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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court regular meeting Tuesday Sept 8th 2015, 9AM, Marfa

Presidio County Commissioners Court 9AM Marfa, 9-8-2015
I missed the first hour of this meeting since I had written down that it would start at ten AM. The only things of note that occurred, to my understanding, is that Judge Guevara moved to have only one Commissioners Court meeting per month with regard to agenda item number 7. Item essay tabled by court.
Beebe entered at Ten AM in time for agenda item number ten.
10) Presidio County Appraisal District budget presentation. 11.4% overall increase. staff raises. software purchase (required by State). Commissioners ask a few questions, Aranda motions to approve, seconded, Judge Guevara asks for more discussion. Increased costs to Presidio County, how are they calculated, based on last year's numbers. Approved unanimously
5 minute break at 10:05
Forward to item 15- resolution to recall Presidio County Appraisal District board of directors. Same resolution as before, but with advice from legal counsel this time. Motion had been made to recall P Hunt and replace with Judge Guevara. Correct paperwork this time. Looking to approve revised paperwork, same as before expat done in 2 agenda items. Aranda makes motion, seconded by Vasquez. Unanimous
Item 16: related to 15, replacement director, Guevara nominated by White. Seconded by Vasquez. Unanimous
Item 11- courthouse security and bailiff department office creation.
Judge Guevara talks about allocated funds for this dept, over $100,000 set aside for security. It is legal for the courthouse to have its own security and bailiff. Relays stories about having been threatened when she was JP. Talks about dangers, no panic buttons, no DPS within courthouse. White mentions he has spoken to dept heads, they want security. Aranda says that security should be provided, but that the funds have built up over years, will be depleted rapidly, what do we do then after 2 years and it's gone? White suggests we try it for more than 1 year. Hernandez says that once you establish a position it's hard to get rid of it. How do we fund long term? Wants more information on how funds were collected, how long did it take? White brings up that there are a lot of holes in budget, unanswered questions in general re funding. Suggest to fund for a year, automatically unfunded next year if not approved. Hernandez says he has no problem with the concept, just the funding. Guevara says that when there are interviews it can be made clear that it could be temporary. Hernandez wants clarification on real costs. Aranda brings up constables taking over the job. Could it be added to their duties? Judge says that money can't be used for raise for constable, would have to be for courthouse security only. Local govt code mandates how money can be spent, person must be under courthouse security. Constable money would have to come from general fund. Judge still pushing for trial basis with this program. Aranda wants to look into adding additional official duties to constable position. Judge still pushing for contracting with someone on a yearly basis. Hernandez asks of we could use constables to contract? Yes, says judge. Judge brings up open carry coming up in Jan. Hernandez asks about school district security. Advocates for hiring constables to do security. Issue is still about how long it took to accumulate money, how do we not run out of money after two years? Judge says that there had been over $4000 in one month as one point. Katie Sanchez says she recollects that about $5000 has been collected this year. Hernandez asks Steve Marquez to answer courthouse questions. Steve says that JP courts and serving warrants, papers, etc are his primary duty. Hernandez wants to know if Steve cod take job of no guarantee for next year's duties. Steve says he has a family, needs predictable income. Hernandez clarifies that that is his concern here. Aranda asks about JP court.
