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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Attended Marfa Airport meeting this morning

I attended a short meeting this morning at the Marfa Airport. Discussed was the first phase of a long-term renovation of airport infrastructure. The airport here is pretty well used, with much of the traffic coming from the Marfa Gliders business that Burt Compton owns. The weekends see a lot of chartered private turboprops and jets of larger sizes (and impacts on runways). There are many issues with the aging infrastructure at the airport, and I will try to do my best to cover it over the next few years here.

Today's discussion, of which I was not there for the whole time, mostly concerned replacement of the runway lighting on the primary runway. The lights that are there leak electricity badly, as the lines are buried wire, old and not in conduit. Fixtures are out of date and inefficient, and the yearly cost to the County just to run the lighting is in the tens of thousands of dollars. TXDOT has a 90/10 grant program we have applied for, and phase one involves the replacement of these lights. Further information will be coming on the whens and exact details of this project, but light replacement will cost approximately $800,000, 10% of which comes from the County. Other minor improvements are set to be included in this grant. Burt Compton expressed concern about signage on the edges of runways, as gliders are usually wider than runways and because of the flexibility of the wings, usually travel offset to the center-line of a runway. This means that at least one wing is often far outside of the paving and very close to the ground. Signage could cause a safety issue and Burt argued it is also unnecessary, as there is already striping and, of course, lighting. The TXDOT reps and Airports Manager Chase Snodgrass received his comments. More info will be available once the grant proposal is completed and goes before Commissioners Court within the next month or so.


Notes on Comments

Hi y'all
Because of aspam problem and also a few comments that were not relevant and used foul language back a few years ago during the last time this blog was active, comments are moderated before they will show up on the page.
What this means is that if you leave a comment, I will see it, and if it's pertinent (it can be critical of me, no problem) it will be posted. Comments that are anonymous will not be posted as I am not posting anonymously here and would appreciate anyone who would like to make a public comment here to take ownership of any words they write. Just a clarification here. Thanks for reading- David

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting 7/28/2015

These are my own notes from Commissioners Court meeting in Presidio, 4PM 7/28/15. They are likely somewhat incomplete and are not official minutes, merely my notes taken as fast as I can get them down and may reflect my own bias as I write.

P.C.C.C. 7/28/2015
Presidio (following meetings regarding RR bridge, port entry, cattle inspections, lunch in Ojinaga)
4:00 PM start.
All present
Public Comments:
Commissioners Court may not respond to comments not on agenda.
People advocating for Sheriff's Office-
Diana Hankins: advocating for more officers
Saul Pardo: wants to give his 3 min to chief Nunez. Shanna asks to give her 3 minutes to him as well. Numerous other people say the same. Judge as that's not the way it works, but will agree to let Joel speak.
Joel Presents statement, says it is long, wants to face accusers, set the record straight.
Accuses audit report of being sub-standard. "Proud of accomplishments"
Improved law enforcement, new vehicles equipped properly. Jail is great, PISD is great. He created PISD police, making a difference. Does not deny having 2 positions. Donates time, resources, does a great job.
Preserves our integrity by responding to accusations in public.
Concerned about Treasurer. Complains about Katie Sanchez's hiring since she was the loser of election vs. Frances. " What is the purpose of voting in this county?"
Has documentation of officers being licensed. Says was asked by auditor for random time sheets, confusing documents meant to confuse the issues.
Trying to protect County documents. Saw documents in an unlocked courthouse copy room unattended. Concerned about accountability. Has voluntary shared information with press. some elected officials have piled on to make themselves popular with the public. Offers to make monthly appearances in Commissioners Court. Welcomes any investigation from any agency. Nobody has taken the time to answer his questions.
Has great support from city of Presidio, border patrol.
Must have adequate personnel in Sheriffs Office. Grants were helping us save tax dollars. Yes, Surplus vehicles have been given to other entities. Gifted to help other entities, saving all of us money.
Federal monies used to get grant vehicles. Says that county officials are the checks and balances; "after 15 years am I all of a sudden now being questioned as to whether I can work here?" Claims Commissioners have gone against him and Sheriff's Office at every turn in this case, never asked for clarification. Not going to get in a social media battle with an elected official who is posting accusations on Facebook and blog to look good for his friends.
Asks for proper inventory system. Complains about "Mickey Mouse operation" by hiring RCI. Asks for Executive Session to be public.
Dina LaSoya- supports Sheriff's Dept. Caseload has gone down since deputies added. 40 cases 14 years ago, down to 4 cases now. Sheriff's Office helps with transportation.
Danny Dominguez- says in 2005 initiated grant programs. Ran grants with no problems. All of a sudden there is a problem. Don't take accusations lightly. Upset at officials. "You don't trust us?" "Mickey Mouse rumor on Facebook... A shame." Very disappointed. Wish and hope that current elected officials can get it together and fix this problem. Rumors from people who have no idea what's going on. Invited FBI and Rangers to do a full scale investigation on operations.
Uvaldo Acosta- gets great support from Sheriff's Office. Great work. Small accusations need proof.
Lorenzo asks whether the PISD officers are employees and whether audit says they weren't. Joel says they are not necessarily employees but are contracted and paid by Stonegarden. Auditor never asked us. Says auditor lied. Auditor saw time sheets, log, etc. Claims he was not grant administrator. Licenses are proof of being officers. Words mean different things, being hired, there are different levels, there are differences, words don't describe...
Brings up MISD hiring Z Hernandez; auditor wanted receipts for hotel gas etc for training. Unable to produce, auditor claims fraud, documents didn't exist.
Lorenzo asks of people are paid for training. Joel says yes, usually.
Aranda says he doesn't appreciate rumors from Sheriff's Office.
"Commissioners never went against you guys. This auditor has been hired to to a job, and the conclusions are there." Judge says public discussion over.
Lorenzo says that executive session should be in public as per Joel's request. Judge says no, there are other personnel matters to discuss.
Judge says that Sheriff's Office was given info prior to audit coming out about issues, chance to address before public release of audit. Sheriff declined to participate, "we won't be there."
Judge says Joel and Danny could have gone to office to discuss this, anytime. Door was open. Judge says that we have an external auditor and his findings were requested. These are the findings.
Joel accuses Commissioners of hiring a "very poor auditor who does not do his job right"
Eloy says why do you not call and have this on the agenda? Anytime is fine. Joel says open session is the only way to do this.
Joel would like to have a workshop with individuals who have 7 months or less experience. Certain elected officials blowing this out of proportion because of their lack of experience and knowledge of our situation.
4) announcements from County Judge:
Post audit plan for corrective measures on each material weakness and deficiency.
Patty Roach, Katie Sanchez, Frances and Judge will coordinate.
James Forristal from Comptroller to straighten out unreported collected sales taxes from golf course and jail. Patty, Forristal and Sanchez are meeting now.
Hernandez says he has a problem with that group heading things up. He says Commissioners should not be excluded. He says Sheriffs Office criticizes Commissioners Court and since they do that Commissioners should create the solution. Judge offers her office to any Commissioners to work with Patty Roach on Wednesdays. Says that there is too much administrative work for Commissioners Court to have time to do on their own. Judge explains that all grants from now on will have a checklist that must be followed. Eloy says auditor gave report with recommendations on findings and that he, Eloy, asked for guidance from the auditor for solutions. Lorenzo repeats his request to be part of the plan if he is going to take the blame. Eloy says yes, we need to fix it, need precise advice, take steps to fix it all. Loretto says in house corrections are a good idea. Commends judge. Judge repeats offer for anyone to meet Wednesdays with Patty Roach.
Judge says she and TCEQ reps had a telephone conference and colonia water issues were discussed. They recommended hiring someone with a Class B license to maintain and operate systems in Pueblo Nuevo and Candelaria.
Insurance from TAC went up $26 or so per person. Commissioners could raise deductible, or not. Rep from TAC will be here Aug 11th. Contract up for renewal in Nov.
Commissioners announcements
Eloy discusses meeting earlier today, credits Carlos Nieto for putting it together.
Judge brings up communication between Commissioners open meetings prohibits email in case of sharing.
Executive Session:
Going to smaller office. Adjourn at 4:59 into executive session.
Reconvened into regular session at 6:24
Item 6) discussion only on property tax to certify appraisal rolls. Total appraised value, net taxable value. Must be presented to Commissioners by Aug 1 and is on agenda for that purpose. Confirms that MISD is now classified as a land rich district, lost $700,000 of revenue. County loses $41,000 worth of money. Re opening Redford School on the table since PISD receives $200,000 for running school. Half from state, half from MISD. Eloy states that County has put a lot of money into it. Peters knows it now belongs to the County. Could either reopen or bus kids to Marfa to get $. White mentions redrawing line. Nieto says that Gallego mediated a line and it was determined that the line would not be redrawn. Nieto blames MISD. Talks about future pipeline monies. White says that logically nobody should bus Redford kids to Marfa. Nieto says Big Bend Ranch property was in MISD turf when it was taxable. Now that it's not, nobody wants that area. PISD has 2 million dollar shortfall. Says local funding for PISD is at 9%. The Rest is at mercy of state and Feds. Says many years ago some County Judge made PISD deal with Riudosa, Candelaria. Not fair. Says that there is hopefulness that MISD and PISD can have a meeting of the minds and work out a solution. Says future of Marfa is strong, monies will flow more to Marfa. Judge Guevara asks what to do in the meantime? Approximately 16 kids from Redford in PISD currently. Judge says full appraised value at around 8.8 million. Net taxable value is around 4.7 million. Nieto says Commissioners can help MISD in affordable housing. Most serious issue in Marfa is property values going up, housing supply down, kids and families need affordable housing.
7) Diana H. Discussion only regarding Road and Bridge Dept and Unit System. Operates Chinati Hot Springs. Cites statue number 252.301 of government code. Asks if that is what we are operating under. Judge Guevara reads- unit system has to be voted on via ballot in an official election. Says no vote occurred, unit system is invalid. Complaining about roads, people getting stuck on road washouts. People have to pay out of pocket for repairs and service due to County neglect. 3 flats in less than a week. Rocks sticking up in road. Says under old system roads were regraded every 2 weeks. 7 miles from Riudosa to Hot Springs. Pinto Canyon is 22 miles. Aranda asks Ruben why the roads washboard so quickly. Ruben says people drive too fast. Diana says no way to even drive the speed limit. Aranda says no other place complains about roads. Diana says yes, her roads are not maintained but others are. Has petition going around since roads are not being worked on. Complains about taxes without services.
Aranda asks Ruben about road schedules. Ruben says rain is to blame, county trying to provide cut outs for water diversions. Working on a progressive basis. Signs that say watch for high water and washouts are being installed. Aranda says that County will not be out there every 2 weeks, but we can schedule a worker on a regular basis. Diana clarifies that Hot Springs Rd, not Pinto Canyon, is the issue. Pinto Canyon has gotten better. Complains about drugs running up nod down a better maintained Chispa Rd. Angry that Commissioner Hernandez can't get a call and make A precinct worker fix road on demand, as it was prior to unit management.
Judge Guevara says will refer unit system question to County Attorney.
8) Discussion putting Sheriffs Office be responsible for courthouse security. M motions to table, wants to discuss with Sheriff. Tabled unanimous.
9) Discussion with action to make Aug 20 and 21 asset day at County. Judge cites auditors findings. County needs to count and appraise assets. Needs to be done by Sept 30. White makes motion. One day for Marfa assets, one day for Presidio assets. Notify dept heads, have them cooperate. Sheriff says he turned it in today, does he have to do it again. Judge clarifies that purchase requisition and audit inventory is different. Sheriff agrees to cooperate.
10) jail contract between Jeff Davis County and Presidio County for jail service. White makes motion to approve contract, judge and county atty have no problem. $55 per day reimbursement. Neighborly rate cited by Sheriff and Judge, local cooperation with fire and more taken into account. Approved.
11) action item to adopt a budget policy. Judge tables, is not ready to present. White seconds. Approved.
12) Discussion with action for West Heights addition property to the City of Marfa. Perdue not here to present, Judge motions to table. Accepted.
13) Hiring someone for Road and Bridge as employee. Edward Martin. Recommended by Ruben. Has been working as a temporary employee. Willing to do multiple types of work. Approved.
14) administrative Session- all approved unless otherwise noted
A) Judge Bishop. Retained 10,696, total 17,702.53
B) Capital Projects- reports on roads, etc. hot Springs rd comes back up as issue. July 4 two girls got stuck. Putting cones out? Diana requesting cones. Needs at least 8. Joel Nunez offers cones.
C) airports manager- not submitted.
D) presidential permit- tabled
E) tax assessor report- 73,116.21 received for county. Other entities received additional funds.
F) adopt Treasurer's Report, asset inventory, county financial status. Frances says that County has total of 665,928.18 with projected revenue of just over $200,000 and additional funds of about a half million. Expenses around 850,000. So County should make it until end of the year without trouble paying bills. Homeland security grant reimbursements are around 240,000 received, will be deposited in general. Judge wants to know what cutoff date for previous year's expenses is. Says it's Aug 31st. Also, Frances event to bank to check on dormant accounts. Several. Aranda says to bring them in so Commissioners Court can close them.
G) Line item transfers: Redford School repairs from road and bridge to Redford school.
H) Bills and expenses. Questions:
Harper hardware for Road and Bridge. For shop. $11,020 +/-
DPS HP Officejet. In budget for DPS, charged to County. No longer in courthouse. County will have to decide whether to include them in budget next year. About $4,500 in budget.
John Deere Dozer rental at $606 monthly.
Joe Pineda for $3000.00
Ben E. Keith for jail- $672.76
15) Adjourn. Carlos Nieto addresses Court under public comments for today's support at earlier meetings during the day. Big progress with officials he believes. Many issues, complicated, great show of support from officials. High level Mexican officials and US officials were impressed. Far more in attendance than expected.
Adjourned at 7:34 PM

