Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting 11/10/2015 Agenda and notes from meeting


This was a frustrating meeting for me. Several agenda items were deemed timely and, frankly, the same items have been on other agendas in slightly different working and if decisions are made, working is vague. I feel like because of the Sheriff's lack of willingness to participate in the process of working with anyone not working under him in his office, the recent meetings have been marginally productive. Anyway, the following notes are merely notes and not opinions. Opinions above and beyond this paragraph will come in a different post. Thanks for reading. Presidio County Commissioners Court 11/10/2015 9AM, regular meeting, Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa. Convene meeting at 9:10 AM, everyone present including County Atty. Item 6 first- Approval of advisory board for Marfa Golf Course. David Walker Doug Cook Mario Ontiveros Manny Baeza Eddie Pallarez Approved unanimously, sworn in. Eddie thanks John Fowlkes for help in bylaws and organization. David Walker once managed a golf course in Harper, TX. Has also helped build 4 golf courses, including 2 of the top 10 in TX. Doug Cook is superintendent of Valentine schools, interested in promoting to students. Mario Ontiveros works at golf course as a Presidio County employee. Aranda asks if someone has spoken to the golf group interested in taking over the golf course about a potential course for Presidio. Eddie P says no conversations have taken place on that yet. Aranda asks for help in getting more Presidio folks involved. Hernandez asks if he needs to become a member to be in the golf association. Eddie answers yes. Twice a month playing golf saves money in greens fees if you are a member. $53.13 for single membership, days greens fees is $34. Hernandez offers to help with recruiting. Carpooling is an option, getting people in the habit of using the golf course. Item 4: public comments: Marjo Skiles, idea re: Marfa Rotary Club grant for benches around the courthouse. Finally grant has been approved. Marfa Rotary Club and Rotary district will place 6 benches around courthouse. Placement of benches worked out with Sam Cobos. Benches will say donated by Marfa Rotary. Marfa Rotary will be pursuing more grants in the future. Commissioner White says thanks for the hard work. Mrs. Eva Gonzales asking for help with maintaining and grading the road to her property in East Heights lots 1 and 7, Block R. (Avenue A and Texas- potential problem with right of way ownership) Item 5- announcements from judge and commissioners. Judge: informing commissioners regarding documentation for TAC grant finished and grants should be forthcoming. Had a telephone conference with a firm for making mass notifications during emergencies. 3,600 dollars plus or minus to implement. Not in the budget but it would be a great service. Firm is called Asher Group. Hernandez wants to know how the warnings would go out. Sheriff's Office would be in charge. Texas Dept of Agriculture wants us to find a Candelaria water system manager. Asks commissioners to help find someone. This is an urgent need. Aranda says we can contract with City of Presidio. Hernandez asks about budget. Possible collaboration with Ruidosa water group... Texas Dept of Public Safety sent letter that we are suspended from Homeland Security until our corrective action plan for our audit is implemented. All grants suspended and although we are in compliance we are not lifted from suspension. December is earliest until grants could be reimplemented. Judge needs to do more research on this, working this out. "Harvester" grant program at issue. Katie S says they were contacting us to ask us on our own status as to what we are planning on doing. Treasurer attended Jeff Davis commissioners court to hear a presentation from Big Bend Telephone. Possible switch from very expensive AT&T after a quote. Hernandez and Guevara went to seminar on commercial vehicles, inspections on new bridges yesterday. Informational. Railroad was also discussed. Hernandez says it was good, and good news in general. Information about how much business has been lost to delays at the port and also lack of railroad. Nov 19th 6 PM EMS district meeting in Marfa. Judge asked to have it in Presidio and initially it was approved by state rep's office, but moved to Marfa for travel purposes for people in Austin. Judge thanks commissioner Vasquez for his $500 donation for a new Christmas tree for courthouse to replace 12 year old tree with missing limbs. Asks commissioners for more donations towards courthouse open house celebration for Christmas. Hernandez says all County officials should donate. Judge agrees. Item 7: Executive Session regarding County Treasurer duties and responsibilities. Executive session at 9:47. Reconvene into regular session at 10:35AM Item 8- tabled county treasurer duty item. Item 9- Community Development Block Grant- Jerry Carvajal from Grantworks presents. Improvements to Redford water system. Approved