For other courts Sheriffs office provides officers. Judge says that sheriffs staff is sometimes short staffed, deputies sometimes show up late, commissioners Court needs security as well. Steve clarifies that he has to be a deputy right now to survive. Constables office provides insurance, that would be a savings to county if new office was funded. Vasquez says that courthouse so vulnerable, especially with open carry coming. Would be better to have Steve here for basically full time security. White brings up opening the dome since there could be security here. Could be a benefit to the county if there was security and dome could be less of a liability. Discussion regarding either hiring a new officer or using constables. Vasquez says he is in support of permanent funding for cathouse security beyond current funding reserves. White says constables are woefully underpaid. Guevara brings up security for tax office cash deposits. Hernandez says if we want to do it we need to plan on funding it permanently. Vasquez and White agree. Aranda asks about Coker in So County. Judge says Coker only has JP Court, could possible fill in in N County for some courts would be OK. Could provide general security for Courthouse Annex in Presidio. No full time bailiff needed in Presidio, but additional security needed. Vasquez says that schedules could be coordinated, in support of opening cathouse dome. White says he would only be in flavor of opening dome if there is supervision, supports the concept of opening. Hernandez asks about providing a vehicle. S County constable has a county vehicle, Steve does not. Steve could be issued a vehicle for this job. Hernandez thanks Steve for his time and answers to questions. Aranda asks about funding differences between constables. N County would be augmented, south city as well but to a lesser extent. Hernandez now says he doesn't see the need for security. Aranda brings up that Sheriff is right across the street. Fowlkes says that he doesn't understand why the Sheriffs office couldn't cover it, especially since they are asking for more monies. Judge Guevrw brings up threats she received, she was very afraid, Sheriff did not help out, would not allocate an officer to help with security. Fowlkes says he still cannot believe that we spent 2 hours listening to the Sheriffs office requesting more funding and that they cannot cover a building directly across the street. White says he is in support of funding courthouse security, open dome, fund it after current funds have been depleted. Gary Mitschke says that a few years back during a homeland security workshop courthouses are considered soft targets, critical infrastructure. Jeff Davis county tried to address situation with cameras, got into trouble with historical commission. Aranda asks for more time. Judge grants 6 minute break at 10:54 AM.
Reconvene at 11:05 AM
Further comments... None. White motions to create the office, Vasquez seconds, motion carries with Hernandez opposed.
Skip to item 18, Marisa Quintanilla from El Paso and 2 other assistants here to present re Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan.
They have out together an update to the regional plan. Submitted to state and then to FEMA. FEMA reviews and revises, goes back around and then grants may be administered. April of 2015 submitted to state. Suggested mitigation actions are made within the plan. One of the things is if a disaster in Presidio County occurs that is a Presidential disaster, FEMA funds would be available. Rock House fire was an example for Jeff Davis County.
5 year plan if adopted. Aranda moves to adopt. Seconded by White. Discussion about pervious plan which did not cover the 2008 Redford flood. Not a Presidential emergency; state emergency. Hernandez says he is concerned about Cibolo Creek flooding possibility. Who is responsible? Quintanilla says that plan can be amended once approved. 25% in kind or cash match required for grant. Will shoot for an extension to plan submission to add Cibolo Creek. Hernandez concerned about creek from bridge to the river; sand, silt, vegetation congesting flow. Quintanilla says that El Paso county uses road and bridge dept once grants come in to clean out drainage channels. Aranda says that we have been getting some funding through TDA in the past to do some work. White says that if the Cibolo levee fails below the bridge the disaster will be worse than any river disaster. Quintanilla brings up climate change, the need for good documentation, financial records when applying for grant funds. Hernandez brings up that if levee fails, first thing to go is border patrol housing; possible federal funding or focus since they are all federal employees? Quintanilla says possible. Aranda says commissioners need to reach out on this to Ruben Carrasco to coordinate some with road and bridge/capital projects departments. Quintanilla thanks the Presidio County road and bridge dept for help in installing dispatch system; facilities manager, Gary Mitschke. Mayor Dunlap wanted old system, they moved it to old police dept next to city hall.
Unanimous.
12) Action to approve 2016 RAMP grants for Marfa airport with TXDOT. Chase presents. 50% of available projects or $50,000, whichever is less. Obligations include agreeing to keep airport open for 20 years, no "exclusive rights" to airport, several others. Hernandez moves to approve for both airports. Single agenda item clarified. Hernandez makes motion. Unanimous
13) RAMP for Presidio airport. Hernandez moves, unanimous.
14) Amended order for establishing compensation for County Auditor position as ordered by Judge Ferguson. County auditor can, by statute, be paid up to the rate that guest paid county official is making. State just allocated an extra $10,000 to county judge salaries to augment pay for judicial county court work, bringing Judge's salary to just over $62,000. New salary for auditor will be same a last year, grand total for office around $120,000 including assistants. Approved unanimously.
Judge Guevara says there are still apparently 2 candidates in the running. Judge Ferguson will appoint at some point.