Monday, July 27, 2015

More info to come soon...

I have acquired some new information regarding the audit and fallout from it that I will wait to post... until after tomorrow's (Tues) Commissioners Court meeting in Presidio, which is at 4 PM in the courthouse annex.

There is also a PIPA bridge expansion meeting tomorrow I will attend. There's good news in the bridge expansion, as well as some reported progress on the rebuilding of the old South Orient Railroad bridge across the Rio Grande. The existing rail bridge burned up a few years back in two cases of arson. The South Orient Rail Line runs from San Angelo to Presidio, where it crosses the river and runs all the way through Chihuahua City and the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Port of Tompoboleo. The rail line took approximately 80 years to build to completion and operated under a number of railroad companies. Currently the line is not operational south of Belding, near Fort Stockton, but plans by TXDOT, which owns the rail line and its licensee Texas Pacifico (which has the contract to operate it) to renovate the line seem to be an eventual reality. Across the border there are reports that the Chihuahuan government is interested in increasing train tourism on the line and re-extending service to Ojinaga. Currently the train runs from Chihuahua City to Tompoboleo.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

General overview and my personal opinion on the 2014 Audit

I have been immersed in this audit since I saw some preliminary text a few weeks ago. I am certain that now that I have hashed it over and over again within my head that I will leave a few things out, and will also refer to things I have already written about in this blog, particularly within the findings section.

I think it's really important to state that bringing the County's finances up to standards is a choice each department head will make. To fix the problems as a whole and bring the County up to a higher level will take resolve and teamwork. As Doak Painter said at the Commissioners Court meeting, if one department head refuses to cooperate with disclosure, especially with regard to asset counting and tracking, the reform is doomed to fail.

The big minus about the numbers in this 2014 audit is that beginning balances and asset valuations are grossly inaccurate. Since the beginning of FY 2015 an asset valuation and tracking company named RCI has been tagging and tracking assets by location and department. I know of only one department that has vehemently resisted access to RCI and that would be the Sheriff's Office. Make no mistake that the edicts that steer the SO's direction come directly and unequivocally from the elected supervisor, the Sheriff himself. It's my understanding that things may have improved since then, but the County department that consistently resists transparency, intra-governmental or publicly is always the Sheriff's Office. Let's hope that over time this corrects itself; and if not, public pressure may assist.

For next year I expect to see a much more accurate Audit, insofar as real numbers. Mr. Painter has done what he can with numbers provided, which is his obligation, but has insisted the County improve across the board if he is to agree to be retained as auditor again. The Commissioners Court Office of. Management and Budget has been, in tandem with the new Treasurer Frances Garcia, a responsive and responsible instrument of change and improvement. With the recommendations set forth by Mr. Painter in the audit in hand, only by resistance of either department heads or overly-compliant County Commissioners will we face the same gravity of issues. This sounds easy, does it not? Unfortunately I am not confident in the resolve of several of our Commissioners when faced with having to deliver hard truths and bad news, especially when it comes to pressure from long-term colleagues. Citizen pressure on Commissioners can go a long way; they usually only hear feedback from within County government.

A good example of the unresponsiveness to issues by Commissioners Court is displayed in the problems down south with the Stonegarden Grants. Conflicts of interest and fraudulent grant reimbursements through PISD, a "friendly force" that now, through opacity, loyalty to its internal power players and general intransigence to outer sponsoring authority, may destroy our ability to receive grants, have been known about tacitly by Commissioners Court and have been tolerated. The fact that someone from outside the County administration has to call us on this shows a lack of leadership and accountability from within. This situation should be remedied immediately and an example set; Presidio County should operate by honest  and non-corrupt standard and practices,regardless of who foots the bill. Employees should be properly supervised and supervisors should be held accountable when they neglect to supervise.
General accounting and reconciliation of bank accounts should not be so hard from this point on as County OMB has put systems in place to remedy these issues and has offered training as well. With some continued focus on following County policy county-wide and with requisite training whenever policy is changed, I see no reason why the vast majority of issues can't be resolved within this FY 2015 and completely resolved for the FY 2016.

Completing asset inventory and clarifying, as per The Texas Attorney General's opinion, should stop County officials from doing things such as "gifting" vehicles to other government entities instead of auctioning them off (yes, that is happening!) and should give citizens looking for ways to help us improve efficiencies and service to the constituents by identifying waste and outdated practices. Liquidation of unnecessary assets would save money on maintenance and insurance and would generate needed monies into the General Fund.
This, of course, takes citizen involvement and also takes citizens that don't feel like they have to worry about retaliation from powerful people. County officials using the power of their offices to intimidate outspoken citizens should be called on it. This will be determined by not just those in power, but those who care to watch over us and exercise their rights to speech, question and, most of all, vote.

I recall an argument I had with several constituents when I was on Marfa City Council and the city was deeply in the red. The Marfa ISD had recently been approved for millions of dollars of loans to build multiple sports facilities on their grounds and had budgeted presuming the city would forgive their building permits, et al, saving them several thousand dollars. When they came to present to council, they countered our questions with the rhetoric that we were going to stifle their plans, since out of the millions they had, they had already budgeted every penny on amenities. Simply put, they used their leverage as a school district to pressure us to drop our fees, which we desperately needed, and employee work was done in exchange for with regard to issuing permits, etc. We did not drop the fees and instead told them to find a small sliver of the millions they had to pay. Citizen outrage that taxpayer money " is all the same" and that we were being evil ensued. I stand by my opinion that different governmental entities have THEIR OWN budgets and responsibilities and should cooperate only when it is clearly to the benefit of all parties and at no cost to either. That was surely the original intent of cooperating with PISD on getting them access to federal dollars, but that has proven to be a threat to the County's financial (and ethical) health.

