Sheriff: off-duty deputies guarding pipeline are independent « Big Bend Now
Here's an article from last week's Sentinel where Sheriff Dominguez states that his private security firm does not handle pipeline security.
In a conversation I had last week with the Texas Rangers office, it was acknowledged, as it is by everyone I have spoken to in the past six months who would have knowledge of this, including multiple employees of Big Bend Security, that Big Bend Security does the security for the pipeline in Presidio County.
The Sheriff lies about that in this article and then obfuscates the relationship of independent contractor deputies to his company by alluding to them working directly for ETP or Pumpco on contract.
Of course this behavior is not illegal. My experience with the Sheriff is that ethics mean nothing.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Here are my notes from this meeting. Once again, the IPad (County issued) I use to take these notes shut down unexpectedly during notation and I lost 20-30 minutes of notes on Atty Jim Allison's explanation to the Court regarding recommendations for golf course contract proposals. Fortunately, Mr. Allison provided a detailed handout after his talk which relays that information in writing. See two posts down for that document.
Presidio County Commissioners Court special meeting 1/31/2017 10 AM, Marfa
Presidio County Commissioners Court special meeting 1/31/2017 10 AM, Marfa
Commissioners present: Brenda Bentley, Loretta Vasquez, Judge Cinderela Guevara, Eloy Aranda, Lorenzo Hernandez. (All)
County Attorney Rod Ponton also present. Attorney Jim Allison (county outside legal counsel) also present.
Item 4: citizens comments on items not on agenda.
Three people signed up so far.
On behalf of Global Golf. Knows that specs of contract proposal were not all met. Asks for commissioners to meet with them anyway to make this work out for the golf course.
Please consider. Golf association now has only 40 members. Lowest number ever. Please consider global golf.
Hester Ann White:
Advocates for a good golf course. In order to have a good golf course water must be available. Would like for Global Golf to build a new golf course where there is an abundance of gray water. Says that their proposal would require too much water in addition to finances. Infrastructure needed would be a major consideration. Please consider this in addition to the long term financial situations.
Jane Walker: passionately advocates for golf group. Reads from 2014 Sentinel article on golf course future. Net loss in 2014 was $70,000 including Vizcaino Park costs.
Recounts conversations from the past including City of Marfa contribution, lack of Presidio resident access and interest. Needed improvements. Still needs improvements, none done since 2014. Something has to be done, please do not let this golf course die. Has a handout for commissioners, passes it out to them.
Judge closes comment period. She says that she agrees that commissioners do want to preserve the golf course and comments will be taken into consideration. Thanks commenters.
Item 5: comments from Judge and commissioners.
Judge went to Redford and saw water system and saw that water tank is corroded and leaking. Lifespan of that type of tank is twenty years, it has been seventeen years. Would like to replace next go around with a steel tank which would last longer.
On Friday Judge attended RGCOG meeting. Had a presentation from Dr Baeza from Presidio. Did a great job and will come to a future commissioners court meeting to present about poison hotline. 800 number to call for snakebites, spider bites, medication accidents to speak with a pharmacist about potential dangers, treatment.
Judge will go to Presidio tomorrow to meet with residents and city administrator of City.
No announcements from commissioners.
Item 6: No action on minutes
Judge allows Eddie Pallarez to make another point. With regard to water usage issues, Global Golf says that state of the art irrigation system will use less water than current nine hole system does and will serve 18 holes.
Item 7: executive session convened. Commissioners go to jury room to meet at 10:22 to consult with attorney. Meeting recessed.
Meeting reconvened at 11:20 AM
Presentation by attorney Jim Allison.
Computer froze. Lost entire summary of legal situation. Summary included in handout by Atty Allison.
Luckily, Atty Allison provides Court and public with a written legal summary of his findings. I will post that summary as part of this post.
Aranda moves to not approve either bid.
Seconded by Bentley. Unanimous
Break at 11:40 AM.
Reconvene at 11:59 AM.
Grantworks submission for Texas community development block grant. TDA. Up to $275,000 with up to $13,750 of matching funds from the County and in kind labor donations to service and improve Redford water system. Authorizes County Judge to be chief officer representing County.
This is an item already discussed in previous meetings.
Aranda says we have discussed it and we want to go ahead with it, so he motions to approve.
Seconded by Hernandez.
Item 2: OMB requested.
Katie Sanchez of OMB presents:
Asks that funds for block grant monies be disbursed as soon as available. Payments must be made within five days of receiving bills for this grant.
Item 3: also presented by Sanchez: name engineering firm. Two firms presented. Sanchez recommends McKinstree (spelling?). Sam Cobos involved in tax committee which met on this. Sheriff has seen this information, agrees with recommendation.
Aranda motions to accept recommendation to approve TXCDBG funds from TDA. Unanimous.
Hernandez moves to select a professional engineer and take recommendation of committee. Unanimous.
Hernandez asks if County Atty will be used for drafting agreements. Yes, for review at least. Ponton says he will look at what they present and if it needs to be rewritten they can revisit this.
Next meeting of Court is Feb 10. Hopefully review this by that meeting.
Item number four: City of Marfa legislative item to use hotel motel tax monies for airport improvements. Dunlap not here until after lunch, Ponton presents
Says City of Marfa wants to contribute to airport renovations, have to propose legislation to contribute funds. Chase Snodgrass has an issue about potential city of Marfa influence. TXDOT grants say that county must control all grant monies. Ponton worked with Nevarez's office to update language taking the control issue out of the wording but still allowing for a contribution.
Hernandez asks if State Rep wants county support for this bill. Yes, says Ponton.
Judge says that city control over airport language will be taken out as long as revenue from the airport goes back into airport. Ponton says this is discussion only, will bring this back to Commissioners when ready.
Judge says update from Texas hotel and lodging association is here in a document. Will get it to Commissioners.
Chase Snodgrass, airports manager, says that the City of Marfa has not had a mechanism to contribute, this is it. He fully supports the concept. We just need to be sure that wording does not disqualify us from receiving grants.
Judge would like commissioners to write the Mayor a thank you letter since Dunlap initiated this process himself. She will write it. Commissioners agree.
Authorizing Treasurer to pay for repairs to GMC Terrain. Same item has been addressed in part in previous meetings.
Aranda motions to approve. $6573.74 to Freedom Buick GMC
No line item transfers
Bills: treasurer submitted bills. In packet.
Mostly utility bills.
Judge motions to approve.
Vasquez seconds, unanimous
Adjourn. Ponton says he would like to bring up that Presidio folks would like more markings for road crossings at night and early in the morning on TXDOT highways. Requesting letter from commissioners to send a letter to TXDOT to do traffic study to allow them to possibly build this.
Judge Beebe raises hand, says he would like to see this on a future agenda since it is not on this agenda. Judge nods. Silence. Judge motions to adjourn.
Adjourn at 12:23 PM
Jane Walker, as part of her citizen's comments to Presidio County Commissioners Court, submitted excerpts from 2014- present Big Bend Sentinal/ Big Bend Now coverage and letters to the editor.
Here is the legal opinion by Jim Allison, outside legal counsel, on the proposals submitted regarding the RFP for the County owned "Marfa Municipal Golf Course" and surrounding lands.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Marfa City Council Meeting, 1-26-2017, 6:00 PM
Item 4: minutes of Jan 10- approved as presented
Item 5: mayor's report, none
Item 6: city administrators report
Election: state requires electronic voting machines. Separate machines for early vote and election day vote. Been using County machines. County is reviewing purchasing new machines. New machines will have a marked ballot for each vote.