in Oct. 2 year period. Completion schedule includes that county must begin contracted construction within one year. White makes motion to approve contract for grant. Citizen (?) Carrasco asks commissioners to consider section regarding road improvements and subbing it out for chlorination safety measures. Looked at Marfa water system in comparison to Redford system. Says Marfa system has safety measures in place. Jerry says grant can be modified to change that. Can be amended to have the $13,000 for road back into water project as long as county grades road one time. Aranda says he would prefer. White wants to amend motion to reflect this. Jerry says amending not necessary. Ok, everyone says. Mr Carrasco satisfied with answer. Patty Roach says that she would like to point out that the bidding process has to go through OMB and budget page must be added to overall budget. Vote unanimous. Item 10- discussion with action to approve interlocal between Lubbock county and Presidio County for public defender services. Presented by rep Elaine Bauer(?) from Lubbock public defenders office. Explains that TX leg amended extra money for death penalty eligible cases for defense. County still responsible for expert fees, some other fees. John Fowlkes says this is a no-brainer. We need to enter into it. Hernandez moves to approve, second by White. Unanimous. Item 11- discussion only to revise Co Treasurers asset inventory list. Frances Garcia at podium. Judge wants to know what vehicles we have and where they are. Frances says there are three vehicles that have Presidio County titles but vehicles are in other people's hands. Presidio people. Names on sheet. Sheriff says he does not know where these vehicles are or how they got into these people's hands. Vehicles have been re-titled to other people. White says there should be a record of who signed the titles over to other people. Frances says she has the original titles but tax office reflects other owners. Sheriff should know through auctions. PISD has two vehicles that the Sheriff signed the titles over to. Fowlkes says the Sheriff does not have authority to sign over titles, apparent authority versus actual authority. Says it's civilly wrong but not necessarily criminally. White asks if this should or can be corrected. Fowlkes says it's up to commissioners court. Frances ya she does not know if these vehicles were purchased through Stonegarden. 2001, 2006 vehicles. PISD vehicles are likely Stonegarden. Fowlkes says inventory transfers must be made by commissioners court. Says Sheriff could go get them if he wants to but otherwise someone else should go get them. Says easiest way to do it is to ask for return of vehicles. Vasquez says that they should get Joel Nunez to ask for vehicles back. Fowlkes says it doesn't matter if vehicles were titled to Sheriff's Office or County as commissioners court is the custodian of all county assets. Hernandez asks about City of Presidio's trucks from Sheriff and Judge Hunt made the decision to loan it to them. Frances says a 2012 Chevy Tahoe was donated by Judge Hunt to the Presidio Police Dept. Hernandez says that vehicle was never in physical possession of the vehicle. Asking if that makes a difference. Fowlkes reiterates that despite any title differences, the only custodian of county properly is commissioners court. 2012 Tahoe was titled to County. There are 2 additional vehicles that are loaned to the City of Presidio police department. Titled to Presidio County with no permission from commissioners court. Road and Bridge equipment list has been confirmed to be accurate. 1999 GMC Yukon also in question. Unsure if it still exists, could be at fire station as per Gary Mitschke by permission of commissioners court. Still being used. Judge confirms this is discussion only, no action permitted. Next agenda may deal with this. Item 12- potential reassignment of vehicles. Judge says that we have to determine inventory first, then determine if we have any vehicles for other departments. White mentions the vehicle not bought with Stonegarden funds that the Sheriff's office bought last year out of jail reserves. That is not necessarily a law enforcement vehicle. Questions about Stonegarden participation in the future and possibility of Sheriff not cooperating and having Homeland Security repossess the vehicles. Sheriff wrote a letter requesting to Homeland Security not to participate but wrote a letter to commissioners saying he does want to participate. Judge says she has explained to the Sheriff that the county wants him to participate on the law enforcement side but not on the paperwork side. Has submitted many contacts and documents to facilitate this. Aranda recommends that constables participate if Sheriff will not. Judge says that constables force is too small. Hernandez says that in Sheriff's email to him he is willing to participate on the law enforcement side. White asks Hernandez to go get Sheriff to come to this meeting (nobody from Sheriff's office is here today) and confirm one way or another. Hernandez