 I would implore Presidio County to break our toxic-to-us-alone policy of dealing with PISD as sub-recipients of grants that are now declared to be fraudulently operated by one of our own shared employees. Our County does not have extra dollars to risk or spend on anything be it more and more new trucks to park along the Courthouse perimeter, or to help enrich our own employees in their own side-work.

I look forward to the leadership of our new County Judge as well as our other elected officials in standing tall and resolving, as stated in the newspaper, to be better and change for the permanency of the betterment of the people's asset- your County government. Please pay attention. I will continue to post my notes from meetings and ruminations on goings-on here from this point on. This I can promise.

Sincerely, David Beebe













Page numbers within the 76 page audit that have relatively easy to understand info.

Here are some page numbers with corresponding topical info with regard to the audit. These pages have info which is illuminating and relatively easy to understand.

Page 2- basis for adverse opinion as a whole; adverse opinion.
Page 3- Financial Highlights- discussion of some positive and negative financial news in comparison to 2013.
Page 5- summary of net position and changes in net position.
Page 13- budgeted amounts; original, finally amended and actual 2014.
Page 19- explains "governmental activities" and "business-type activities"
Pages 20-24- give a basic explanation of accounting in county government and types of funds referred to.
Page 27- refers to long-term debt due Dec 15, 2015 that will need to be refinanced. Only reason this is important is because adverse opinion should directly affect credit rating and terms.
Page 31- combining balance sheet of governmental funds
Page 43-48- auditor's report on internal control over financial statements, reporting, etc based on governmental auditing standards. Refers mostly to grant programs and specifically, reporting for Single Audit OMB Circular A-133, which is required by accepting federal grants.
Pages 65-75- Summary, Findings, Award Findings and Questioned Costs. I went through each of these in separate posts on this blog.
Page 76- Resolved and Unresolved schedule of prior Audit Findings. Recaps issues with prior Audits.


Surely most accountants would argue that my pages listed here would give someone an incomplete view of the audit, and that is true, but in the interest of a layman's basic view, I believe one could look at these pages and have a pretty good understanding of the audit as a whole.

All in all, there is some not so bad news within the dark clouds. As I have said before, I believe we are at a point of crossroads, where we can fix the problems now and as a whole, or ignore them and maybe not get a good chance to fix them again for quite some time. In the meantime, the County's credit rating and ability to secure needed grants across service ranges will be damaged. Expect and demand more from your County government as it IS ATTAINABLE!

More later and thanks for reading- DB


The unabridged final version of the Presidio County 2014 audit is now online

It's posted, as per state statute in the County's website. Go to the home page at www.co.presidio.tx.us and look under the Financial Transparency tab. The document is a pdf file in 2 parts under CAFR. It should be easily printable for reading or you can view the files on your computer.
DB

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Overview and personal statement coming...

Thanks for reading. I am accepting comments as they come and will approve them if they are appropriate, whether I agree with them or not.
I will be writing my opinion on all this soon, including my take on what I believe to be self-serving behavior that is at the very least unethical, and in some ways, as referenced in the preceding texts, illegal.
The questions which remain here after whatever dust settles are threefold; will the County work with resolve to correct these problems permanently, as many of us elected officials are trying to do? Will the public pay enough attention to hold elected officials and those employees in other bastions of power accountable? And will Judge Ferguson be able to appoint a County Auditor who forces us to all toe the line on getting this straight or at least make it very difficult to operate without transparency?

I am aware I am putting myself at risk of being not just picked on, but being put in a potentially dangerous situation by speaking out. I am not married and have no wife or kids that people can target, therefore I am the perfect candidate within internal County government to speak out and I expose only myself to retribution.

 I ask you citizens to demand better. However you can do it. There are many of us working to make it happen, but we need the support of the people. Demand better.


More later- David

Section III: 2-2009 Significant Deficiency

(Taken directly from the auditor's report. All items in parentheses are my own statements)

2-2009 Significant Deficiency

Program: Operation Stonegarden Grant; CFDA Number 97.067 and U.S. Presidential Permit; CFDA Number 20.205

Criteria: Grant reimbursement requests should be reconciled to the General Ledger as there are instances where a portion of a reimbursement request is denied and the associated revenues and expenditures should be adjusted accordingly.

See the detail as it is outlined above. REPEAT FINDING.

( Note that grants have not been reconciled to the General Ledger since at least 2009. See item in Section II number 1-2009 for detail mentioned)

Section III- 2-2013 Material Weakness


(Taken directly from the auditor's report. Items in parentheses are my own statements.)

2-2013 Material Weakness (Repeat Finding)

Program: Operation Stonegarden Grant; CFDA Number 97.067 and U.S. 67 Presidential Permit ; CFDA Number 20.205

Criteria: Capital Assets should be reported on the Statement of Net Position for Governmental Activities and for Business-like Activities. Proprietary Funds report their account balances much like a business and all capital assets should be shown on the Statement of Net Position- Proprietary Funds.

See the detail as it is outlined above. REPEAT FINDING.

(Refer to findings in Section II 2-2013)

Section III- 10-2014 Significant Deficiency

(Taken directly from the auditor's report. Items in parentheses are my own statements)

10-2014- Significant Deficiency

Program: Operation Stonegarden Grant; CFDA Number 97.067 and U.S. Presidential Permit ; CFDA Number 20.205

Criteria: Entities that receive federal funding in excess of $500,000 are required to have a single audit to be submitted to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse within none months after the end of their fiscal year (We are late and the audit is obviously bad)
Condition: Financial statements are not being generated in a timely manner that allows an independent auditor to meet the necessary deadline as required by OMB Circular A-133 audits
Questioned Costs: No questioned costs were identified. In correspondence with the awarding agency it was noted this should be reported as a finding.
Context: In the course of the audit work performed and the need for clarification of specific issues, the awarding agencies were contacted. Each agency of the major programs discussed the need for timely submission of the audit package to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse as required by OMB Circular A-133.
Cause: The a county lacks a definitive close process and schedule for which adherence to on a routine basis would enable the timely generation of financial data that could be audited and allow for overages in time so a submission of the single audit could be completed in a timely manner.
Effect: Continued recurring lack of submission of the single audit to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse could cause grantors to be reluctant to enter into contracts with the County. (this could include a multitude of unrelated grantors such as Emergency Services grants. I have already heard from a Marfa Volunteer Firewoman that they are bracing for cancellation of grants)
Recommendation: A defined close schedule should be developed and adhered to that establishes a routine schedule based upon a set number of business days to accomplish specific tasks in order to effectively close and accounting period.

(So we may or may not be able to receive grant funding based on our lack of due diligence. That may should OK, but for EMS/Fire services, airport renovations, law enforcement dispatch services and things not having to do directly with the County departments involved it could be very serious as we can rarely afford to outlay cash all at once to pay for necessary items. )

Section III: 9-2014- Material Weakness

(Taken directly from the auditors report; items in parentheses are my own statements)

Federal and State Award Finding and Questioned Costs
9-2014 Material Weakness

Program: Operation Stonegarden Grant; CFDA Number 97.067 and U.S. Presidential Permit; CFDA Number 20.205

Criteria: Federally funded grant agreements require specific supporting documentation and specific time requirements for documentation to be submitted when applying for reimbursement.
Condition: Reimbursement requests are being submitted to the grantor that do not have the required supporting documentation and are past the prescribed time period as outlined in the grant. The non-compliance results in a material disallowed cost amount the the County will be held liable for should an appeal not be granted.
Questioned Costs: The sub-recipient separate entity (PISD Police) received $64,871 in federal funding in which the supporting documentation did not meet the requirements as outlined by the Operation Stonegarden grant. The compliance requirement of the U.S. 67 Presidential Permit requires form FHWA-1589, Monthly Employment Report, to be submitted each month to submit this form to the State. No evidence of gathering this information was noted and the no dollar value is assigned to this finding. The compliance requirement of the U.S. 67 Presidential Permit allows a 90 day window of opportunity to submit costs for reimbursements. $12,970 was disallowed as a County employee submitted their time for reimbursement through the grant that was in excess of a year's time from the point the costs were incurred versus the date of the invoice.
Context: Material disbursements for the Operation Stonegarden grant were inspected of which one novice totaled $22,626. Once the conflict of interest was discovered all invoices to the sub-recipient separate entity (PISD Police) were inspected for fraud and abuse. Grant compliance requirements were determined by reading the approved grant documentation for each grant selected as a major program. Further inquiry and inspection determined necessary supporting documentation and time requirements were not being met on the sample of the population that was audited.
Cause: The County has gone through multiple grant administrators and has shifted the burden of document review to many different positions within the County over the years. This lack of consistency has caused the supporting documentation review prior to submission to be of a diminished quality.
Effect: A lack of supporting documentation could cause the County to not be reimbursed for expenditures it has incurred and budgeted for with the expectation of being reimbursed. This can also have a negative effect on the County's cash position if an audit from a granting agency is performed and a material amount of expenditures are disallowed.
Recommendation: A checklist that corresponds to each type of expenditure for each grant held by the County should be developed at the grant's inception so that in the event of inconsistency in the County's personnel choice decision to administer the grant there is a control in place that provides consistency in the required supporting documentation before the amount is requested for reimbursement.