Eliminated hand counting of ballots. Can still be counted by hand if needed. City may need to buy own machines. Could cost $10,000- $15,000
City on Feb 23rd is hosting regional TML meeting.
Equipment for paving quotes have been collected. Very expensive. Will need to advertise for bids.
Item 8: presentations, none
Item 10: concerning project graduation for high school lock in may 27,28. Cynthia Ramirez presents. Mac building and pool from evening until 6 AM. Wants to waive fees. Manny Baeza moves to allow without fees as long as deposit $250 for cleaning.
Genevieve Bassham seconds. Deposit will be returned if cleaned. Project Grad has to provide their own lifeguards. Mayor has comment: police to be painted this year. Could be an issue. Has to be warm in April to do this. Also, council needs to determine who will operate the pool. Mayor has been the operator for the last ten years.
Undetermined at this point. Council will need to decide on these issues.
Proposal to repair ambulance. Box is on its second ambulance. Electronic issues to be addressed. Louisiana firm does this. This had been main ambulance until new ambulance acquired. Money from tax note can be used. Mark Scott moves to use money to repair ambulance Box. Peter asks about time frame. Mustard says he does not know but they are ready to work on it now.
Twelve thousand seven hundred fifty four dollars
Election ordinances may sixth.
Mustard describes three tasks for authorizing election.
Need election Judge as Rosie Garcia is likely to not be available.
Florcita Saenz is backup. No commitment from her yet.
Sign orders to schedule election.
Unanimously adopted. Currently two mayoral candidates. Two candidates for two spaces on city council.
Feb 17 deadline to register.
Office of City Treasurer: creation of office.
City atty Teresa Todd has info on this.
Provisions from chap 22 of local government code. General law municipality is what Marfa is a Type A Aldermanic form of municipal govt.
Duties of mayor include chief budget officer.
Other officers include possible Treasurer.
If adopted, city Treasurer's duties include being directly responsible to the council.
Not same as city comptroller. Comptroller would be responsible to city administrator.
After Leo Salgado departed Florencio Salcedo took on duties. After he was dismissed, Mayor took on those duties.
Section 22.075 sets out how office can be created and duties of office.
Dunlap says that financial responsibility fell to him ten years ago and he has been managing that since. By end of May there will be a vacuum.
Advantage of Treasurer is answers to council. Not to city Administrator.
Treasurer is also investment officer.
Teresa says that Mayors power as chief budget officer may not be delegated to another person.
Mark Scott asks about application process.
Teresa says there is not one, but a two step process is probably best.
First step is to make the office, the. Decide whether to advertise, etc.
Teresa says that if you create this position it is subject to the removal by the council.
Position will be bonded.
Dunlap says that it is most important that these duties be picked up for continuity.
Peter Stanley says that the timing on this is a concern. Mustard's contract is up in September. Next administrator could have these duties. Duties need to be performed, and he does not think that having the new Mayor doing these duties is optimal. These duties may discourage candidates, among other issues.
Teresa Todd says that once the city creates this position, the City holds this position. Mayor reminds council that money has been budgeted for this purpose in this fiscal year.
Mustard says that city council could wait until next fiscal year to hire. No requirement to hire immediately if position is created.
Mustard says in the interest of transparency that he no longer wants to be gas company manager and city manager at the same time. No money currently budgeted for this transition, whatever it may be.
Audience member asks what the duties for treasurer are.
Teresa says that Treasurer shall receive and keep all monies received.
May not pay an order without councils approval.
Must render full accounting of receipts and payments.
May also do other duties.
Mayor confirms this employee will be an at will employee.
Mustard says that this same employee will maintain and update computer software for the city.
Audience member asks council to take their time. City is always hurting for money. Please take your time, this is very important.
Teresa Todd says that city had been in a financial crisis ten years ago and that people who were here took on extra duties based on lack of funds.
Now there is some funding. Issues still end to be addressed on a daily basis. This has been a unique situation.
Audience member says that money is still a big issue. Pease study it more, give people more time to ask questions.
Lineaus asks if questions are to be allowed before a motion.
Mayor asks for motion. No motion.
Mark Scott moves to table item.
Peter Stanley seconds. Unanimous
Adjourn at 6:39 PM
Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting 1/23/2017
10:00 AM convene at Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa
All commissioners and judge present. Also present County Atty Rod Ponton
Item 5: announcements from commissioners and judge.
Judge says that 2012 GMC Terrain will be repaired for $6800. Repair completed under budget by approx $400. Car is now inspected and ready to go. Ready to be picked up.
Judge apologizes for not going to road and bridge lunch. New voting machines for next election came in for demonstration. Impressive. Will return to give additional demonstration in May or June. City of Marfa also attended meeting.
New have electronic and paper receipt records. Machines are Leo to be adopted in El Paso County. Thanks road and bridge department for the good work they have done.
Commissioner Aranda says that road and bridge dept are hard working people. Commissioner Vasquez donated $300 for food. Commissioner Hernandez would like for all elected officials to attend next time. Judge agrees.
Commissioners and judge agree.
Proposed legislation for hotel motel tax coming that would help assist the County with CIP grants for the airport. Says Chase is not comfortable control over the airport functions. Judge is in communication with Poncho Nevarez' office with regard to that language. Grants that we apply for require County to retain control in order to administer grants. May be an issue. Bill stipulates that it would sunset in ten years.
Aranda talks about need for financial assistance for airport renovations.
Judge repeats support for Chase and the job he is doing. Asks auditor about it fuel sales. Employee bonuses for additional fuel sales. Approved by commissioners.
Hernandez asks if it's legal to give bonuses to County employees. Patty says commissioners voted on it last year. Aranda says this is the first time he has heard of that. Knows that same employees are getting overtime. Hernandez says they may want to revisit this issue. Aranda says that no other employees for the County even are allowed overtime pay. Judge says that in the minutes the stipulations of what they passed are very specific. Will look at it.
Aranda says that employee Isidro who is very sick has doctors note saying he can work again. Working in road and bridge. Has over 33 years with County. Will go back to work and Ruben Carrasco will monitor his health. Commissioners happy about that.
Item 6: approve previous minutes. No minutes to approve.
Inidividual agenda items
Item 1: contract with Jeff Davis County for inmate housing at County Jail. Sheriff is asking for Jeff Davis county to pay the same as the US Marshals. $65/day. Also wants for them to pay for transportation to and from any medical facilities when their prisoners need it.
Otherwise contract is the same.
Sheriff says that also MHMR patients need 24/7 guards. Wants Jeff Davis to cover those costs and/or provide an actual guard or jailer to be there. Not in proposal but Sheriff would like that. Judge says that item should be tabled until item is added. Sheriff says that last commissioners court someone presented this without his knowledge. Has not heard a word from new Jeff Davis County Sheriff. Says until he comes over here in person to talk about it and negotiate this is what he wants.
Rod Ponton says that new Sheriff told him he does not have the money to cover any additional costs. Dominguez says that covering their costs will not happen again.
They will have to send a deputy or a jailer to deal with this.
Patty Roach asks about the expiration of the current contract. Sheriff says it already expired Dec 31st. They can also take their prisoners to any other jail.
Rod wants to know if adding the financial burden to the contract will suffice. Sheriff says that sometimes they are short staffed, payment is not always the only issue.
Judge recommends to postpone until item fully ready. Makes motion.
Item 2: Total I.D. solutions contract for Sheriff's Office ID system.