balks. Says he has had a conversation with Sheriff and he wants to participate. Vasquez says we need to put it on the agenda for next time. Katie and Judge say that time is running out, no time left until next time. White says the grants lay the rules out for administering Stonegarden and Sheriff is not in charge of making them. Hernandez wants to know what commissioners need from Sheriff. Judge and Katie says Sheriff himself must contact Homeland Security and say he is willing to participate and also name any friendly forces. Judge says she and Sheriff are not agreeing on how to participate. At issue is loss of pre-allocated funds that must be spent by Feb 2016. Homeland Security wants to know by Monday if we are on board. Aranda says the issue has been communication between Sheriff's office and OMB but by hiring someone else there should be no problems. White talks about involving Parks and Wildlife and said that Sheriff had called them and asked them not to step on his toes as chief law enforcement so they refused. Katie says game wardens were happy to help but Sheriff said no and now we may lose $300,000 of extra revenue already allocated. Hernandez asks again what does the Sheriff need to do. Hernandez refuses to believe the Sheriff will not participate and continues asking the same questions. Judge gives him more information. Hernandez questions timing of emails, etc. Vasquez says he should be here today, we should call him right now. Commissioners vote to table until later on in the meeting to see if they can get Sheriff to come to the meeting to give information. Aranda asks questions about vehicles and which are Stonegarden. White says we need to get there. Items 12 and 13 left open until later Item 14- State Homeland Security grant program reimbursements for dispatch console. Just over $54,964.00 spent on dispatch board. White asks about suspension and Gary Mitschke says we can't access the money until we're off suspension but we can request it. Says this is the final step in integrating dispatch countywide. Aranda makes motion to approve. Katie says we also need to approve making a budget page for this. Restated motion, approved unanimously. Item 15- Marfa Airport hangar lease between county and Steve Parker. Chase Snodgrass, airports manager, presents. TXDOT has a model hangar contract. Used it, made a few small modifications. Parker wanted to park other vehicles besides aircraft in hangar, not permitted by TXDOT. $1000/month lease. Existing leases are for private hangars and are land leases at 6 cents per sq ft. This is for a county owned hangar. Land leases can be raised each year by CPI. Would amount to a few hundred dollars per year in increased revenue. Our county's lease rate is very low, but contributed to people locating their hangars here with long term leases. Aranda asking about leases in general. Most land leases are 20 year leases, very poor record keeping in the past. Eventually county will need to deal with this and review current leases re dates and amounts and made changes if need be. Hernandez asks who is keeping track of lease payments. Currently nobody, most leaseholders come in and pay their own. Nobody really keeping track, but the work involved is difficult and the money amounts are not substantial. Commissioners had been unaware, now realize that something ought to be done. Judge says that between Chase, OMB, treasurer and auditor it can be worked out. White makes motion to approve contract. Judge has question about contract. Question regarding rate. Approved at $1000/ month. Item 12- Sheriff is on standby available to be called to talk on speakerphone, ready to answer questions. Jim has number, Sheriff would not give it to Crystal. Number not going through at first. Sheriff answers. Judge asks him to come, he says it's an inconvenient time. Hernandez asks Sheriff if he is willing to work the law enforcement side of Stonegarden grants. Sheriff says he is willing to work the law enforcement side with only Sheriff's Office. As long as they do it his way. Does not want to work with OMB. Says he will work with someone outside to do the paperwork but he has to run it himself. White asks him if he wants to do what's right for Presidio County he should work with commissioners court. Sheriff says he is willing to but only on his terms. Sheriff says that he is willing to wait on a decision from commissioners court a to whom they could hire to work with him on paperwork outside of County government. Judge says we are running out of time, asks Sheriff to call Homeland Security agents to confirm his intentions to work with them to complete granted funds for grant reimbursements already approved. Sheriff agrees to meet with Judge tomorrow afternoon and says he can make calls. Aranda asks about vehicles for road and bridge. Would like to know which vehicles are surplus that can be allocated to road and bridge. Since their vehicles are worn out. Asks for list of potentially available vehicles. Sheriff says he will get back to you on that. White says for the