(Now that the County has actual people in the relatively new Office of Management and Budget, I am hoping this particular problem will clear up. The County may be on the hook for those two amount. The Presidential Permit reimbursement amount refers to Jake Giesbrecht, who is heading that project. I seem to recall a Commissioners Court about a year ago authorizing payment of those back hours. County may be on the hook for those, since the submission to the grant was late. $64,871 refers to the overtime hours for the PISD Police, covered somewhat in the last post. There's so much more to that story... )

Section III- Federal and State Award Finding and Questioned Costs. 8-2014- Material Weakness

(Taken directly from the audit; items in parentheses are my own statements.) Section III: Federal and State Award Finding and Questioned Costs
8-2014 Material Weakness
Program: Operation Stonegarden Grant; CFDA Number 97.067
Criteria: Federally funded gent agreements require there be no conflicts of interest.
Condition: An employee of the County is listed in the administrative chain of command for a federally funded grant and has awarded the opportunity for grant funds to a sub-recipient separate entity for which the individual is also in charge.
Questioned Costs: The sub-recipient separate entity received $64,871 in federal funding.
Context: Material disbursement for the Operation Stonegarden grant were inspected of which one invoice totaled $22,626. Once the conflict of interest was discovered all invoices to the sub-recipient separate entity were inspected for fraud and abuse.
Cause: A conflict of interest policy and procedure has not been established by the County.
Effect: Potential abuse of Federal funds can occur that could cause a potential liability for the County if untreated.
Recommendation: A conflict of interest policy and procedure should be established that requires key employees to report potential conflicts of interest on an annual recurring basis.
(There's so much more to this, much of it outside the scope of this audit, that is difficult to explain and is being obfuscated by the individual referred to in the document, who is Joel Nunez, Jr., Chief Deputy for the Sheriff's Office and Police Chief for the Presidio I.S.D. Police dept. I will certainly leave much out, but the general overview reads as follows: PISD has a police force which, by its nature, is not eligible on its own for Homeland Security grants. A provision within the Stonegarden grant allows for a group of "friendly forces" which may apply for reimbursement of allowable costs THROUGH THE COUNTY. What that means in this case is that PISD spends funds, does paperwork, and applies for reimbursement through the County's grant. If the process is flawed, the County faces the liability. In this case, Mr Nunez is also the grant administrator on behalf of the County, is a beneficiary of the grant through the overtime he receives, both with the Sheriff's Office and PISD-DPS, is in control of awarding this benefits through his position as PISD-DPS chief, and is also listed in the administrative chain of command as a County Official, which he is in eligible to do. This setup has been well-known by all local parties, and is in violation of the grant requirements, and of the U.S. Criminal Conflicts of Interest statute 18,USC 208, which prohibits an employee from participating personally and substantially, in any official capacity, in any "particular matter" that would have a direct and predictable effect on the employee' own financial interests or on the financial interests of an organization in which the employee serves as an employee. A "particular matter" is virtually any government matter to which an employee might be assigned, including policy matters and matters involving specific parties, such as contracts or grants. Recusal is mandatory in the circumstances specific in the statute.
Not only this, but numerous times Mr. Nunez has claimed overtime reimbursements for himself during the same pay period in both entities, up to 20 hours of overtime for each one, I have learned. That would mean working, on a regular basis, well over 100 hours per week between the 2 jobs. The authorization for the PISD time sheets comes from himself. The Sheriff authorizes his County overtime. Also, Mr Nunez claimed overtime for five PISD-DPS "employees", including Sheriff Dominguez's brother Joe Dominguez, who were never contracted or employed in any way by PISD. Emails to PISD administration from the County Treasurer's office, which has to face paying back over $64,000 of, in the auditor's words in a separate part of the audit report, "Fraudulent charges" regarding this matter are now not being returned by order of the PISD CHIEF OF POLICE, as he claims the information is PISD's alone, despite the County being the grant holder and custodian of the grant liability. There is even more to this story, but that's enough for now. I'll have a re-cap and synopsis of this whole audit and everything I feel is related to it up by the end of July. It's going to take a while for me to figure out how to voice it without fearing for severe retaliation from certain people in power. You can do the math on that, for sure.)

Section II: 1-2009 Significant Deficiency


(Taken directly from the 2014 audit- items in parentheses are mine alone. The numbering of 1-2009 specifies this is a REPEAT finding SINCE 2009.)
1-2009- Significant Deficiency
Criteria: Grant reimbursement requests should be reconciled to the general ledger as there are instances where a portion of a reimbursement request is envied and the associated revenues and expenditures should be adjusted accordingly.
Condition: Grant reimbursement requests are not being reconciled which results in an overstatement of revenues and corresponding expenditures which a portion of the request has been denied.
Context: the audit plan and programs user the auditor to look at the revenues and expenditures of the entity to artistry specific assertions such as revenues and expenses being in existence and that they are valued properly. REPEAT FINDING.
Cause: The County does not currently have a period end close procedure that would identify recurring issues and ensure the financial reporting teamwork in accurate.
Effect: Without reconciling grant reimbursement requests to the General Ledger the account balances can be misstated which affects the financial statements and the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards. 
Recommendation: A defined close schedule should be developed and adhered to that establishes a routine schedule based upon a set number of business days to accomplish specific tasks in order to effectively close an accounting period.
(In the past, some County officials have viewed grant funds as merely a "pass-through" since expenses are reimbursed. This makes some simple sense, except that method does not acknowledge the liability to the County in case the paperwork and/or procedures are flawed and reimbursements are not approved. Also, neglecting to include these in the budget or on a balance sheet grossly misrepresents the County's cash position between the time the grant money is spent and the time it is presumably reimbursed. See the next Material Weakness 8-2014 for an example of all this.)

Section II: 3-2013- Material Weakness

(Taken directly from the audit report, items in parentheses are mine alone)
Findings: Material Weakness 3-2013
Criteria: Each cash account for the County is a custodian of should have a reconciliation to the General Ledger performed on it each month. Some accounts by their very nature of inactivity only received a bank statement on a quarterly basis and should be reconciled accordingly.
Condition: Thirty-one bank accounts do not have a reconciliation performed on them and if they do they are not reconciled to the General Ledger.
Context: The audit plan and programs require the auditor to look at the assets of the entity to satisfy specific assertions such as an account balance being a right of the County and that it is valued properly. REPEAT FINDING
Cause: The. County does not currently have a period end close procedure that would identify recurring issues and ensure the financial reporting framework in accurate. (sic)
Effect: Without the inclusion of the cash balances on the a Government-wide Statements and the fund financial statements , the assets and the corresponding net position/ fund balances are understated.
Recommendation: A defined close schedule should be developed and adhered to thing establishes a routine schedule based upon a set number of business days to accomplish specific task in order to effectively close an accounting period.

Section II: Findings 2-2013- Material Weakness

Findings- Material Weakness 2-2013
(Taken directly from the 2014 audit- items in parentheses are mine alone. The reference to 2013 in the header indicates a REPEAT finding.)

2-2013- Material Weakness

Criteria: Capital Assets should be reported on the Statement of Net Position for Governmental Activities and for Business-Like Activities. Proprietary Funds report their account balances much like a business and all capital assets should be shown on the Statement of Net Position- Proprietary Funds.
Condition: Capital assets  are not being maintained on the Statements of Net Position (in other words, the County has no assets aside from cash and monetary assets listed. Capital assets account for the vast majority of County assets)
Context: The audit plan and programs require the auditor to look at the assets of the entity to satisfy specific assertions such as an account balance being a right of the County and that it is valued properly. REPEAT FINDING.
Cause: The Capital Assets of the County have not been maintained since 2007.
Effect: Without the inclusion of the Capital Assets on the Statements of Net Position the assets and the corresponding position are understated.
Recommendation: A full inventory and appraisal should be performed for all of the capital assets of the County for inclusion on the Statements of Net Position.

(SINCE 2007!) Judge Agan era. NOT fixed by Hunt. Firm RCI has been enlisted to do this by Commissioners Court and has taken, to the best of their ability, an inventory of assets, with tracking numbers, locations, etc. Painter says more work needs to be done. Judge Guevara has called for an asset counting day at the end of August to get this straight. County offices will be closed, will take full inventory of what they have.)

Section II: 1-2013 Material Weakness


1-2013
(Text taken directly from Audit report- items in parentheses are mine alone)
Findings- Material Weakness 1-2013
(The reference to 2013 indicates a REPEAT finding from the prior year's audit.)
Criteria: An appropriately designed system of internal controls should have a routine period close procedure which would require the reconciliation of fund transfers.
Condition: The Due To and Due From accounts do not balance at the end of the fiscal year.
Context: The audit plan and programs require the auditor to look at current assets and current liabilities to statist specific assertions such as an account balance being a right or an obligation of the County and that is valued properly. REPEAT FINDING.
Cause: The County does not currently have a period end close procedure that would identify recurring issues and ensure the financial reporting framework in accurate. (sic)
Effect: Account balances for fund transfers are not reconciled and allows the individual fund balances to be misstated.
Recommendation: A defined close schedule should be developed and adhered to that establishes a routine schedule based upon a set number of business days to accomplish specific tasks in order to effectively close an accounting period.
(The lack of reconciliation close dates makes it impossible to ascertain county cash assets. A plan to finally resolve this has been presented by Painter to the OMB office and all offices is to reconcile our bank accounts monthly on a certain day. This is a countywide directive; it will be interesting to see which departments don't follow it)