Contract on table. Sheriff presents. Judge says that yearly renewal required.
Sheriff says that it is cheaper to sign maintenance contract than having individual calls. Unanimously approved. Judge would like to see original contract. Sheriff says he will provide it. It is in Sheriff's Office.
Item 3: District Clerk Report approval Dec 2016
No questions. $6725 received in county clerks office, just over $1000 in district clerks.
Item 4: commissioners court agendas. Requested item by commissioner Aranda. Wants County Atty to review all agenda items for legal purposes. All items necessary? Review appropriate items and advise parties prior to meetings. Preparation for commissioners prior to court meetings.
Judge understands his perspective.
Aranda says it's mostly for legal review.
Judge says yes, most of the time items are sent for review to involved parties prior to posting. Has no objection to adding co Atty.
Crystal Funke says she has already been adding Rod to most items. Rod says most cities and counties have items reviewed by Atty prior to posting. Improves efficiency.
Hernandez wants to know what the current process is for adding agenda items. Judge says that usually people request items and they make it onto the agenda. Now their can be a pre-agenda. Hernandez wants to know who approves an agenda item to be posted. Judge says a commissioner or the judge has to approve or sponsor each item.
Beebe asks if commissioners are giving veto power to the County Attorney
Judge says no, make no mistake that the commissioners will not be giving power to veto items to county attorney. Aranda clarifies that he is simply trying to make matters easier and have more legal clarity. Vasquez says that he understands the concerns.
Commissioner Bentley makes a motion to postpone this item to get legal advice from TAC to be sure commissioners are not giving away their power to set the agenda. Commissioner Aranda says that he is trying to be clear that commissioners are not going to give up their power. Brenda says she understands but just wants to be legally sure. Judge says she understands Judge Beebe's point. Brenda wants to know if Court needs an action item to approve county attorney looking over the agenda. Unknown.
Hernandez says that City of Presidio does this as a matter of policy. Judge and everyone agree that the concept is good and judge says that even if they do not take action, she will forward agendas to County Atty prior to posting as a matter of her own policy. Judge wants agenda to be more transparent to the public in general. Judge says she has changed the agenda posting to be more like Bexar County's agenda so that things are more easily readable.
Sheriff Dominguez says that sending everything to TAC every time you need an opinion the County Attorney will be useless to them. Brenda says she is not saying that's what they will be doing. Rod says that he will not be putting anything of his own on the agenda. Brenda asks if this is a necessary item for a motion. Hernandez says he would like to see in parentheses who placed each item on the agenda.
Judge says that her opinion is that there is no action necessary for this since she will be doing it this way regardless. Asking for second on motion to contact TAC. Hernandez says that he doesn't even think a motion on this issue is necessary since they will adopt this method. First motion does for lack of a second. Aranda makes a motion to adopt the proposal letting the County Attorney review items before being posted on any agenda. Seconded by commissioner Vasquez. Crystal a Funke asks what happens if he is not available. Rod says he will always be available by phone or email. Approved.
Items brought by County Auditor:
Willie Hernandez maintenance on County vehicles.
Auditor says that since Willie is already an employee he cannot volunteer his services and cannot be paid as a contractor. Economic Realities test asks if he can realistically be treated as a provider of a separate business.
Retroactively changing pay rates is unconstitutional.
Supervisor (Sheriff) will need to approve his hours. Must be paid as an employee.
Commissioners may, in the future, create a job description for this maintenance job.
Possible liability issues if work is being done off county property with regard to either workman's comp or county property being damaged or lost while not in County custody.
Vasquez says that if you compare rates for work done he is very much cheaper, especially for emergency work. Is there some sort of waiver? Rod Ponton asks if he is working as a county employee on county time. Patty says that basically, yes since the Economic Realities Test determines that he does not have a legitimate outside independent business doing this work.
Aranda says that this is small community, often the county uses non-professionals to do work since that is what's available. Patty says that difference is that this concerns a county employee and the county is required to apply federal law in this case.
Aranda also says that Sheriff should be able to decide how to spend his budget. Roach says that we must follow federal law here.
Rod Ponton says that the issue is whether the employer is pressuring an employee to do something for less than value. If the employee has a legitimate side business then there is no problem. Federal law is trying to prohibit employers from abusing employees. Patty repeats that the county is responsible for following the federal guidelines. Outlines a few of these test examples; permits, filing, taxes, et al.
This issue is only here because Willie is a county employee.
Vasquez asks if next time the Sheriff's Office needs an emergency expenditure in this nature can Willie be paid not as an employee? A P.O. Can be issued in an emergency. Katie Sanchez describes some of the things that constitute an emergency expenditure.
Judge moves to pay Willie through payroll after a time sheet is turned in. Unanimous.
Budget Amendment for Sheriff's Office vehicle repairs.
Patty says that a vehicle was damaged, insurance received for approx $5400. Need budget amendment to repair vehicle. Need to declare a budget amendment for increase to Sheriff's Office vehicle repair budget based on unforeseen expenditures.
Brenda Bentley moves to approve amendment.
Seconded by Vasquez.
Line-item transfers. In commissioners packet.
Uniforms for constable pct 2. $86
Judge motions to approve.
Seconded by Aranda
Bills and Expenses:
Frances says there is a correction. TAC check for $175. Misprinted in bills as TACA dues.
Brenda makes motion to approve. Judge seconds. Unanimous.
Adjourn at 11:42 AM
Presidio County Commissioners Court Tuesday 12/13/2016 9:30 AM Marfa
All commissioners and judge present other than commissioner Hernandez, who is absent.
Vince Fuentez: road in Casa Piedra. Judge makes motion to let him speak for six minutes. Unanimous.
Vince says he has questions about the proposed change to Fm 169.
Family landowner since 1863.
Says this seems like a simple alteration to a road but it is not. Alternate route requires cutting down hills, culverts. Current road requires little maintenance. New road is for private gain, not public benefit.
Commissioners court is last line of defense here. Current road is not broken.
Is there a deed to all county roads? Apparently no legal deed to road. Are these roads deeded? Possible this is an opportunity to deal with these potential problems.
Ramon Carrasco: wanted to let Court know how bids for Redford project went. He is engineer. Received bids from one bidder. Texas partners. Has done projects for county in the past.
Bid is $6,000 over budget. Working with budget to make it work. Hector Morales from Redford is assisting with adjustments.
After meeting Ramon will prepare a change order and will try to move forward. He is happy with bidder and bid.
Item 6: county judge announcements and commissioners announcements.
Judge says she attended training as well as Commissioner Vasquez. Disaster finance training. OMB director implementing procedures. Judge references tractor trailer hazmat situation from this weekend. Tomorrow at fire station there will be a debriefing. Traffic had to be diverted to fort Davis highway as Alpine road was closed.
Judge had a meeting with CDM Smith with a proposal for TXDOT fast lane project between Presidio and Marfa.
Plan is to design road widening project. 5, 10, 25 year plan for this.
Judge recognizes Martin Lujan from Perdue law firm and he is taking a position with UT Arlington in Irving.
Commissioner Aranda says that he has been talking to Ramon Carrasco about USDA projects with City of Presidio. Possible meeting with people in Shafter about forming a water district. For future water grants. White says that future commissioner Brenda Bentley should be involved from the beginning. Aranda says that there is potential for a $500,000 grant. White says this has been exploited but the citizens need to come together first. In the past they have preferred to fight rather than group together.
