for the transport contract, Downs offered to charge $90 for pick-up, which included storage and a body bag; and $1 per mile for delivery/return from the pathologist. For cremation, Downs’ proposed charge was $575. The cost included an alternative container.

In Meadowbrook’s transport contract, the funeral home’s charge is $100 for pick-up, which includes storage; $20 for a body bag and $1 per mile for delivery/return from the pathologist. For cremation, Meadowbrook’s charge is $600 and no charge for an alternative container.

After listening to the proposals, Pct. 2 Commissioner Zephaniah Timmins thanked Meadowbrook for their service throughout the years.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he said, sharing how other funeral homes he personally contacted in years past never responded to the request for proposals.

“Meadowbrook stepped right in,” said Timmins.

Meadowbrook has had the county’s contract for removal and transport since 2013 and the indigent burial services contract since 2015, providing cremation services for deceased paupers.

Pct. 1 Commissioner William Hatfield echoed Timmins’ sentiments, saying that he also thanks Meadowbrook for the true partnership they’ve exhibited throughout the years.

“They’re true community servants,” said Hatfield. “Unfortunately, they’re not the low bid.”

Despite the slightly higher fees, Pct. 4 Commissioner Jay Ebarb made the motion to continue with Meadowbrook as the vendor, citing the working relationship the county has already built with the funeral home throughout the years.

Timmins and Hatfield supported the motion.

Census Contract

In other business, the court approved the retention of Michael Morrison as attorney to represent the county in connection with the mandated redistricting as required by the US and Texas Constitutions in connection with the 2020 Census. Morrison assisted the county with the last two Censuses.

“He’s very familiar with our county and our needs here,” said Sims. “He has sent us a letter letting us know he’s willing to help us again.”