record he this it's wrong for a dept head to tell commissioners court what to do with County grants and county assets. Sheriff says he ha no problem as long as it's something he can approve of and will wait on commissioners court to give him a recommendation on outside people he can work with. Judge says she has already contacted some experts on this, and they are already busy working with other clients; the one who may be available wants $6000 per month to do it. Aranda asks if commissioners court may appoint a grant administrator. Will he be OK with it. Sheriff says yes, as long as it's someone he approves of. Aranda says OK, everything is all right. Katie asks why OMB can't do it, We don't have the budget for it and it is not budgeted. More discussion. Sheriff says goodbye, will talk tomorrow at dedication ceremony for Veterans Memorial at jail. White says we're back where we started. Judge says we can't work on any of the agenda items that have anything to do with county assets without some more information from Sheriff. Hernandez asks Katie (again) about Stonegarden vehicles. Judge says she is working on a disposition policy for assets that will avoid this issue in the future. White says you can read the law and it's his understanding that commissioners court, after two years, can declare the vehicles surplus and reallocate them. Aranda makes a motion to approve county vehicles to be declared surplus and available to county departments and prioritize the reassignment of vehicles to county departments in need. Unanimous. Item 13- transfer 2 vehicles from sheriff's office to road and bridge. Question as to whether to take action. Unknown at this point is which vehicles might be available. Waiting on list promised from Sheriff. Aranda says we should take action and when we get the list to transfer. White says we have a list of vehicles, and they all belong to the County, and we should choose. Some discussion. Motion from Aranda to transfer two sheriff's vehicles to road and bridge dept. unanimous. Item 16- discussion with action to increase jail budget by declaring emergency action to replace jail intercom system as per jail inspection findings. $27,000 cost to replace. Jail budget has it in it for other items but could be transferred from reserves. Patty Roach recommends declaring emergency transfer and fund it our of reserve account by $27,000. Hernandez moves so. Aranda asks about existing budget, roof project. Patty clarifies. Unanimous. Break at 11:52, reconvene at 1:00 PM An aside- around 12:10 PM phone and Internet service went out in Marfa. Still not restored by 1:10 PM at this time of writing. Reconvene into meeting at 1:15 PM Item 17- discussion with action to approve County Treasurer to submit payroll every first and third Friday of the month. Cheryl Calvert explains that insurance companies have us on a 24 pay period schedule. We have been at 26 pay periods. This will even out insurance payments. Nobody has a problem with this. Approved unanimously. Item 18- nominees to submit to Presidio County Appraisal District Board. Two resolutions- one with commissioner Aranda and one with two blanks. Hernandez mentions that their board appointees had been the Judge and Aranda. White makes motion to submit the Judge and Aranda. Unanimous. Item 19- Related item to approve resolution to submit nominees to Board. Approved unanimously. Item 20- Presidio County child welfare board presentation by Ann Dunlap, treasurer for the board. Addressing role of board and relation to the County. References statutes holding county somewhat responsible for monies when CPS has to remove a child from a home. Child Welfare Board handles that rolls of paying for costs between removal from home and placement in foster care. Discusses reasons for child removal, role of CPS. No foster homes in Presidio County, mostly children relocated to El Paso foster care homes. Border counties also deal with children being used in possible smuggling operations in vehicles. Child Welfare Board deals with caring for that child until placement, including clothing. Records of child welfare are confidential except for age, gender and an ID number for privacy purposes. Child Welfare Board provides the bridge between the county and CPS services. All board members are volunteers. Judge Guevara thanks her for her service and presentation. Ann Dunlap brings back up that budgeting for this service is difficult and planning on numbers is nearly impossible as it is responsive in real time. Commissioner Vasquez thanks Ann for coming and their work, would like quarterly updates on situations. Item 21- Satellite phones and their location. Satellite phones are currently missing, need to be returned to Treasurer's office for inventory and possible turn to provider. Frances says Sheriff's office has five on his bill but can only account for two or three. Satellite phones were ordered by Judge Agan in 2006. Contracted with Big Canyon TV and anything we can't account for will cost us $1200. Previous county treasurer had asked everyone to