Section II: Findings- 7-2014- Significant Deficiency

(Text taken directly from the Audit- items in parentheses are mine alone)
Findings: Material Weakness 7-2014 Significant Deficiency
Criteria: The County has established procedures for purchases in excess of $50,000 and specifically regarding sole source items that my be purchased without competitive procurement, but must have approval of both the Commissioners Court nod the County Purchasing Officer. The $50,000 competitive procurement amount is set by the State Legislature.
Condition: One instance was noted of a purchase in excess of $50,000 for a sole source item that was not approved for payment by Commissioners Court.
Context: In a review of material purchases it was noted a check in the amount of $51.731 was not approved in Commissioner Court. While this expenditure was from a sole source item and did not require a competitive bid it still was subject to the policy and procedures as established by the County in their purchasing policy (and by State Law).
Cause: An override of the established control by the County for purchases in excess of $50,000 for a sole source item (and also a violation of State Law) was made by not gaining approval for the purchase through Commissioners Court.
Effect: Unapproved expenditures that are material in nature can be made that could adversely affect the cash flow of the County.
Recommendation: An established set of spending limits per department head should be established that would require and individual to seek a higher level of approval before a (any) purchase is made. Ideally, checks in excess of $50,000 should be required to have the County Judge's signature as evidence they have been approved in Commissioners Court.
(In this instance the Sheriff's Office, without approval and off-budget, purchasing a crime-fighting software program called CopSync. The fact that the purchase totaled over $50,000 makes it a violation of State Law, regardless of County policy. If it had been less, however, it would not have been illegal, but would have still been in violation of the County's written purchasing policy. The former treasurer was notorious for cutting checks demanded by the Sheriff's Office without authorization. This has ceased under the current leadership, but will likely be an issue for the 2015 audit as the first quarter of FY 2015 was Oct 1 2014- Dec 31 2015 and nothing had yet changed. It has been relayed to me that the Sheriff's Office was trying to find a way for Stonegarden grant funding to pay for this, but that was prohibited. Either way, the purchase was illegal.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Section II- Findings: 6-2014 Material Weakness

6-2014

Material Weakness

Criteria: Receivables and the corresponding revenue should be on the accrual basis for proprietary funds.
Condition: Invoices to the U.S. Marshall Service for the housing of inmates is being recognized on a cash basis.
Context: In preparing a confirmation to be sent to the U.S. Marshall's Service it was noted that revenues were being posted in the incorrect accounting period. An adjusting entry to retained earnings was proposed in the amount of $225,060 for revenue recognized in the current period from the prior period. An accrual was proposed for an entry to accounts receivable and the corresponding revenue for the current fiscal year in the amount of $844,415.
(Let's be clear that the Jail is doing a good job of functioning these days, despite some accounting troubles)
Cause: Invoices are not being recognized in the County's accounting software since the invoices for the U.S. Marshall's Service are created by the Jail Administration and never entered into the receivable module to track the receivable and book the corresponding revenue in the correct period into the County's accounting software.
Effect: The County is reporting revenues out of period and is unaware of the receivable balance owed by the U.S. Marshall's Service to the Jail.
Recommendation: An established month end close procedure would enable the County to accrue and be aware of this revenue stream.

(I can honestly say that yes, this is an issue, but three years ago when the jail was still closed, the prospect of having any cushion or leeway to not have to track every penny was hugely improbable. Changes need to be made to the procedures, but the jail as a whole has done an excellent job of being positive to County fortunes, reversing what had been a giant negative. Also, I am there nearly every day doing Magistrations, and the staff is courteous and friendly to everyone, including inmates.)

Section II: Findings- 5-2014 Material Weakness

(Taken directly from Audit; items in parentheses are mine alone)

5-2014
Material Weakness

Criteria: Sales Tax payments should be made to State Comptroller on a regular basis.
Condition: Since the jail has reopened, the sales to inmates at the Commissary have (sic) been charging sales tax, but the amounts collected have never been remitted to the State Comptoller.
Context: A review of all the bank accounts confirmed identified cash balances not being carried on the County's financial statements. Upon further inquiry it was determined the Jail's Commissary Fund is maintained on a separate accounting system. The amount of sales tax collected since re opening totaled $6332.
Cause: A Texas Sales Tax Permit has never been obtained.
Effect: A sales tax liability is not being reported on the County's financial statements and without continual reporting and remittance of sales tax amounts the County will incur fines and penalties from the State Comptroller's Office.
Recommendation: Obtain a Texas Sales. Tax Permit and establish an internal control reporting framework to ensure amounts are reported and remitted to the State as required and to be incorporated with finding 1-2014.


Section II- Findings: 4-2014 Material Weakness

(Taken directly from the audit- items in parentheses are mine alone)

Material Weakness:

Criteria: Cash balances and the corresponding restricted fund balance should be reported on the County's financial statements.
Condition: The Governmental Fund Balance Sheet is not correctly stated as a result of seventeen depository accounts for which the County is a custodian of not being reported.
Context: A review of all the bank accounts confirmed identified cash balances not being carried on the County's financial statements. The cash balance confirmed totaled $223,983.
Cause: Cash reconciliations are not being prepared which would agree cash balances to the general ledger.
Effect: The County's financial statements would be misstated without the inclusion of these seventeen depository accounts and the restricted fund balances (restricted fund balances include things such as bonds, monies earmarked for certain purposes, etc)
Recommendation: An internal control framework should be established for these seventeen cash balances that includes a reconciliation to the general ledger resulting in the reporting of restricted fund balances to the County for inclusion in the financial statements.

(Notice by now the recurring theme of "internal control frameworks". Let me point out again that this is the responsibility of your County officials to create, implement and follow updated policies. The monies referred to here are there and untracked. And have been.)


Section II: Findings- 3-2014 Material Weakness

(Taken directly from the Audit- items in parentheses are mine alone)

Criteria: Cash balances and the corresponding unassigned fund balance should be reported on the County's financial statements.
Condition: The Governmental Funds Balance Sheet is not correctly stated as a result of nine depository accounts for which the County is a custodian of not being reported.
Context: A review of all the bank accounts confirmed identified cash balances not being carried on the County's financial statements. The cash balance confirmed totaled $197,257.
Cause: Cash reconciliations are not being prepared which would agree cash balances to the general ledger.
Effect: The County's financial statements would be misstated without the inclusion of these nine depository accounts and the associated unassigned fund balances. (I believe there to be one of these in my office, as our account has a "cushion" of upwards of $10,000, based on my rudimentary analysis at this time of writing)
Recommendation: An internal control framework should be established for these nine cash balances that includes a reconciliation to the general ledger resulting in the reporting of unassigned fund balances to the County for inclusion in the financial statements.
(Will result in beginning assets for the following fiscal year insofar as cash being correct; the basis of cash valuation)

Section II- Findings: 2-2014 Material Weakness

(Taken directly from the audit; text in parentheses is mine alone)

Criteria: Cash balances and corresponding fund balance should be reported on the County's financial statements.
Condition: The Statement of a Fiduciary Net Position and the Statement of Changes in Fiduciary Net Position are not being carried on the County's financial statements for the Jail's Inmate Trust Funds. This fund has four bank accounts associated with it that are not being reported.
Context: A review of all the bank accounts confirmed identified cash balances not being carried on the County's financial statements. Upon further inquiry it was determined the Jail's Inmate Trust Funds are maintained on a separate accounting system. The cash balance totaled $68,791. (The inmate Trust Fund holds monies deposited by and/or for inmates to use at the Commissary for toiletries, etc. It functions as a mini-bank for the prisoners)
Cause: The internal control for financial reporting does not exist for the Inmate Trust Fund.
Effect: The County's financial statements would be misstated without the inclusion of these fund balances.
Recommendation: An internal control framework should be established for the Inmate Trust Fund that includes a reconciliation of account balances per inmate, the recording and subsequent rooting of sales and purchases by each inmate and the reporting of fund balances to the County for inclusion in the financial statements.

(During the budget planning cycle for the year 2015 I witnessed the the County Judge exclude "pass-through" accounts that presumably zero themselves out from the written budget. This has been a long term issue and it's likely nobody knew these extraneous accounts should be included. Now we know for sure.)

Section II- Financial Statement Findings: 1-2014

(Taken directly from the Audit. Statements in parentheses are mine alone.)

1-2014- Material Weakness

Criteria- Cash balances and the corresponding fund balance should be reported on the County's financial statements.
Condition: The Statement of Net Position, the Statement of Revenues, Expenses and Changes in Net Position and the Statement of Cash Flows are not being carried on the County's financial statements for the Jail's Commissary Fund. This fund has one bank account associated with it that is not being reported. (The jail's Commissary Fund is where monies to operate the Commissary- where inmates can buy toiletries, etc with funds deposited into their own accounts- are stored. A small bank account with which to operate a small store)
Context: A review of all the bank accounts confirmed identified cash balances not being carried on the County's financial statements. Upon further inquiry it was determined the Jail's Commissary Fund is maintained on a separate accounting system. The cash balance totaled $9,593.00.
Cause: The internal control for financial reporting does not exist for the Jail's Commissary Fund.
Effect: The County's financial statements would be misstated without the inclusion of these fund balances.
Recommendation: An internal control framework should be established for the Commissary Fund that includes an inventory of items in the commissary at the end of each month, the recording and subsequent recording of sales and purchases by the commissary, the reporting of sales tax to the State Comptroller and the reporting of fund balances to the County for inclusion in the financial statements.

(The jail keeps track of this, but does not include them in the county budget. Neglecting to account in the General Ledger or Budget for income based funds this small and separate from regular county operations is not surprising, and it's unlikely a profit center, but must be accounted for. Also, later on in the report it's reported that sales tax is being collected on these sales but not being remitted to the state)

What is an A-133 report?

With regard to below, from Wikipedia

In the United States, the Single Audit, also known as the OMB A-133 audit, is a rigorous, organization-wide audit or examination of an entity that expends $500,000 or more of Federal assistance (commonly known as Federal fundsFederal grants, or Federal awards) received for its operations.[1][2][3] Usually performed annually,[4] the Single Audit’s objective is to provide assurance to the US federal government as to the management and use of such funds by recipients such as states, cities, universities, and non-profit organizations. The audit is typically performed by an independent certified public accountant (CPA) and encompasses both financial and compliance components. The Single Audits must be submitted to theFederal Audit Clearinghouse along with a data collection form, Form SF-SAC

Summary of Auditor's Results, Presidio County, Year Ended September 30th, 2014

This post covers information in Section One of the Schedule of Findings in the Audit.

