MARSHALL — Despite its higher bid, Meadowbrook Funeral Home in Marshall will remain the vendor for Harrison County’s removal and transport of bodies and for direct cremation of the county’s indigents who have died, the Harrison County Commissioners Court decided in a 3-2 vote Wednesday.

Casting the dissenting votes 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.

The county’s purchasing agent, Kendl Russell, explained the two bids to the court.

For the transport contract, Downs offered to charge $90 for pickup, which included storage and a body bag; and $1 per mile for delivery/return from the pathologist. For cremation, Downs’ proposed charge was $575, including an alternative container.

In Meadowbrook’s transport contract, the funeral home’s charge is $100 for pickup, 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, including an alternative container.

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 indigents.

Despite the slightly higher fees, Pct. 3 Commissioner Jay Ebarb made the motion to continue with Meadowbrook as the vendor, citing the working relationship the county already has built with the funeral home throughout the years.

Census contract

In other business, the court approved retaining Michael Morrison as attorney to represent the county in connection with the mandated redistricting required by the U.S. 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,” Sims said. “He has sent us a letter letting us know he’s willing to help us again.”