turn theirs in, and some dept heads did but they cannot be located at the current time. Road and bridge has three and sheriff can account for two. Bills show that we have six allotted to road and bridge. Sheriff was allotted five. Gary Mitschke says he remembers about 20 in total. Ruben Carrasco says the ones they have in road and bridge are new and work great. The older ones that were returned to the treasurers office were very heavy and did not work. Frances says we are paying monthly on each one we supposedly have (not a lot of money per month). Frances called Sheriff to find out which phones he is using and got no cooperation. Agreements were signed in 2006, murky details. County wants to cancel contracts but may face substantial fees. White says new phones are so much better, we should turn in all the phones and if we need them to order new ones that are improved. The Sheriff does not want to have his phones replaced, according to Frances. $1200 per phone if we can't produce the phones. Big Canyon says they will waive the fees, possible keep a f for road and bridge and two for Sheriff's. Motion to cancel all phones but the road and bridge and Sheriff's office phones. Unanimous. Item 22- Administrative Session- County Auditor- 2014 audit reports being corrected, inmate trust funds and jail reports received from jail. JP and tax office accounts being reconciled. Sales tax getting straight. Receivables on US Marshals receivables. Purchasing policy still needs to be refined. Inter-fund transfers still need some work. Capital asset procedure being finalized. All bank accounts except for payroll clearing are reconciled through Sept. Grant reimbursements being worked on by OMB. Single audit issue being addressed by new monthly and end of year procedures to make submission to outside auditor timely. Approved. County Treasurer Report- Frances Garcia. Receipts presented. Vasquez asks about payments for Presidio EMS and reports turned in. Discussion about report due dates and whether submissions made in a timely fashion. First payments to be made in January for end of first quarter. Marco Baeza from City of Presidio wants to address quarterly payments. Threatens to cut service to County if county does not work harder to help City of Presidio. Aranda wants to have reports every month, allow them to have the money since they need it, when they ask for it. Judge clarifies that that is not the way it was passed. Minutes reflect that payments are made once reports are submitted. Hernandez asks them if the City of Presidio is asking for advance payment. Marco Baeza complains about the timing of the funding. White and judge clarify that city of Presidio was here for the meetings and the payment plan was communicated in those meetings. Judge reads minutes after Marco Baeza protests about having to pay city bills without funds from County. Minutes seem to reflect monthly payments once reports are made. Katie says reports are monthly, payments are quarterly. Judge wants to revisit this when Presidio EMS report is given. Approved OMB report- Katie Sanchez. Invoices. Need approval on some invoices from commissioners court. Reimbursements on grants current. Jail US Marshals is not up to date through August 1. Working on road and bridge to get grant reimbursements on road grants. Hernandez asks about Stonegarden dates for potential continuation. Katie says that she has to wait on procedure, can't act until decisions are made. Approved District and county clerk- money totals. Question as to who writes clerk reports. Florcita generates these, new automated reports will come once software is updated in clerk's office. Hernandez asks why we are paying for outsourcing. Judge says that she has asked for an automated report from clerk's office. Frances says that once new software is in place we won't be paying extra for contact labor on this report. $166 per month cost to county. Judge wants to call IDocket and get a better report. Software very expensive, should be able to have a report able to generate. Hernandez does not understand why this is the only county dept to not do their own report. Skip to letter O- Presidio EMS report. Erick Hernandez speaking for EMS. Reports submitted, asks if there are questions. White wants to ask auditor if this report is the type of report that can help us. Patty Roach takes a look and says that financial part of the report reflects salaries generally and then benefits, etc, bills, supplies. No revenue sheets provided. Hernandez wants to look at City of Marfa report to compare. Patty also says that commissioners court has not yet set defined parameters on what reports should cover. White says it is really important that we get all financial information in order to go forward with a new plan for the future. October report for Presidio EMS is run report, not able to be accessed. Hernandez wants the same format for reports as City of Marfa. Patty Roach clarifies that the county can request a detailed transaction report, activity report, etc from each entity. Formats can be different