Notes in parentheses are my own statements, not to be regarded as anything but my own opinions and/or communications



Financial Statements:

Type of audit report issued: Adverse

Internal Control over financial reporting:
* Material weakness identified?   Yes
* Significant deficiencies identified?  Yes
Non-compliance material to financial statements noted?  Yes


Federal Awards:

Internal control over major programs:
* Material weaknesses identified? Yes
* Significant weaknesses identified? Yes

Type of auditor's report issued on compliance for major programs: Qualified (one step up from adverse)

Any audit findings disclosed that are required to be reported in accordance with section 510(a) of Circular A-133?  Yes

Identification of Major Programs:
CFDA # 97.067- Operation Stonegarden
CFDA # 20.205- U.S. 67 Presidential Permit

Dollar threshold used to distinguish between Type A and Type B programs: $300,000

Auditee qualified as low-risk Auditee? No


(this is first page -the summary of the findings- I will go through each finding over the next couple of weeks)


Background on Presidio County audits over the last few years

Hello, all

This is not intended to be an accountant's or an attorney's viewpoint on the state of Presidio County's financial statements or practices. This is instead my own viewpoint and interpretation of what has occurred, where we are now, and where we could head from here.

The main purpose of even covering this material is to try to explain, in relatively simple terms, the issues our county government has had with regard to proper financial practices and oversight. The problems we have had are not at all new, and I am happy to say that there are many in the current elected and hired county positions who are working hard to modernize systems and remedy problems.

Presidio County is a poor county. Without oil and gas revenue and with a large land mass the county is constantly struggling to provide basic services to its citizens. Over the years the county has relied upon grant funding to close funding gaps in many areas, and particularly in law enforcement. Grant funding comes with major complex responsibilities in procedures, tracking of funds and resources and reporting. Many of the grants that Presidio County has relied upon require the county to first spend money on resources and then apply approved reimbursement of funds expended. One of the programs we have relied on in order to provide adequate law enforcement is the Operation Stonegarden grant, which reimburses the county for overtime expenditures (including fuel, equipment and man-hours) with regard to Border Security. In the last several years the county has been granted over $350,000 each year through this program. There have been problems with the grant administration of Stonegarden, as well as with some of the smaller grants the county has received. In  2014 the county began to pursue the Presidio International Bridge Expansion project assertively. The county received federal grant funding to complete the Presidential Permit process needed to complete the bridge project. There have been some problems with that accounting as well.

Last year a County Auditor was appointed by District Judge Roy Ferguson to straighten out county finances and internal accounting systems after the county's receiving an adverse audit for the year 2012. Myriad problems including but not limited to purchasing policies, asset tracking (none), grant administration, reconciliation of bank accounts, incomplete budgeting, off books bank accounts and invalid contracts were identified. Some painful progress was made during this time by both the auditor's efforts and the efforts of county officials. I am of the opinion that some of that progress has led to permanent improvements, but for the year 2014 it was already too late in coming. During the creation of the 2015 budget, the Auditor unexpectedly resigned; many people were happy. For me, I was greatly disappointed, for the health of the county and in him personally.

At this point I am going to pause and state that my explanation above is a major oversimplification of why every year the county gets an unfavorable audit. What I am trying to do here is give the reader a general idea of what the problems have been and how we can work to fix them.

As for 2015,  we are now 3/4 of the way through the fiscal year. It's already time to begin to have budget meetings. The budget must be written and approved by Commissioners Court before September 30th. FY 2016 begins October 1st. I believe the 2015 audit will be much improved, but will contain some similar problems we have seen in the past, particularly with regard to grant administration. Recently, Commissioners Court has come under pressure internally from the new Treasurer and also the officers in the the Commissioners Court internal Office of Management and Budget to create and enforce proper policies in order to become legally compliant with the financial requirements of county government. I have also been vocal about all county departments complying with updated countywide policies that reflect proper procedure. I am asking the citizens of Presidio County to demand more from their elected officials. With more taxpayer accountability and a greater awareness that all county resources are the property of the citizens of the county itself, Presidio County government can easily do better and be something we can all be proud of.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting notes 7/14/2015

Today the 2014 single audit for the county was presented. The county received an adverse opinion. Here are my notes from this meeting. I will have a complete statement on this issue written soon.

