An announcement about who will become Hunt County’s first purchasing agent could come as early next week, the county judge said Monday.

County Judge John Horn said county officials have sorted through 40 to 50 applications and narrowed the field down to five finalists. Horn said those five finalists are set to be interviewed Thursday and Friday by himself and district court judges Richard A. Beacom and Joe Leonard. The three will also be responsible for supervising whomever is hired.

“I think by the information that (the finalists) provided, we feel that they meet the requirements that we are looking for,” Horn said.

The decision to hire a purchasing agent divided the Hunt County Commissioners Court, who had to authorize the new position, down the middle as commissioners debated whether the position was needed during budget workshops in July. Ultimately, the court decided by a 3-2 margin to approve the hire.

The purchasing agent, who will receive a $40,000 a year salary, will be responsible for helping control county spending and regulating the county’s bidding process.

In the past, each county official has been responsible for their own purchases and bills are submitted to the county auditor for payment — whether funds are available or not. But, once a purchasing agent is hired the purchasing process will be centralized and a purchase order system will be used, which proponents say will make the spending process more efficient and help the county spend tax dollars better.

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