if info is the same. City of Marfa has detailed revenue and expenditure report for Sept, none yet for October. Marco Baeza makes another comment saying they will get the county what they need but the county needs to work with them. We appreciate the allocation but there is a perceived lack of will to help out the City of Presidio. Hernandez asks would the city prefer payments monthly or quarterly payments. Clarifies payment schedule. Baeza says no real difference, would prefer to make it easy for county. Commissioners reflect that they do not understand the controversy, county will pay allotment once reports are submitted. Marco suggests advance quarterly payments with any penalty coming out of future quarters. Aranda says that they will pay the bills, and will approve all the reports, the money is already allocated and it's taxpayer dollars. Hernandez agrees, we will pay just because you are providing the service. Hernandez still wants a recommended format. Patty Roach says she will prepare one, possibly applicable to all outside agencies. Motion to accept by Judge. Unanimous. Facilities Management Report: Sam Cobos presents. Judge asks where Ari was yesterday, doors were unlocked at end of day. Ari didn't show up for work, Steve was sick. Need to call Sam when this happens and will not happen again. Sam contacted jail AC people, including Honeywell people. Friday rep will show up to present some options about the method to replace a system like this one. Engineering services will be needed to analyze what type of approach it will take to convert to refrigerated air from evaporative. Could be difficult to select a service based on jail standards requirements, differing areas of expertise. Honeywell would present a project management plan to select all firms to do all work, select options, full package. Also line up potential financing. Lease option available as well. Hernandez says that the county will wind up paying for all these services, going to be very expensive to pay all these people. Figures thrown around look like around a quarter million. Question as to whether current evaporative system could be improved or must be retrofitted into refrigerated. Hernandez wants to know potential difference in energy costs. Refrigeration will be more expensive. Vasquez says regardless of costs, refrigerated is going to be better, less risk as to effectiveness. White says that regardless of anything, as long as jail standards is ok with it we are ok. If they are not, we are in big trouble. Might be worth it regardless of cost to go with more effective cooling with a refrigerated air system. Sam contacted jail standards guy out of Austin to help county be sure to be in compliance. Lots of ventilation eccentricities involved in fire prevention safety as far as jail standards go. Could impact ducting requirements. Judge wants to know if roof at jail is still leaking. Sam says no response yet from jail. Vasquez wants to know if he has communicated with jail admin and/or sheriff. Sam says that thus far nothing, but soon it will be important to have everyone communicating about the future there. County Annex bids have been received for different roofing options, amounts. Still getting a few more. No jail maintenance employee hired yet by jail. Alfredo Mediano still doing work at jail, ordering supplies including new showerheads. Vasquez requests that jail admin Gracie Parras come to next commissioners meeting for more jail information. Jail kitchen drain lard buildup. Jail hired a contractor to unclog drains. Needs regular maintenance, possible service contract. Found out that drain for kitchen is not draining into grease trap, bypassed it. Suggested to have someone clean it monthly. Fire alarm system went out at courthouse. Approved. Capital Projects manager Ruben Carrasco. Report submitted via email. Judge asks about airport fire breaks. Gary says that Willie Hernandez could use a grader at airport build fire breaks. Ruben says yes, he will get one there. Need to haul caliche. Ruben says we can use surplus asphalt that is already there. Chase Snodgrass says he recommends caliche. Some discussion. White says we should take airport manager's recommendation. Airport manager wants to use the asphalt material for other upgrades. More information will be gotten on uses, materials. Approved Airports manager- Chase Snodgrass submitted by email. Approved. Tax Assessor Report: Katie delivers, says tax office was working all the time to get taxes out. They are now out. Some already collected. JP 1 and 2 reports presented by D Beebe. Lots of fireworks here regarding Sheriff's Office not writing any tickets for JP Court I. More on this later in an opinion column here... Emergency Management Report: Gary Mitschke, coordinator. Rope rescue class held Oct 24,25 at Marfa airport. Border patrol allowed use. Rappelling towers still in pretty good shape. SHSP grant discussed. Met with Sen Rodriguez re infrastructure issues. At this point I had to leave the meeting to address some timely work. Apologies. David