Judge says that second commissioners court date proposed for the 20th to pay bills, deal with communications and jail renovations. Tuesday the 20th, one week from now. Possibly in Presidio or Marfa. Commissioners say yes. Aranda wants to keep the bid rating system in the hands of commissioners and not with a separate committee. Discussion. Judge wants to know how long it takes to rate bids. Aranda says it takes maybe a couple of hours. Two HVAC bids, one communications, four for cdbg engineer, one for Redford construction, two golf course, several others.
Katie continues to describe the ratings system. Vasquez wants OMB do give them a recommendation and then commissioner can review. Auditor Patty Roach comments that a committee to be formed to make recommendations should be convened and perhaps a commissioner can serve on that committee. She says that she is concerned about efficiency of the process and consistency. Rules regarding commissioners court including open meetings act could delay or compromise some aspects of getting all information processed in a reasonable period.
Ramon Carrasco says that he recommends OMB to manage the bidding scoring with some commissioners involved to make a recommendation to the court.
Commissioners still have final say.
Back to meeting time for December meeting. Tuesday the 20th afternoon, at 1:30.
Legal counsel will review two golf course bids. No obligation to disclose anything about bids at this time.
Item 7: minutes approval.
Judge says that Jim Allison advises that if court has an item that should be addressed on a future agenda that the item should be postponed. Tabling should be for taking care of an item for later in the same day. Judge motions to approve minutes for meeting Nov 9. Unanimous.
Item 8: sale of property in trust. Within City of Presidio property. Action item.
Ruben Carrasco says the property is an empty lot. Two small lots. Vasquez wants to know where this is. South of cattle lots. There is a dedicated street on maps but it is not cut. No current access.
Bid is from Eric Jimenez. Martin Lujan recommends sale of property.
Aranda says that description of property may be incorrect or buyer may be confused. Spoke to mother of bidder. Wants to make sure that everything is correct. Martin says that son submitted this particular description. Judge makes motion to postpone sale until county can be clear on status of property and buyer's will. White seconds. Change on motion to table after phone calls made. Judge changes motion Unanimous.
Martin will call.
Item 9: Public Power Pool proposal.Action item.
Review pricing quote received by PPP. David Quin presents.
Used last week's load information. Rates received yesterday. 3.122 cents. Lowest rate seen in the past twelve months. Indicative quote only. Final approval by court will result in executing rate similar. Estimated effect on county's budget: initial membership dues of $1,500. Resulting in savings total of approx $8,500 for the year to county.
Judge will be contact point person. Judge makes motion to approve, including paying dues. White seconds. Unanimous.
Return to item 8: Martin says that property is wrong property. Consulted with family. Court takes no action on item 8.
Item 10: Integrity Steel Works bid for $5827.73 for repairs to jail.
No repairs to locks have been made at any time. Proposal has been made, but not budgeted. Marco Baeza is here on behalf of the jail.
White says this is imperative. Gracie and auditor need to figure out budget item. Vasquez says this needs to be done.
This was brought on after a federal inmate attacked a jailer. Also need a chain link fence over the yard, concrete reconstruction in yard. White wants to know how much can be done in house. Marco says that overhead fence can be done in house. Concrete needs to go in first. Cracks in floor, inmate grabbed cracked concrete pieces and hit jailer. White wants to know about cracks. Cracks all around yard, cracks can be broken and used as weapons.
Some lights on yard are out as well. Concrete may need to be pumped from overhead. New slab proposed. Aranda wants to tackle lock situation first and deal with this later.
Marco says that price quoted is only for labor. Replacement Parts may need to be purchased.
Aranda wants to know if there is a rough estimate on additional charges. Gracie says no, they do not know. Aranda wants to know if there is additional money in the maintenance fund. Gracie says yes. White says that commissioners court needs to know about this nonetheless. Katie Sanchez says that having Marco has saved a lot of money compared to last year on maintenance.
Aranda motions to approve. White seconds.
Item 11: Approve Reba Griggs as new Presidio County Agriculture Extension Agent.
Item tabled until after one.
Item 12: agreement between TDA and Presidio County for colonia fund servicing water supply to Pueblo Nuevo.
Judge says that this has already been approved in a previous commissioners court, now it comes back to sign.
Aranda says that some people out there have their own septic systems. New people to the area can connect into sewer line with this grant. Ramon says that this Colonia funding is limited to certain areas. Twelve connections to Presidio sewer line in Pueblo Nuevo and some more of this goes towards Candelaria water system.
First time water or sewer systems qualify. New city of Presidio sewer line allows this to qualify since it is a new line.
Auditor says that county has not budgeted for cash towards this. Ramon says he is aware. Six months or more to get the funds processed. Can be budgeted in next fiscal year. White motions to approve.
Break at 11:06
Reconvene at 11:28
Item 17: approve renewal of contract with Perdue law firm for collection services.
Judge asks of contract has changed. Rep Sergio Garcia from Perdue says that 2009 contract extension of additional four years without changes.
Aranda says that tax assessor Norma Arroyo is pleased with firm and wants to continue with renewal of contract.
White motions to prove renewal.
Seconded by Aranda.
Item 15: new worker to replace Oscar Cobos in road and bridge dept. Mr. Cobos has retired. Ruben Carrasco will advise on his recommendation for replacement.
Ruben says temp county laborer Luis Ramirez is his recommendation. Rate of $13/hr.
Aranda says he is very skilled, hard owner, he has seen him work.
( lost notes from 11:00 am to Noon. Computer malfunctioned, erased)
Item 11: Reba Griggs new extension agent:
Mr Royal introduces Reba Griggs.
Starts Jan 1. Has relatives in Valentine and Sanderson. Will be living in Valentine.
Mother taught in PISD for four years, 2012-2015 and was a 4H leader. Accepted unanimously.
Item 14: postponed
Item 16: contract for tax assessment between Big Bend regional hospital district and county.
$17,490.00 paid to county. White says it is not enough, costs us more than that. We give sweetheart deals. Need to charge more.
Norma Arroyo is here to speak. She says that she would like to go up ten percent. Somebody put this on the agenda before she was ready. She just found out. Two year contract. Motion to postpone until next meeting by Judge. Seconded by Aranda. Unanimous.
Item 19: Marfa airport capital improvement project. Paving for runways related to weight issues. FAA threatens to close airport if paving is not addressed.
TXDOT says that they would like to move paving project up. Chase says that FAA may close airport entirely if we do not restrict heavy aircraft.
Weight rating for current concrete has never been done. Need that.
Bill for $80,000 to county will be sent for engineering soon by TXDOT. Chase says that engineering report does not help us, we need construction more than a diagnosis.
TXDOT says they will try to commit to monies for this year. County would be responsible for ten percent match of any project. Project will cost millions.
TXDOT proposes project development done in phases.
Need runway reconstruction, need taxiway reconstruction.
Back to back to back construction proposed over next three years.
Total design for entire project would be $230,000 , ten percent payable by county.
Construction cost over one million.
Chase says that because Marfa is a federally funded airport, we get $150,000 per year allocated no matter what, must allocate, but can save it up to $600,000.
(Confusing funding conversation going on here- not following)
Chase says that we may get some construction done this year. May need to lobby Congress or state for this since we are under the FAA gun. Political uncertainty in general regarding funding for capital projects.
Chase says that decision needs to be made are whether we use current engineering firm.
White says that the question is how much money is really lost if we can't land large planes. Chase says there is no way to know. White says that he is amazed that hotels etc are not making noise about this. Chase says he has not put out the word. They probably do not know.