17) Stonegarden grants. White suggests we go forward with Stonegarden. What's to be clear there will not be any sub-grantees. In other words, do not have an agreement with PISD police. Grants are needed by county, need to be administered carefully, with little room for error. Makes motion to pursue Stonegarden. Vasquez asks about grant administrator. White says we need to advertise for positions, need to have one, get our ducks in a row on that. OMB is an option, but we need to begin thinking about it. Katie says she is fine with it, we are currently under suspension. Hernandez says his concern is how much money we are willing to spend on an administrator, how much do we need in general? Roger Carlyle says he would charge county $5000 a month, only $1000 covered by grant. That does not include travel. Katie says that that reimbursement figure can change, must be asked for, different grants are written differently. Hernandez says that if a county employee works on grant, they can charge the grant for overtime to administer grant. Katie says that depends on a few things. Hernandez says again that we need to decide on numbers, make a plan, it's time sensitive, we need to go forward and make it happen with a plan. Katie says that we are currently under suspension, unknown when the audit will be complete and we can be removed from suspension.
OMB is correcting audit problems, may not need a grant administrator once problems are corrected. Katie is already the administrator for the Emergency management grants SHSP. White makes motion to pursue Stonegarden grants with no sub-grantees. Katie says that COG and DHS also help with grants at no charge to county. Unanimous.
Administrative session
Patty Roach- auditor. Update on audit findings. Off balance sheet accounts have been reconciled through Aug 31st from jail, etc, going well. Work continues on other non treasurer managed funds. Sales tax payments from jail have been cleared up. No progress yet on 7-2014 findings. Inter fund transfers still being worked on. Asset reconciliation still in progress. Bank accounts reconciled through July, mist through August. Grant fund reconciliation being worked on. Month end procedure for future Single Audit established.
Revenue budget for 2016 been worked on, partially clarified.
Judge asks about dormant bank accounts. Patty says there are several off balance sheet accounts still open. Trying to figure out what exactly the county is able to do with these funds. Patty says that a lot of these funds may have to go to the State, possibly most everything above $100 unless really old. Accepted unanimous.
Treasurer's Report: Cheryl presents. Basic dollars in and out presented. Accepted unanimously.
Office of Management and Budget: Katie
All but three bank statements for August reconciled. General numbers discussed. Not the same as treasurers since treasurer goes by month, OMB goes from commissioners court meeting to commissioners court meeting. Hernandez asks of this is the way to do this. Katie says that this is the way it's been done and that maybe at some point it can change. Katie went this route because all bills have to be approved by commissioners court, mor accurate.
District Clerk: Virgie asks to table, approved
Facilities manager: Sam Cobos
Aranda asks about solar panels on top of jail- are they working? Cobos says that when power was restored to jail they were disconnected and locked for unknown reasons. Hernandez asks if someone can fix them, Cobos will do some research. White says he can help find a solar electrician. Judge asks if we are going to have to outsource the repairs to the parapet at the jail. Cobos says that a good coping contractor will need to be hired, fairly specialized work. Hail damage to parapet, insurance money collected, never repaired. Also, walls of jail come together every 20 feet for an expansion joint. Some above parapet are open more than an inch and water is getting into walls.
Unanimously approved
JP 1 report: discussion on autopsy authority, expense. Money totals for month, disconnecting extra phone line, truancy expungements as per new State law. Approved
Emergency management: Gary. Not much to report. Hernandez asks about Gary being able to help with Stonegarden. Gary says he will do what he can, recommends RGCOG for help as they have free service and are really knowledgable. Report approved
Jail Report: Gracie. 54 marshals, 2 Davis County, 4 locals, total of 60 inmates. Judge asks about names of locals so we can possible keep them in for less time, stay on top of it. Unanimously accepted. Hernandez asks about solar panels. Said she will have to talk to Judge Hunt, panels were installed when jail was closed.
Line item transfers: parks transfers, etc. basic transfers for accounting housekeeping. Approved.
County bills and expenses: Hernandez asks if all the utility bills are included. Cheryl says some of them are in packet, not every one. How many meters are in North Parks? Cobos says consolidating meters will cost county, all are currently being used. Many meters out there. Looking into certain facilities where meter is still there but lights may no longer be used or working, particularly at roping arena.
White makes motion to approve: unanimous.
Minutes from previous meetings:
White brings up that commissioners have not revisited county employee eye care addendum to health insurance. Will place on next agenda. White makes motion to accept three sets of minutes from previous meetings. Unanimous.
Adjourn at 12:44 PM

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