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Joint meeting Presidio County Commissioners Court, Presidio City Council, Marfa City Council re EMS service

Meeting 10/28/2015, 6 PM.
Hello everyone,

I am sorry my notes here are late to post; I had trouble with my charger and was unable to get this up before now.

The meeting went fast and it was a bit hard to hear since we were in the main courtroom for the Presidio County Courthouse. I was took as complete notes as I could. I think the important thing here is that a good dialogue between entities has been started regarding EMS and the potential for forming a countywide Emergency Services District (ESD). I definitely think the meeting was productive and I was impressed with the professionalism of the elected officials from all three political entities.

ESD workshop

City of Marfa, City of Presidio, Presidio County Commissioners Court joint meeting

6:07 PM All commissioners present.
Presidio City Council. Garcia, Tavares, mayor and 1 councilman present.
City of Marfa- all present

Jeff Stokes with Poncho Nevarez officer.
Border Patrol EMS here
Sixto Rey, DPS
Many many people present representing multiple agencies from within and beyond the County.

Judge Guevara makes overview comments.

City of Presidio plans to cease emergency services to the County in the next fiscal year.

Emergency Services District: judge wants to know how people feel ant it. 3-4 year timeline on beginning service if adopted.

Mayor Ferguson: says that immediate help can be addressed by finding out how to help Marfa back up Presidio. Dan Dunlap says that the city of Marfa has applied for a grant through the hospital district for a new ambulance. Meeting Nov 12 the in Marfa to discuss. New ambulance would be helpful towards restoring backup service but City of Presidio needs money and a new ambulance does not help that.
City of Presidio has two ambulances, city of Marfa has one. Marfa has four paramedics. Marfa's backup ambulance has no air conditioning.

Carlos Nieto says that we're talking about badly needed resources. Wants to pin some funding on the hospital district and the federal government. South acuity has federal properties with no payments in lieu of taxes and yet services are received.
We should consider approaching the hospital district for money.

L. Hernandez says that if both cities are in agreement of forming an ESD then we should move forward. Are both cities in favor? Dunlap says that it has not yet been on an agenda, but city manager Mustard favors it. J. Ferguson says that city of Presidio needs more education and information before they can make a decision as to whether to support it or not.Jim White asks about the 2012 effort to create a south county ESD service. Ferguson says he is not sure, but he thinks the legislature either rejected it or it never quite got there.
Marco Baeza says that in the past an ESD would have raised about $200,000. Dunlap says that current max rate would generate about $400,000. Hernandez says that cities would need to help. Dunlap suggests that an ESD could contract with each city's EMS service. The problem is how to keep Presidio City going until then at the least. 

Judge Guevara asks for solid numbers on overall costs for city EMS services. presidio says $525,000. Marfa says about $400,000.

Josie Simpson says that the city of Marfa has had to absorb the costs and raise water rates to pay for EMS services and everything else. Dr Billings asks about collection rates for City of Marfa. Dunlap says that Medicare and Medicaid have revamped their processes and it has made collections slower this year. Collections delay has cut it in half, basically.
More talk about collections, billing difficulties...

White says issue is clearly funding first. Suggests reaching out to Congressman and representatives to get some Fed help. Need to find revenue sources. Judge says that there are no interlocal agreements in place. In the near term we should try to crate some. 
Marco Baeza says the old way worked well for years, there was never a problem. We could go back if possible. Mayor Dunlap says city would like to sit down and hammer out a mutual services agreement. 
Mayor Ferguson says that we are in crisis. Judge Guevara says that the Health and Safety code discusses mutual aid agreements. They are needed for day to day operations. Hernandez asks City of Marfa if the lack of an agreement or the lack of a good ambulance is keeping Marfa from backing up Presidio. Simpson and Dunlap say it's mostly equipment but also that City of Marfa residents have suffered when ambulance is serving Presidio; deaths have occurred.
Dimitri Garcia mentions that there has been some miscommunication, he would like to help City of Marfa and the City of Presidio to come together. Challenging situation. 

