County Commissioner Jim Bassett has decided not to run for re-election in November. Bassett has held the Precinct 3 post for two four-year terms.
Bassett, 72, was elected in November 2004. He had retired from the real estate and insurance business in 2000.
Upon his election, he became very busy writing and calling the Federal Emergency Management Agency about a commercial idea involving properties along the Nueces River.
FEMA had purchased 44 lots and houses on the Nueces River after the major flooding that occurred there in 2002.
“They did that to mitigate future losses,” Bassett said.
“My thought was why didn’t we clear those up. We did and made it a green area,” he said.
The commercial aspect came with another idea: Offer the lots back to the public, but for lease only to people with structures on wheels – no permanent structures.
“We’d get $150 to $200 a lot to offset loss of revenue (property taxes),” he said.
Now, Live Oak County gets $10,000 to $12,000 a year from those leases.
“And I don’t have to clean those,” he said.
That’s an additional savings in cost of maintenance.
“That’s the first time FEMA approved something commercial,” he noted.
Bassett also was instrumental in the construction of the Senior Center in Three Rivers although it wasn’t in his precinct. The project started in 2005 and was completed in 2006.
“I was in charge of construction and getting it started,” he said.
“I’m proud of that, and Commissioner Donna Mills was gracious enough to take it over,” he said.
Little did Bassett know, but County Judge Jim Huff nominated him for commissioner of the year for that project, and Bassett got it.
The Texas Association of Counties awarded Bassett the designation of commissioner of the year for senior activities.
“I didn’t do it (for the award) but I really appreciate it,” he said.
One more project Bassett is very proud of is the Live Oak County Criminal Justice Center, a project that began in 2008 and was finished in 2009.
He arranged the finances, oversaw the selection of architects, contractors and engineers.
“I spent a lot of time doing that. It was a huge project,” he said.
Bassett said he thanks Live Oak County residents for being supportive of the county’s leaders.
“We have a certain job to do, and they let us do it,” he said.
“I was given this opportunity to make a contribution, so I appreciated that. It was a joint effort by everybody, but you have to have a go-to person,” he said.
Bassett does have plans after he steps down from the commissioner position.
“I’m going to spend more time squeezing grandkids,” he said.
Willie James, the current Live Oak County chief appraiser, will resign his position to run for the Precinct 3, county commissioner seat. James is unopposed on the November ballot.
“I will stay on until the middle of December to help with the transition,” James said.
James, 57, has been chief appraiser for a little more than three years, beginning in 2009.
James when elected would begin commissioner duties on Jan. 1
James said a new chief appraiser has been hired and will begin duties officially on Aug. 27.
Jesse Hubbell, 59, currently living in Houston, was hired for the LOC chief appraiser position.
Hubbell has worked for the Galveston Central Appraisal District for more than 19 years and has been employed in the property tax appraisal field since 1981.
Previously, he worked for Pritchard & Abbott, Capitol Appraisal Group and the Harris County Appraisal District.
He also has worked in several counties in Texas, including the counties of Refugio, Harris, Robertson, Garza, Gaines and Galveston.
Hubbell grew up in Calhoun County.
He has an associate degree in management development and is a registered professional appraiser.
Hubbell is married to Becky, and they have one grown daughter, Jessica.
Hubbell said he was excited to be chosen as LOC chief appraiser.
“I am eager to get started in Live Oak County,” he said.