Judge wants to know approx how much in landings and fuel sales have been lost since the NOTAM was issued saying large planes are restricted. Chase says that air traffic control in Albuquerque has issued their own NOTAM denying flight plans and landing assistance for large aircraft at Marfa airport. Refuse to assist planes and they have had to turn around.
Alpine airport is still open to flights despite a lower weight rating.
Vasquez asks if there is any type of waiver available. Chase says unknown.
Says FAA inspector that came here said that it seems like it's hard to get funding in rural areas. Not happy about that.
Commissioners express support for public outrage on this issue to help this get fixed.
Vasquez wants to get Congressman Hurd and arts organizations involved. Hotels, etc
Aranda wants to take action on this and try to get other govt agencies involved.
Resolution on agenda is strictly about agreeing that project needs to be done.
Judge wants to put together a meeting of stakeholders in town tomorrow to review the issue and make contact with governmental reps elsewhere regarding this problem. Patty Roach says that getting the $8,000 is a matter of a budget amendment. She is concerned that by making the resolution County may be making a greater commitment for later.
Judge makes a motion to postpone item until Dec 20.
Item 20: Transportation alternatives in Marfa.
Ramon Carrasco. Safe schools program.
Project approved last March.
Project is for Marfa, approved by state is rebuilding the bridges to school and sidewalks on Austin Street.
Agreement state sent includes a matching numbers for grant. Not budgeted. Ramon says that $5,000 monies will need to be paid thirty days after grant resolution passed by County.
Additional $7,000 due sixty days before construction, which can be put off until next budget.
Grand total match for Marfa $16,050. $6,907 is in kind force account.
Aranda wants to make sure we spend as little as possible on outside grant administrators and contractors.
City of Presidio got additional grants and are tapping school district and PMDD for additional funds.
County's match rate was 2.1% of total cost. Great deal for County.
Item 21: same item for Presidio project. Already explained. Motion to approve. Unanimous
Item 22: sewer yard line installation guidelines approval for Pueblo Nuevo project.
TCBG funds project. Twelve hookups to city of Presidio line.
State submitted guidelines separately and requests approval on this.
Already discussed earlier. Lines on private property to connect to sewer line.
Aranda motions to accept guidelines.
Item 23: Consent Agenda
Says she has moved to new office across the hall.
Collections on tax and dispatch contracts. Up to date with entities except city of Marfa owes us for two months of dispatch. Need to meet with Mustard to iron out.
City of Presidio has made first payment on arrears.
Grants: lots of grants in process. She says she wants to encourage commissioners court to use OMB to take care of duties and get us through some of these efficiently.
Commissioners need to be cautious about in-kind contributions to grants. Time charged to grants must be separate.
OMB office can and should be the one place to go which knows about all grants in process.
Aranda asks about last year's budget cash carry over. Patty says that those numbers will be presentable in January. Issues with a supplier of paving materials not accepting county credit contract brought up.
End of report. Approved
Treasurer's report: bills and expenses
Judge says she saw nothing extraordinary in bills.
Conferences and training fees for Brenda Bentley, incoming commissioner.
Cost for golf course bids advertising. $3,300.00.
O.M.B. Katie Sanchez reports on grant bids, etc.
Big Bend Telephone submitted bid. AT&T was late due to fly tire. Can rebid or not. Commissioners choice.
Two bids on golf course received. Will be sent to Jim Allison to review.
Norma Arroyo yes that stupidity percent of fiscal year 2017 county taxes have already been received.
Rest of reports accepted other than Presidio fire dept report which was not submitted.
Adjourn at 3:14 pm
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Presidio County Commissioners Court Nov 9th 2016
All commissioners present
Address Commissioners Court:
Says that water wells at golf course are used by road and bridge and that regardless of any agreement for golf course land county needs to retain access. Same goes for futu impound yard behind roping area.
Ruben Carrasco: says that water wells are used for road and bridge and need to retain access for the road and bridge department. As head of road and bridge dept please consider that when negotiating a contract for golf course lands. Also access for facilities dept and 4H.
Aranda advocates for checking out what we have out there. Ruben says that some wells are not in service but exist and we need to keep them..
Kiki Aguirre: says that he wants help on Antelope Hills Rd. Dust is unbearable, people fly by and road is in bad shape. Road has been bladed twice and not packed down.
Also, David Beebe talks about Rabbit Rd being fenced off. There is no Rabbit Rd, just Antelope Hills Rd, all you have to do is open twelve foot gates and access. Gates are there due to livestock. Access is there.
Ruben Carrasco says that there are plans to continue maintenance on Antelope Hills Rd. He placed two speed limit signs. One has been removed recently. People drive fast. People need to understand that dirt roads are damaged by driving fast. This is a problem for all the dirt roads in the County. Speed bumps listed as a potential option. White says that is the only thing that would work. There is no way to post a deputy out there at all those times to enforce speeds.
Ruben says that the traffic flow on so of these county roads has increased.
Eddie Pallarez: advocates for golf course group. Wants to know why there is an executive session. Also wants to have transparency, have item in open session. Jim Allison, atty for County in this matter replies that he is required by State Bar to give advice in a confidential matter. Client can waive that after initial executive session.
This is required.
Item 5: announcements from County Judge.
Judge says that she is asking that Dec 6th will be for training for all elected officials and dept heads. Training for emergency management. Disaster accounting training. T-600 course. Conduct analysis of finance departments during a disaster by analyzing finance systems. Finance departments and Sheriff should be there. TCLEOSE credit for taking course.
Judge is concerned about winter weather emergency possibilities.
Predicted to be a warm, dry winter but fire risk in spring will be elevated.
Eight hour training session. Second training is for Jan 9th.
Workshop in San Angelo for South Orient rail rebuild was very exciting. Many leaders attended and are excited. Strategic plan presentation was presented. Judge has materials if anyone interested.
Courthouse cleaning employee Maria had her husband pass away. We took a small collection, more appreciated. She is 73 and now alone.
Ruben Carrasco and Judge talked about helping City of a Marfa patch roads, like County already does with City of Presidio. Will talk with TXDOT about materials.
Commissioners Court no longer has to approve minutes in open session, a clerk just has to have them as part of open permanent record. White says that we should still look at them since it is part of the permanent record. Judge says we can still do this as an agenda item each meeting. More eyes on it is better, agrees Aranda.
Judge says that new Presidio County extension agent interviews are ongoing. Four applicants so far. Will hire one soon, and will inform County.
Judge asks to hear from Jim Allison now since he has to leave. Item 6- judge says that commissioners will move to another room rather than leave everyone else cold.
Hernandez says that he would like to compliment Virgie Pallarez on a job well done running the elections. Judge agrees.
Item 6- executive session re lease of golf course area County lands. Also facilities management personnel matter. Convene into executive session at 10:04 AM.
Reconvene into regular meeting at 11:45 AM.
Attorney Jim Allison presents.
(Lost this part of notes- computer died and notes unsaved. Will reconstruct from memory)
Donnell lands- 12,000 feet of road replaced with approx 6800 feet of road. Judge says she thinks the new road areas are very steep. Wants to be sure specifications are followed. This will be very expensive for Donnell lands. Culverts engineered, everything will have to be approved by County.
Aranda wants to know if Donnell lands have gotten permission from neighbors for approval of new road. Saunders says that other than Meador ranch access nobody is affected.