Dr Billings has some info regarding the Medicaid 1115 waiver program. Way to use state funding to expand health care opportunities. Open to governmental and non-profit entities. Has been used in City of Houston with this program. 
Perhaps a regional EMS system? With state funding...
He thinks the problem is financial and also training. Need more EMT basics, intermediates, paramedics, etc because of distances traveled. 
Perhaps approach Sul Ross to see if a program can be developed.
Carlos Nieto: agrees with Billings. Cost of operations is huge because of trained staff. 
We sold grow our own if possible. Distances and terrain make things difficult. 
Officials need to do their part as leaders. People of City of Presidio have always been resilient, can do much with little. If the highest calling of public service is not to preserve human life then he does not know what it could be.
Dimitri says he agrees but let's look at timeline, brass tacks. City of Marfa need an ambulance, City of Presidio needs money. Let's find some answers. ESD is years away, let's look at now. What can we do for each other to fix our problems?
Aranda says we should look at a countywide answer with an ESD. What are we looking at there? Judge goes through the legal process of forming an ESD. Petition, special public meeting of commissioners, unanimous vote would result in calling an election. If an election passes, then take it to Legislature.
Dunlap says both cities would have to pass a resolution to be in this ESD.
Billings asks if there would be any benefit to including Alpine, Brewster County. Dunlap clarifies that we are already in a bind with Alpine on the Hospital District issues. 
White says in the short term the cities need to get together and find some short term solutions. Dimitri agrees. Marco Baeza asks how can we pay for the personnel. Dimitri says we need to look past that for now and look for the benefit of cooperation and find a way to do it. White says there will have to be some outside funding. Tavares agrees but it is not easy. Advocates working together. 
Dimitri says that if this is a County priority then for next year the budgets need to reflect this.
Tavares says both cities are in the same boat.
Dunlap says that it seems as if the City of Presidio has a bigger hole to dig out of that Marfa. Tavares reluctantly agrees. Aranda says it doesn't matter, we're talking about communication. City of Presidio has no Paramedics and Marfa has four. Presidio has seven people who can go on an ambulance. 
Judge asks about ambulance grant. When is it expected? Mayor Dunlap says he is going to Dallas to look at equipment in Nov. regardless of grant status. Will pursue a new ambulance regardless. Does not know how long between ordering and receiving new ambulance would take. 
Marco Baeza asks if Marfa would back up City of Presidio if a new ambulance is obtained. Mayor says yes, with agreement in place. 
Ferguson asks about Presidio's extra ambulance. Yes, it is in good working order. 
Hernandez wants to know how County can assist with two cities cooperating. 
Dunlap suggests that the County next year allocate money into an account that both cities can bill from for extra jurisdictional service. Thinks it is the best way and there should be an agreement on how it should work. Hernandez says that the only problem is that that still does not cover the cost of offering service. Marco Baeza agrees that just having the ambulance available is the real cost with staffing, insurance, etc. 
Manny Baeza points out that the fixed costs are the same for both cities.

Judge asks if people are agreeable to pursuing an ESD in the long run. Basic agreement that nobody is vehemently opposed in exploring it. Marco Baeza says there are "concerns". White says that there's not really another long term option. 
Mayor Ferguson says that educating ourselves is necessary, we need to learn mor. Dimitri agrees, says we are currently ignorant, need to learn more. White says that the fixed costs are huge, we need some outside source of funding, there's no current funding. An ESD is a possible solution. Brings up federal reimbursements, non-profits not contributing tax monies. 
Carlos Nieto encourages the State of Texas to contribute as well. Big Bend Ranch State Park and other properties do not contribute dollars. We need to encourage the  State to participate as well. 
Jeff Davis County ESD formation included info from an ESD organization called Safety. Can help with education, information, a great resource. Recommends that they give a presentation.
Judge thanks everyone for sharing this information. She is open for suggestions, asks if they would like to have joint meetings. Manny Baeza requests an ESD workshop as soon as possible, preferably before the holidays. 
Dimitri Garcia echoes that sentiment of cooperation. Dr Billings suggests including Hospital District folks. John Ferguson asks of we should try to pursue the Feds for funding opportunities. White says yes, we need to reach out. 
Carlos Nieto suggests researching other Texas border counties and what they have done. References DPS being sent here, try to pressure agencies to give us more attention to help preserve officers at risk. 
Commissioner Vasquez would like to meet again, more often, regardless of location. 
White suggests meeting in ten days. Others recommend coordinating the next meeting with an ESD education session. Ferguson thanks everyone for a productive session. Judge invites everyone to have food, thank you all. 
Adjourn at 7:27