P.C.C.C. 07/14/2015
Marfa.
All present except Lorenzo Hernandez (probably still out after kidney stones)
Item 3- public comments- none
Item 4- county judge's comments:
No inmate c t for jail at this point. Population unofficially 65 adults.
Texas rural water association called yesterday. Want the CRT to consider appointing someone to maintain water system in Candelaria. Also brought up quality of water at airport. Possibly going into partnership with City of Presidio.
Person needs class D certification from state.
RGCOG - criminal justice reporting was delinquent. Already have taken steps to improve and now within 90% compliance. Rating affects grant eligibility. County atty, jail, clerks have all worked together.
Commissioners announcements: asking judge about pipeline meeting, Presidential Permit meeting for bridge. Discussion regarding bridge progress and TXDOT participation, assistance.
5) Executive Session. Judge Guevara says it's not necessary, motions to table. In favor unanimous
6) FY 2014 audit. Doak Painter presents:
Adverse audit. 3rd audit he has worked on in 20 ,moths for Presidio County. Talks about 2012 audit.
2012- complex grant problems. Co- mingled.
2013- "lost records caused adverse opinion" not true. Material problems far beyond some missing paperwork.
2014- 49 cash accounts, half plus not represented on books. No fixed assets listed, cash basis instead of accrual for jail accounts. Marshals service owes big bucks to jail fund, amount unknown. Material issues throughout the county government.
Big disconnect between courthouse and jail. Information flow is lacking severely between departments. No follow though on fixing problems. Administration issue countywide. County needs to focus on follow through of implementing corrective actions. Departments have own cash accounts treasurer does not have access to. By virtue of treasurers role she should have access and be on top of all finances in the county. Doak says his report speaks for itself.
Schedule of findings: starts with 4 inmate trust funds with absolutely no accounting. Nowhere in books, no balances, no reconciliation. Jail commissary does not track sales, collects sales tax but does not even have a sales tax ID. Inmate trust funds: no reconciliations of trust funds. Grant administration : multiple funds. County has 49 bank accounts to deal with; increases risk.
Lack of close schedule. Close schedule states the day of reconciliations, receivables inputting, etc. County needs to implement close schedules, consolidate bank accounts. Mentions that things were getting better when auditor came in, but when he quit county backslid.
White says that county needs to be more aggressive on fixing problems. Actively pursue remedies. Painter says that plan is there and commissioners can make it happen. First thing at needs to be done is to organize and track assets. Sept 30. Then get it insured by TAC, completely tracked with titles, etc. every year the county has to take an inventory by the beginning of the fiscal year. Communication improvements. References PO system, conflicts of interest. County needs to close out funds, zero out balances, start with new fresh data.
Doak says if a department head refuses to cooperate the problems will never be fixed. Aranda says we need to really pressure everyone to cooperate. Judge says that she is going to have an agenda item to have a close-out day where each department shuts down and counts inventory, condition of inventory. Painter says that if he is to continue as auditor the county needs to start fresh; it's too difficult to try to complete an audit without accurate information, systems in place. Stonegarden grants not completely spent, not accounted for properly. Over 1.1 million granted, left 313,000 dollars on the table, could have been spent on a grant administrator with more money left over. Grant administrator necessary for county; needs to be that person's sole duty. Marfa Golf Association has an expired contract, county is custodian of bank account. Liability is on county. Painter says county has three months to make changes or will be on same path. Guevara says " those days are over" and receives support from all commissioners present. Aranda mentions communication between departments, commissioners. Painter says that if he in engaged for next year's audit he is committed to quarterly monitoring. Says Patty Roach is aware of how to fix the problems, commissioners should lean on her. Guevara proposes asset day be Aug 27th, requests that commissioners attend.
White recommends accepting audit. Unanimous.
7) internal auditor/OMB response to auditors findings. Patty Roach says the audit is thorough and of high caliber. Says county needs to acknowledge findings. Grant funding issues. This year county has established a new structure to the accounting system for grant funding. New system allows auditor to identify each grant as it comes in. Such as Stonegarden, where you may I have several years open at once; this method allows for proper tracking. Hoping that this structure will help auditor at end of year. Many findings deal with procedure. OMB has developed a monthly closing procedure. Monthly bank reconciliations procedures, efforts to track and reconcile accounts operated by other elected officials. Grant reimbursement spreadsheets need to be reconciled to general ledger. Capital asset transactions need to be reconciled every month in conjunction with the RCI software. Payroll liability accounts need to be reconciled by a certain date. Non-treasurer managed accounts need to have methodology for reporting. Confirmation of tax statements, e.g. Sales tax, etc. Reports would eventually go to commissioners court with reconciliations, etc included for each dept. Jail trust funds will be reviewed with Sheriff's office. Determine purposes, tracking system, etc. Monthly basis reporting to OMB to be added to general ledger for county. U.S. Marshals service payments need to be submitted to OMB, tracked properly. Transactions above $50,000 have been addressed by commissioners court with new purchasing policy. Capital assets have been inventoried by RCI, county needs to be on top of keeping track.
Grant reimbursement requests need to be reconciled to general ledger. County needs to work harder to catch up and get books straight so that single audit will not be late. County needs to develop a year-end procedure. Policies of accounting for vacation and comp time, etc. determine a drop date for posting between one fiscal year and another. Texas Comptroller enforcement officer named James Forristal coming to review sales tax issue and others. Katie Sanchez speaks: says progress has been made. OMB has been educating departments to reconcile their own accounts, most did not know they were supposed to and are now doing it.
Approved by commissioners unanimously.
10:31- ten minute break
Reconvene 10:57.
Item 8- approve and accept 6 county vehicles and 6 grant funded vehicles as surplus and title them to the county. Frances has most of the titles, the three given by the Sheriff to PISD and the presidio fire dept. White asks whether the vehicles should have all been titled to county. Guevara says that state grant funding said that it was a local decision. State atty general says all property is in exclusive jurisdiction of the county. White asks whether the vehicles were given by the Sheriffs office to other agencies. Titled to other entities. Same county policy has been in effect since 2010. Transfer of titles never came to commissioners court. White says this is the type of problem that needs to be addressed by commissioners court if the books are to be fixed. Aranda asks if there are valid interlocal agreements in place to have this happen. White declares that state law says that commissioners court still must approve. County is paying insurance on one of the vehicles. White says this should be tabled so that everything can be corrected. TAC says city is liable even if not insured. Shanna asks which vehicles are in question. White gets into it with Shanna. Shanna says that they are trying to retitle vehicles. White makes motion to table and asks treasurer to work with other depts to rectify the situation and for the county clerk to provide minutes of former meetings that addressed same issues.
9) Presidential Permit item to allow Jake Giesbrecht to work more than 8 hours per month. TXDOT requires the project coordinator to be a full time county employee. Motion carries to make Jake a full time employee to become compliant. Unanimous.
10) Presentation by Manny Araujo regarding Harris Govern. Appraisal and tax business. Writes software for tax offices and appraisal districts. Software integrates both offices. Says #1 challenge for ad valorem tax collection is communication between the appraisal district and the tax office, especially when there are software differences. Good example of problems is address corrections. Harris software completely integrates both offices. Right now PCAD uses Harris govern, county uses a different vendor. Cost info: stand alone hardware: $105,285.00 to install. Recurring costs yearly is $13,210.00 discount for Presidio County since PCAD is already implemented. Yearly maintenance $12,000. Initial install : $92,075.00
Financing available through Government Capital corp. software also has geolocation capabilities tracking appraiser activities to help clarify appraisal adjustment data. Brewster County switched to Harris 8 yrs ago, both offices. Vasquez brings up that people in presidio often are driving back and forth trying to figure their appraisals and billing out. This would streamline and make it much easier for those people in particular. White mentions that the current Presidio county appraisal rolls are difficult to read compared to Brewster and Davis counties. Integration of current data possible with this upgrade. Item for presentation only, no action.
11) Perdue regarding status of collections. 46% on 2013 delinquent taxes. Rio grande Mining Co has been paying on debt. Perdue filed a suit to keep them going. Still owe about $600,000. Also trying to keep them out of bankruptcy, develop payment plan. Tax sale in September.
12) Presentation by TAC representative risk management Victor Uvalle. Cyber liability coverage addendum to TAC policy. Regarding hacking, dat breaches. Adding free May 1st. Risk control tool for cyber security. Property coverage - crime insurance. Employee theft coverage.
Break for lunch at 12:06. 30 minutes.
Late to return. I returned at 12:51.
Next item: fees to be reported to comptroller by Sheriff's Office. Citations, summons etc. All increase to $100. Need to be reported to Comptroller.
Unanimous
16) interlocal agreement for E-911 services. Motion by White. Unanimous
17) Department Heads' Reports:
A) internal auditor. Already reported earlier
B) OMB report- Katie Sanchez. Invoices approved $181,000 +. Other items need approval. Homeland Security has suspended grants until audit received and approved. 2015 SHSP grant has been approved. Audit late so grant funding is held up. Could face suspension of active grants.
C) county clerk report. Collections reports for county and district. Judge asks for more simplified totals. Using IDocket software, does not break it down. Judge recommends going to Hill Country for clerk's office.
D) facilities Manager - commends the commissioners court for financial improvements since Jan 1. Says it's been easier to manage budgets. Courthouse roof repairs complete. Repaired leaks and installed cap. Worked on 16 rotted windows. More work needs to be done. Dome still leaking, painting, caulking. Grant from Marjo Skiles for benches from Rotary. $4000.00 grant start with 4 benches. Recommending recycled plastic and aluminum benches. Cobos agrees. Rotary symbol on benches. Benches selected by county. Aranda says Cobos and judge pick benches, finish grant project. White agrees. County jail- lots of maintenance. HVAC units - proposal to add another refrigeration unit. Evaporative units currently there near end of lifespan. County needs to choose which way to go. Kitchen maintenance pretty extensive. Supply lines for cell sinks going out. Proposes replacing all at once to avoid emergencies. Columns in front of building need paint. Parapet in front cracked. Water leaking into walls. Need to fix, funded before but not done. Roof repairs not done correctly in past. Looks like major expense. Requesting a full time person to be jail maintenance man. $30,000 budgeted. Most spent. White tells Cobos this is his job, in job description, and is his job to manage timelines and budgets for repairs of deteriorated facilities. Vasquez says Cobos is spending too much time at jail because of this, other places in the county need work. Judge asks Gracie if she wishes to have a dedicated maintenance person. She says yes, Judge recommends that be part of presentation in next budget cycle. When jail is fully staffed and not full, jail can mow own lawn. Judge congratulates Sam on ADA compliance in Presidio to avoid fines. Completed. Aranda brings up Redford School. Scraped floor, in good shape Sam says. Says floor ready to be leveled and epoxied. Showers to be repaired. Bids were high. $7000 for each shower. Cobos negotiated own to both for $9500. Building to be used as an emergency shelter.
E) JP 1 report- judge Guevara asks about $20 dismissal fees. May be illegal. Beebe will check with TjCTC. Vasquez asks about inspection sticker violation confusion. I stated that I hadn't seen a ticket for inspection violation since new rules went into effect March 1st
F) emergency management report: Mitchske brings DVD to load presentation. County is approved up to intermediate level on Emergency Management Plan. Level refers to things like radiation, chemical, etc. further than just basic level. Sensitive information, not for the public. Advanced level has a few more annexes. Shooting for that level eventually, working towards it. Commissioners need to take classes. Aranda is next in line following Guevara as EM Coordinator. Judge brings up at this training is required and needs to happen. JP needs training. Sheriff needs all levels of training. Can be done online.
G) Treasurer's Report. Commissioners Court wants to know how much money the county has; are we going to make it through FY 2015? Frances and Katie don't have answer. Gracie says there are 2 large checks coming from Marshal's service. Requesting something for next meeting. Commissioners don't want to be surprised right as new budget is crafted.
Treasurer relays that inventory lists from each dept are all in, except for Sheriff's Office. Trailer missing, Sheriff does not know where trailer is. 1996 Big Tex utility trailer. White says deputy should look for it. Sheriff said maybe he had sold it years back. Should have been a request to surplus it and sell it. Regardless, trailer is county property and is missing.
Line item transfers - none
Bills and expenses-
Rental from True Value- roto rooter for jail. Jail has 50 foot one, needed 100 foot.
Approved
Minutes from last meeting- approved.
Adjourn at 2:18 PM

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Here's a good overview of the procedure for Texas Nat Gas pipeline construction.

It's from the City of Fort Worth, and dated 2008, but from what I can tell everything in this overview still applies. Powerpoint document.

http://fortworthtexas.gov/uploadedFiles/Gas_Wells/Regulation%20of%20Natural%20Gas%20Pipelines%20ppt%206%2023%2008.pdf#page=1&zoom=auto,-9,-197


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Back on it. And plan to post Presidio County related news regularly

I attended the Trans-Pecos pipeline forum in Presidio last night. Of about 50 attendees it seemed like a fairly split group, with the opponents outnumbering the non-opponents among speakers. I am of the opinion that as this has gone on, the crowds have dwindled somewhat because those who don't educate themselves, regardless of whether for or against, have gotten fatigued.
What this means is that the speakers in general are far more interesting and the questions have gotten much more detailed. The answers have been more informative, and for me, quite interesting in the WAY certain questioned are answered and/or addressed.
Not too much new was learned by me on this project, other than specifics regarding engineering and specs that most people would be incredibly bored by (I really like that stuff). One interesting matter is the way they'll be pulling the pipe beneath the Rio Grande. 70 feet below ground, as one 1000 foot plus segment. Lots of engineering logistics there, as well as hydrology and testing...
I asked about the process of eminent domain hearings out here if in case it gets to that point. It turns out that Judge Ferguson would be the presiding judge over those hearings and that he would appoint a committee to serve on an advisory panel. There's more to it, and a ruling in District Court could be appealed to the State Court of Appeals, but it was interesting to learn this.
Good points were made on both sides of the controversy regarding the construction, which is why I find that attending the meetings in Presidio County is more interesting to me than what I read about the ones in Alpine. Alpine has divergent issues with this project, and no real upside to their city, so I understand. Also, they have no proximity to Mexico and are not culturally (and familiarly) linked to Ojinaga and the greater State of Chihuahua.
Also clarified at this meeting was that it was the final public forum regarding the pipeline by Energy Transfer Partners until they conduct job fairs for employment on construction (likely a Pumpco event). Judge Guevara had requested a Marfa meeting, which has been apparently denied.
#Marfa #PresidioCounty #Trans-PecosPipeline #EnergyTransferPartners

Monday, July 06, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court notes 6/30/2015

These notes are unedited, and are usually incomplete as I don't regurgitate my own comments when I make them during the meetings. Also, these notes may allude to opinions that are mine alone.