Jim Allison says that transportation code says t hat if you are shortening the distance of a road you do not need approval of people adjacent to the road. Public hearing is required. Ruben Carrasco's involvement is greatly helpful.
Vasquez asks about culverts. Allison recommends a contract to repair any road design defects/modifications, especially for drainage issues. Eventually this will be under the County maintenance system regardless. Need to be careful.
Hernandez asks about a contract. Who writes it? Allison says that it needs to protect the County and needs to be mutually beneficial, meaning each side needs to have representation.
Vasquez wants to know if County needs permission in writing to use the old road if necessary. Allison says that can be part of a contract, but that unmaintained it will likely not be usable after some period. County has the authority to use private land in the event of an Emergency Disaster declaration as it is.
Fowlkes wants to know how many culverts there will be. Saunders says between 12 and 15 culverts. Says that country is not kind to culverts, and there is maybe one on that road at this time. He is concerned about washouts of culverts. It is a concern of many, has been brought to his attention.
Aranda says there needs to be a guarantee of culvert stability in. Any contract. The whole reason the current horseshoe is there is because of the potential for washouts. Hills are too high, how are they going to be able to do this and make it work? That's the concern of the people in Casa Piedra.
Information item only. End of discussion.
Five minute recess at 12:11 PM
Reconvene at 1:35 PM
Item 8: contract with outside legal firm for legal rep re Trans Pecos petition for legal condemnation.
Atty Fowlkes went over this contract and did not see any problems.
County land to be condemned. White recommends enlisting Allison Bass. Judge says County never received a settlement offer. County gave a response.county is being sued for condemnation. White moves to approve. Seconded by Hernandez. Unanimous.
Skip to Item 16- Big Bend Telephone is present.
Patty Roach, auditor, is not here today.
Request for proposal process. Katie Sanchez says since it is more than $50,000 public bid process is required. White motions to approve this process. Seconded by Hernandez. Unanimous.
Item 17- approve RFP for broadband. White moves to a pet. Hernandez seconds. Unanimous. Big Bend Telephone says they have no new info but plan to submit a sealed proposal for RFP. Asks that county ask for specific info in RFP. Hosted vice solution is what BBT provides. Want to be sure that RFP ask for exactly what County wants.
Item 6B: facilities manager position executive session. Convene into executive session at 1:44 PM.
Reconvene into regular session at 2:18 PM
Item 20: action for pay scale for north maintenance position.
Motion to take no action by Hernandez, seconded by Aranda, unanimous
Item 10: Sale of Kleinman addition property in City of Presidio. $3.751.00
Martin Lujan from Perdue Law to present. Bid amount is same amount as appraised value. Recommend approval.
Aranda wants to know where it is. Two lots. Street address is 11400 Kleinman, Presidio.
Ruben Carrasco says property is in town. Judge wants to table this until Ruben can look at it and take pictures, etc. white says that Presidio expansion with bridge project may make this land more valuable.
Judge motions to table. Unanimous
Item 11: plans and specs for water system improvement plan for Redford project.
(Computer is on the fritz- lost notes on water plant grant)
County can fix leaks easily so leaks are now listed as an add on to project. Contractor should do water system improvements first and then if no money left over County can do leaks on our own since we are able to do that. Recommendation as per Ramon Carrasco.
TDA grant includes repairs to leaks as integral, not add on. Judge wants to know if grant needs to be amended.
Ramon also recommends authorizing any other changes needed so that item does not need to go back to commissioners court.
Judge says she is still going to check with TDA regarding wording.
2:43 five minute break.
At 2:52 I left this meeting due to obligations in my office and an arrest warrant that needed to be reviewed and acted upon. DB
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Friday, October 14, 2016
Her are my notes from this meeting.
More posts next week... Have a great weekend! -DB
Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting, Wednesday October 11th, 2016, 9:30 AM, Marfa, Presidio County Courthouse.
More posts next week... Have a great weekend! -DB
Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting, Wednesday October 11th, 2016, 9:30 AM, Marfa, Presidio County Courthouse.
Convene at 9:45 AM
Commissioners present: Eloy Aranda, Judge Guevara, Loretto Vasquez, Lorenzo Hernandez.
Carlos Nieto: general comment. Wants to thank commissioners court for helping the City of Presidio on the Annex renovations. Thanks Sam Cobos for hiring locals and doing a great job.
Announcements from Judge and commissioners:
Judge says that top priority today is Candelaria water system. Mentions new format for agenda, do commissioners like it? Aranda says the larger print is better and feels like it is clearer. Judge says that hopefully a more organized agenda will help the meetings go more efficiently.
Commissioner Hernandez says that the Presidio airport is closed for resurfacing. 7-10 days should be complete according to Carlos Nieto. Much needed, will be a great help and is worth the investment.
Item 6- Fiscal Year 2015 outside audit by Doak Painter.
Says he enjoys working with county employees and dept heads. Says the report is quite improved and much progress has been made.
Qualified opinion this year. Basis for qualified opinion is opening balances are not possibly exact due to last year's adverse opinion.
Net position increased by over $300,000.
$248,000 in reduced expenditures than prior year.
$226,000 surplus in revenues over expectations.
Year to year comparison on page 5 shows vast improvement.
Net position. Assets are now accounted for.
Net pension plan asset as opposed to liability. Fully funded plus small surplus.
Overall position is improved. Jail operations went well.
Notes: standard notes, basic info.
Grant monies are no longer co-mingled, now in their individual funds.
Pg 46- auditor's notes/opinions.
Single Audit: pg 48
Only finding is that audit is slightly late due to single audit requirement. Next year single audit early due date will not apply, so this finding should go away.
Doak sees better flow of information, better controls by all fiduciary offices in the County. County is going in the right direction.
Audit will be uploaded onto County website.
Aranda thanks Painter for coming in and making visits to help commissioners get direction to fix these problems. Thanks all financial departments.
Painter says it makes his job easier if he is informed throughout the year.
Aranda wants to know what the goal is for next year. Painter says it is very possible to get an unqualified opinion next year.
Judge commends the commissioners for their work. Also says that having an OMB dept has helped despite the criticism of adding more payroll and employees. Says there is so much Red tape these days, it is necessary and is working.
Auditor on site and treasurer's office have done a great job.
Hernandez asks for comments from financial team.
Auditor Patty Roach says that the fact that we have the best possible opinion this year we could have had is huge. Resolved fourteen deficiencies. Huge deal. Commends the treasurer's office and OMB for making this happen. Goal of unqualified next year is attainable.
Frances Garcia thanks Doak, Patty and Katie for doing a great job.
Katie thanks Doak for the guidance. Especially thanks commissioners court for having OMB and also treasurer and auditor.
Judge asks for applause for all financial departments. Applause.
End of presentation. Vote to approve. Aranda moves. Seconded by Vasquez. Unanimous.
Presentation on Candelaria public water system from TCEQ.
Dorothy Young from Water supply at TCEQ. Water supply Corp at Candelaria is not doing Ellie right now. She brought eight team workers to help present a plan to bring it back.
Number of reps introduce themselves from various companies and agencies.
Explains what a public water system is. Water system has to have fifteen connections or serve 25 people over the course of a year. Candelaria is one.
TCEQ looks at water quality, monitoring reports. Inspections, physical specs.
Candelaria has problems on both sides of this equation.
Conference call with some Austin TDA people begins...
A water system needs some form of management. Towns, water supply corps, privately owned water corps. Needs a certified operator. Customers have to be willing to pay their bills.