P.C.C.C. 06/30/2015
Marfa.
Commissioners present: White, Aranda, Judge Guevara.
Absent: Vasquez, Hernandez. Vasquez on his way re Judge G
Public Comment:
Katie Smither: agenda items 17 & 18. 215 residents members of BBcA requesting FERC note.
General statement on pipeline.
Caitlyn Murray: Judd Foundation rep speaking for Judd Foundation which opposes the pipeline. Asking for FERC motion.
Nick Terry: impacts of pipeline, wants FERC resolution. Stresses to court that it does not necessarily make for an opposition to pipeline.
Susan Sutton: Ballroom Marfa chair. Ballroom opposes pipeline. Would like FERC resolution.
Travis Lutz, BBCA member, landowner in Presidio County. Wants FERC revolution. Safety issue.
Jessica Lutz, pipeline opponent. Wants FERC environmental impact study. Study could help make for a re-route if necessary. Uniquely intact bio region; has not been surveyed for environmental impacts.
Lujan: would like a FERC resolution. Concern: safety. Implores leaders, invokes lack of Emergency Management resources.
County Judge's Report:
jail Report, inmate count report of 75; 70 adult males, 5 adult females.
Porters donation: all have been distributed except for one person, who came to get it (?). Reflect for record.
TXDOT meeting in Austin with Dunlap re airport funding went well.
Commissioners Comments: none
5) Executive Session regarding audit report involving a personnel matter.
Commissioners Court moves to jury room for session at 9:41 AM
Loretta Vasquez joins meeting at reconvene at 10:41 AM
6) Approve and accept 6 county vehicles and 6 grant funded vehicles as surplus to county. tabled.
7) pipeline services surveying item. Survey permission to company, contractors, and employees to survey. Grantee will pay for damages to property. County will indemnify company from lawsuits. Folkies says motion is vague and incomplete with regard to survey referenced, which is apparently county property. Description not specific enough. Improper legal description. Aranda makes motion to table. Request more information. Approved.
8) reimbursement of $4000 to county juvenile probation dept. Terry Castellano, chief juvenile probation officer. Dina laSoya in attendance as well.
Last year's budget miscalculated by $48,000. They don't have enough money to get through FY 2015. Have cut $18,000 from local budget to knock off of $48,000 deficit. 24,000 deficit for FY 2015. Approximately $10,625 more savings needs to break even. Requesting $4000 to use if needed. $4000 also from Brewster Co, $2000 from Davis Co. judge Guevara makes motion to fund. White seconds. Unanimous.
9) reimbursement to Thomas Rawls for tire damage, Casa Piedra road. Cattleguard. 8.3 miles from RR 169. $318.14. Unanimous in favor.
10) waive golf course fees for Shorthorn boosters. Unanimous
11) Texas CDBG grant submitted by Jerry Carvajal. Colonia Fund project for Candelaria and Other area. low income survey not yet completed but certainly qualify. Pueblo Negro (Nuevo?) 17 homes filled out. Goal of 35. Budget of approx $250,000 including grant admin and engineering. Archeological studies may be paid by state Historical Comm. Texas Agriculture Commission. Candelaria project $272,050 to improve city water system. System is worn out, completed in 1992. Replacement of 2 wells. Replace controls, electric. Tank ladder, pipe, additional parts.
Not everyone in Pueblo Negro is on city sewer system. Some people do not want to tie into sewer line. How can county help convince them asks Eloy. City of Presidio could mandate tying into system. Eloy would like to let people decide. Once Pueblo Negro is annexed the people won't have a choice as per city of Presidio. Ruben is finishing survey of Candelaria people. Says approx 80% complete. White motions to approve. Unanimous
12) approve interlocal agreement referencing above. Unanimous
13) resolution submitted by Jerry Carvajal regarding CDBG grant. Candelaria WSC project. Unanimous
14) approve relocation of VSO to USO Building. Harlan Hardy approached regarding sharing office with extension agent. Private veteran issues are discussed. Another office in courthouse? Auditor room. Judge Ferguson said no, still waiting on auditor. Guevara asked Mayor or Marfa about extra office in USO. County will pay phone line. Has money in his own budget to do this. White motions for relocation. Unanimous.
15) roofing contract for courthouse. Window repair as well. Sam Cobos presents. 3 bids. Cobos recommends Amherst roofing. More complete diagnostics. More repairs for less cost. Water flow to drains, away from building. Repairing obvious 3 leaks and patching others. Windowsill leaks coming down inside walls. 2year warranty. Take care of most roof issues. White motions for support of Cobos recommendation. Unanimous
16) presidential permit manager Jake Giesbrecht. Hours, etc. define days, payment, etc. currently limited to 8 days per month as per prior resolution. Currently paid $250/day.
Jake has issue with minutes from that meeting. Minutes were slow to come. Possible discrepancies. Commissioners met in executive session to set hours, pay.
Jake says discussion was AT LEAST 8 days so he could be considered full time and be able to be reimbursed for expenses. White recalls and issue. Auditor is bringing up reimbursements as an issue. Requesting to be employed full time so that everything works out properly for him. Benefits question introduced by treasurer. Full time employee must get benefits even though he doesn't need them. Full time contractor could refuse them, but a full time employee is required by the permit guidelines. Vote taken, thought it was unanimous but apparently did not take effect. Wait until after break to hear about wording of PPG...
10 minute break at 11:40 AM
12:05 PM- revisiting item 16- Jake. Clarification on 16. White clarifies that Jake is a Presidio County employee and is project manage for Presidential Permit project. TXDOT clarification needed. Possible tabling of item by Jim and Loretto. Jim making amended motion to reflect that he is an employee and that benefits package will be looked into with regard to whether they are required as a full time employee. Unanimous.
17) FERC resolution for pipeline. Coyne Gibson speaks. Engineer with McDonald Observatory. Filing deadline is today at 4 PM. Comment deadline is a bit later.
Electronic motion is filed with clerk for potential action on part of county today.
County motion to intervene gives county permission to be a part of the Presidential work scoping process. Non-political permission; Gibson advocates for participation along public safety concerns on behalf of residents.
Motion suggest that FERC consider the whole of the project, instead of the 2 separate parts as claimed by ETP.
Comment period- county comments likely carry some weight. Generally would request environmental compliance for the whole project, not just over the river.
2 item to consider- Motion and Comment. North impactful, motion more powerful. Both can be done. Comment can be issued later but may be less impactful after deadline.
Several motions being filed. Brewster County filed comment resolution but not motion. Filed comment. BBCA filed motion. Coyness Gibson filed individual motion of his own.
Motion to intervene is highly impactful and allows county to participate directly, including court proceedings. No further action required but can be taken in this instance. Fowlkes asks for clarification that a motion infers that county may/will enter the legal process. Gibson says does not require, but BBCA will.
Fowlkes says that motion to intervene may not require legal participation/challenge to process, but infers it and legal expense may be necessary. Asks commissioners if they want FERC to oversee, and are they willing to take the legal steps to clarify this?
Motion to intervene is a court process motion, may require outside counsel, agreed by Gibson. Fowlkes says there is likely an option to withdraw if court appearance/legal aid is required. Guevara says no action needed today. Gibson disagrees, says it will be better to take action today and withdraw later. Can still file comment, no motion, with no further consequences.
Item 18 would be comment/resolution.
Loretto motions to table. (Essentially killing the motion)
Aranda seconds
Cory Van Dyke speaks regarding protection of resources and elected officials.
Brings up " wasteland" designation.
Guevara says she would like to file a motion to intervene based on safety.
Comments from Rosario Halpern and Beebe regarding motion and timeliness.
Fowlkes says comment is harmless, motion can be withdrawn or submitted late.
He also says deadline was presented late; Loretto speaks on withdrawing motion to table.
Brad Newton speaks regarding ETP meetings in Presidio and Alpine.
Vasquez makes motion to reserve option to participate in Trans Pecos pipeline project by filing a motion to intervene.
Unanimous.
Applause
18) resolution regarding pipeline ( comment) . Resolution basically states that that the pipeline should be in interstate pipeline regulated by FERC and held to earl standards. Same resolution that was passed by Brewster County.
Fowlkes says he has no problem with wording.
Vasquez makes motion. Unanimous.
Applause
19) administrative session. Five minute break at 12:50
Reconvene at 1:01 PM
JP 2 report- Judge Bishop in Lubbock. Report faxed in
Totals: 9,570.40
Retained : 6000.00 +\-
Disbursed :3,500 +\-
Capital Projects: Ruben Carrasco- accepted
Airports activity report: TXDOT meeting- funding schemes. Revised federal grant rules. TXDOT offered $150,000 per year provided an approved project is underway. 90/10 match. Spend $500,000 this year on runway and taxiway repairs.
Fiscal year 18/19 project complete. Funding with guaranteed backing by TXDOT (bonds)
Sign the airport project participation agreement to go forward.
Motion to sign by White.
Unanimous
Tax Assessor report:
Norma collected 53,282 in May
Consistent with years past.
Collection rate is approx 90% by the end of June
Accepted
Presidential permit report (PIPA meeting later today)
Jake says 1st international logistics meeting occurred. Focus on tourism.
Want to get train going up to Ojinaga again.
Mayor of Odessa present. TXDOT says financial plan options are OK, would rather pay for bridge entirely and no toll. Questions regarding CBP and Ag inspectors etc. TXDOT says cost of collecting the tolls not really worth it. Current projected rate puts costs at around 40%. CBI funding available. Presidio County area has not had a structure in the past to get funding it deserves out of Feds. Now it exists with PIPA formation so now we can ask for money.
Current bridge is scheduled for renovation in 2017.
If TXDOT still owns the bridge then they pay for the upcoming renovation.
PIPA meeting today later. Report accepted.
Line item transfers:
Facilities manager- shortages in budget. Moving money from labor to utilities.
Approved
No further discussion. Approved
County bills and expenses:
TAC insurance Is paid quarterly.
Are purchase requisitions being used by everyone? Eloy asks, Katie answers Yes.
Approved
Adjourn 1:32PM