Five challenges with Candelaria
No certified operator
Only 28 connections
Arsenic in the ground water
Unknown system specs.
System built around 2000, unknown what it is.
There is some funding. Colonias funding, but funding must be administered.
Operators are generally not able to be funded except out of rates. Funding agencies can pay for planning, infrastructure.
EPA, USDA, TDA all have funding, all have paperwork requirements.
Hernandez says that there is a person in Presidio who just resigned from the City who may be perfect. Used to be the Presidio water superintendent. Carlos Nieto says that Mr. Acosta has all the licenses, probably going to move outside the community but it would be worthwhile to pursue him, a great asset.
Dorothy Young says that regardless, there still has to be a sponsor/organization.
Recent arsenic rule changes make things a little different. Nieto says that Shafter is also a place of interest that needs a water supply system.
Hernandez will try to get Mr Acosta on the phone to accompany the regulators on their site visit tomorrow. Says that he thinks the County will have to get involved in this a spearhead the effort. Probably going to have to run this program.
Young says most of the violations are paperwork related.
Hernandez says that there used to be a person who worked for the City of Presidio who would do that work for Candelaria on a part time basis. Nieto says that we can find the will between the city and county to do this, but the agencies need to bring us funding since we are in the absence of money.
Young says that day to day operations usually have to come from rates.
Hernandez says that he believes that there are more likely fifty to eighty customers. Multiple connections on individual meters. Need more meters, and maps are missing when he asked for maps. Possibly forty meters installed initially.
Young says that meters are key to long term viability. All customers must understand that water costs money and the water system relies on that to survive. Public assistance can help individuals help pay their bills rather than just not collecting.
Engineers without Borders may be able to assist.
Aranda says that with regard to Candelaria, multiple connections on one meter may be able to be addressed with a community block grant. Commissioners court will have to be in charge of being sure that the company is run properly. The meters are the most important issue at this point. Older residents used to run it but they are too old and others are not interested.
Hernandez said that they formed a board back in Dec and got letters from TCEQ so they got scared and backed off. It was a misunderstanding. Young says that the letters are required. Hernandez says he knows, but they got scared nonetheless.
Young says that has happened other places before. The arsenic violations require the letters to be sent regardless of whether progress is being made, etc. she recommends a brand new name and corporation with communication with TCEQ enforcement.
Young says that letters need to also be sent to the county or another sponsor so they are not returned, because that is an additional violation.
Hernandez says that yes, what we need is an education here.
It is unknown whether there is still even a board in place there. Stormy Noble quit after receiving a letter from TCEQ. Several others may or may not be interested.
Young still recommends a new organization, new name.
Reps make offer to help form the sponsoring organization at no cost to County.
Young says that is Nueces County has stepped in and helped out and it has been a tremendous help to getting into compliance.
Judge Guevara recommends a town hall meeting in Candelaria may be necessary to get everyone on the same page and see who is interested.
Young says that many of these people are willing to come back to assist, understands this is not going to be resolved with just a visit tomorrow to the site.
Rep from TWDB says until a administrative structure is in place, their hands are tied as far as loans, funding.
End of presentation., Judge will have lunch with group at Noon.
Five minute break at 11:18.
Reconvene at 11:37 AM
Item 8- bid for Redford water supply improvements, TXCDBG.
Judge would like to move on to Item 19-
Item 19- Junie Villareal addresses court:
Addresses commissioners on two questions.
First: why county officials were on his property in Antelope Hills
Second: Why county officials were refusing to allow AEP to do their job hooking up power to his water well, which had been approved by the County.
Judge says that a resident said that an RV Park was being built. Said paperwork approved was for residential.
Judge and Mitch Garcia went out there to see what was going on. Jim White also came and Ruben Carrasco also came to see. Junie then showed up and was offended.
Judge has already apologized to Junie.
Says she asked AEP to hold off on final hookup until county could investigate.
Ruben said everything is right except for septic permit, which could be fixed rapidly.
AEP informed that work could resume the following morning.
Judge says that Junie has come every year to do the lighting at the courthouse for free. County owes him an apology. Junie thanks the court.
Beebe raises hand and is called on. Says that he thinks the County needs to stay out of any deed restriction/land covenant disputes in Antelope Hills. Property was developed by Orton with deed restrictions as a sort of exclusive community, economy went south, she sold out on the cheap to others, since then people have been breaking the restrictions, including many of the people who complain when others break the rules. Simple fact is that once deed restrictions are not enforced on one property, they no longer apply to other properties around there. This is an issue for the landowners to sue each other and not for the County to decide or enforce in unincorporated area of the County. Antelope Hills can't have it both ways, should either be annexed by city of Marfa or live with the fact the County has no zoning authority. And, by the way, if the County is looking for more affordable housing options, why is this area supposedly off limits? The really cool and amazing industrial goat milk farm out there is great, but certainly not residential, why not a trailer park? Not the county's issue. These people need to go into their own litigation and we should not be involved in their bickering beyond criminal activity. Junie mentions that just a day before someone destroyed his new water well, after this incident. Judge agrees this is a separate criminal issue and needs to be dealt with.
Teresa Todd from Jeff Davis County for emergency services. Item 13- agreement for emergency services between Jeff Davis County and Presidio County. Jeff Davis county initiated this agreement.
Basic agreement is to engage services of Jeff Davis County ambulance at $22.50 per mile. Jeff Davis County's medics excepting director are all volunteers. Volunteers are taking time off from family or work to take calls. Jeff Davis County is not in the hospital district and billing is not always sufficient to cover costs especially for long distances on dirt roads. Rate is same Jeff Davis County charges whenever insurance is billed.
Port of Entry calls are excluded from this contract. Calls will be billed based on mileage, regardless of transport or no transport. Port of entry will also be billed separately. If third party pays the bill eventually, monies will be refunded to Presidio County. Volunteer medics will receive a small stipend.
City of Presidio and Jeff Davis County have a mutual aid agreement. County does not have their own ambulance, so a mutual aid agreement is not possible.
City of Marfa and Jeff Davis County also have a mutual aid agreement which is based more on reciprocity rather than direct billing. Marfa city ambulance covers all Valentine calls first. In 2014 there were four calls, 2015 there were two calls, and there has been one call in 2016 to Presidio County.
Judge is happy that numbers have been provided. Judge says that county atty and herself are happy with this contract. Hernandez wants to make sure that John and Teresa have discussed this. Teresa says yes, but commissioners are in charge of this decision.
Vasquez asks about Port of Entry. Teresa says she has an agreement she will present to CBP and they will either engage with Jeff Davis County or not. No agreement yet.
Hernandez has questions about that, why not City of Presidio as well? Teresa says she does not think that has been addressed yet. Could set a precedent.
Protocols at County Dispatch are followed with regard to which ambulance gets called first. Based on location.
Motion to approve: Aranda. Second: Vasquez. Unanimous
Break for lunch at 12:05 PM
Reconvene at 1:38 PM
Item 8 and 9: Redford water supply. Ramon Carrasco not here to present, asked for items to be tabled until next meeting.
Aranda says that he knows that Ramon met with water supply Corp on Sat and everyone is moving forward.
Barbara Baskin says that meeting times were confused and there was a question on repairs to service pipes. Ramon said that repair would be done by contractor over entire project at first. By end of meeting he said county would do the work.
Aranda wants to know how many leaks there were. Barbara says uncertain but leaks were located. Estimated that half the water pumped has gone into the ground for a number of years.
Barbara says that she still has a question as to who is doing the work, since grant specifies that repairs must be done by contractors. Also, new meters are required for both wells and she does not see that in the proposal.
Both wells will be rehabilitated.
Lorenzo motions to table eight and nine.
Seconded by Vasquez. Unanimous.
Item 10- commissioners court rules and procedures:
Judge wants to amend rules to include changes. Clarification on regular meeting verbiage. Special meetings can always be called, as always.
Requests for agenda items should be turned in to County Judge's office by Thursday before a meeting. Patty Roach agrees that with the current late turn in time on Fridays for agenda items she gets crunched for time to research items pertinent to her office while other offices are open.
Vasquez wants to know if there could be emergency exceptions to the time constraints. Hernandez agrees that if there is an emergency we should make an exception and add it on Friday. Judge says, yes, of course if it is pressing. We can be flexible.
Patty Roach says that wording can say five on Thursday with emergency items considered for later submission.
Public participation form: form submitted to presiding officer (County Judge)
Question as to whether to require written reports in advance as well...
Motion to accept changes made by Judge Guevara. Seconded by Aranda.
Item 11- contract for tax assessor collection services between City of Presidio and Presidio County.
Judge says that County Atty is in agreement with the proposed contract. City of Presidio is in agreement.
Carlos Nieto speaks. Says that both items 11 and 12 have been discussed and agreed upon by attorneys and tax assessor. Payment plan has been agreed upon.
Also, on Monday the new City Administrator Joe Portillo who could not be here today will be present at the next commissioners court meeting and will be an asset.
Aranda motions to approve. Seconded by Vasquez. Unanimous
Item 12- motion to approve by Hernandez (past debt agreement) unanimous.
Item 13- already addressed earlier
Item 14- Fort Davis Fire Academy to use old taxiway at Marfa airport for training.
Gary Mitschke presents that this is an annual school and permission to use closed taxiway on Saturday. He will coordinate with Chase on airport traffic. Gary will personally be there and Chase knows about this based on email sent by Gary.
Permission has been granted every year.
Motion to approve by Hernandez, seconded by Aranda. Unanimous
Item 15- Presidio County Asset Management assign to OMB. Judge explains that since assets and grants are so closely linked this makes sense. Treasurer is on board. Aranda moves, unanimous
Item 16- Presidio County Driver Vehicle Policy:
Katie Sanchez says that county auditor recommended that ports should go to treasurer's office and mileage log slight change.
Item 17- RFQ for process in hiring engineer for complete HVAC renovation of Presidio County Jail.
Katie says that requests for architects was fruitless. Tried twice. Try for engineer instead. Linked to item 18.
Vasquez moves to approve RFQ for engineer. Seconded by Hernandez. Unanimous.
Item 18- Request for Qualifications to hire engineer. Hernandez moves, seconded by Judge. Unanimous
Item 19- already taken care of earlier
Item 20- Marfa airport pavement markings bids:
Katie says no qualified bids received. Too many strings attached.
Chase not here to present. Same company is doing painting in Presidio right now. Bid from that company is $18,000.00. Has potential strings attached but Chase wants it approved.
Frances says that Chase says it will be cheaper this way since they are already here.
Motion to approve that bid by Vasquez, Aranda seconds. Unanimous
Item 21- 11 Res-Q ladder emergency escape ladders for Presidio County Courthouse from Fire Escape Systems. $3,077.00
Frances did run it by the Historical Commission. Sam Cobos says that he and Gary have been discussing this for a year. Patty Roach says that if these monies come from incentive funds we will have to make a budget amendment. Future meeting. Item to be tabled until next meeting. Gary Mitschke adds that this is a last resort escape route. Fire Dept does not have a ladder big enough to reach the third floor. Highly recommended by him.
Consent Agenda Items:
Item 22- county auditor items:
Patty Roach: results of 2015 audit are good. She is very pleased.
Next audit is coming. Two months to wrap up 2016 books. Goal is to have everything done by end of Dec. Turn in to outside auditor in Jan.
New fiscal year has started, going pretty well.
Aranda commends county financial depts for audit and is glad that the various agencies from the state and federal were here earlier to hear the good reports.
Patty says that internal controls have dramatically improved.
Vasquez asks how many audits will it take to be released from being penalized by Judge Ferguson? Patty says when will he get rid of me? Patty says that may never truly happen.
Good audits will affect bond ratings.
Doubtful he will ever release the county auditor position.
Patty also says that line item transfers will be funneled to auditors office and will get through her to commissioners.
Aranda asks about a five year plan, can we talk about it soon, or when is a good time?
Patty says she is not sure that needs to be an action item. Could be just a direction.
Five year plan would involve large capital expenditures, not small things like computers, etc.
Hernandez asks about a potential committee. Patty says maybe that would work or as part of a long term budget process informally involving everyone.
End of report.
Frances thanks Patty, Katie and the commissioners. Things are getting better and better.
Reports this month's numbers. Hernandez wants to know if we closed out the year in good shape. Frances and Patty say we are still getting bills, in two months we will have solid numbers with a hard close.
Katie presents expenses and numbers. Working on wrapping up bank reconciliations.
Took vehicle policy and converted to Excel.
Asset inventory getting straight with Pete Lara. Need more details on Stonegarden equipment. Exact dates, locations, etc. Hernandez asks how that is going. Katie says that we are running into hurdles and need to get all those vehicles back to the Sheriff's Office to get everything straight. Commissioners have already approved this but it has not happened. Hernandez wants to know what we can do to comply so we can get back into good graces with Stonegarden. Katie says that have financial side done, but we have to get the asset side done.
Judge says that she thinks we will need another asset inventory.
Katie says that the new for,s have more detail and we will probably need to do that.
Hernandez wants to know why we are going through all this now when for years we were never asked to do it. Unknown, true it was not done before but in 2013 they came and things were not straight and our audits were terrible for so long it raised red flags and now it has steamrolled.
Even equipment that is no longer in service must be kept and accounted for unless permission was given to dispose of it.
Mileage logs for City of Presidio vehicles gifted by Sheriff missing still and Marco Baeza has not responded after two attempts.
Hernandez says that new city administrator can work this out. Carlos Nieto says he will take a list of items back to Presidio to help clear this up.
Judge says that when they came in December we could not give them answers as to where that stuff is/was. Katie says that a lot of these items would not normally be carried in our inventory but they have to be beaches they are grant items. Smaller things such as radios and light bars would not normally be carried in asset inventory.
Regardless of whether Sheriff's office did or did not know about inventory requirements, they signed off on it on behalf of the county and we could have to return the monies unless properly accounted for.
Vasquez wants to know if Katie has been in contact with the sheriff. Joel Nunez has been communicating, Shanna was out of town last week. Charger was taken to El Paso to be repaired; equipment reinstalled.
End of report.
Judge asks commissioners to look over additional reports and any single report that commissioners want to discuss can be brought up.
Commissioners read over various reports.
Hernandez wants to know who else gets these reports. Patty and Frances get a few of them. Judge says that they are permanently on file in the clerk's office once approved.
Ruben Carrasco says he received an email from the oil spill investigation company for spill in City of Presidio saying that everything the county did to alleviate the problem was OK. Waiting on TCEQ to contact him with further info.
Aranda makes motion to approve the Consent agenda items. Seconded by Vasquez. Unanimous
Item 42- line item transfers
Some are carry over from previous fiscal year. Others new for 2017 budget.
Item 43- Bills and expenses:
Item 44- Adjourn.
Adjourn at 3:05 PM