Here are the Bylaws to the Corporation formed as a joint venture between the City of Presidio and Presidio County to facilitate the construction, promotion, and continued improvement to multi-modal transportation access through the International entryways between Presidio County and Mexico. The major projects are the expansion of the current auto/pedestrian/truck bridge in Presidio and the renovation/reactivation of the South Orient Railroad Line, currently controlled by Texas-Pacifico Railroad, located on the eastern side of the City of Presidio.
The acronym for this corporation is PIPA. PIPA will be the holding company that federal and state grants can flow through to fund port improvement projects. PIPA can also enter into public/private partnerships.
Please read and comment as necessary. All comments that are relevant will be approved and posted as long as they are signed. No anonymous comments will be posted. - DWB
Monday, July 25, 2016
Presidio County Commissioners Court Tuesday July 12th, 2016, 9 AM, Marfa.
Convene meeting at 9:05 AM
Eloy Aranda, Loretto Vasquez, Judge Cinderela Guevara, Jim White
Also present: County Attorney John Fowlkes, commissioner elect Brenda Bentley
Absent: Lorenzo Hernandez
Judge Guevara addresses audience reviewing rules of commissioners court decorum. Asks for people to be more respectful, and for no side conversations.
Item 4: public comments:
Trenton and Dustin, grandsons of Harlan Hardy are guests today.
Vince Fuentes: resident of Casa Piedra. Changes in Casa Piedra roadway by neighbor Donnell. Fuentes objects to new road proposal. Says unnecessary, sets a dangerous legal precedent of someone paying the county to avoid an easement on their property. Prefers old road, requests court reconsider.
Item 5: judge announcements: all budgets have been turned in except for commissioners court budget. Judge is working on budgets. Jim White encourages staying on a proactive schedule. Auditor is out of town this week. Commissioners announcements: Aranda says that more money should be put into training for commissioners this cycle. They did not have enough this year, and only attended two trainings.
Item 6: Wellness incentive program, presented by TAC. Mark Zollitsch from TAC.
County health care rate went down 2% this year, and county will receive a surplus rebate from TAC health group. $70,204 will be returned to county.
Health care incentives: county wellness program can be taken to the next level with incentives. TAC encourages. Three primary things that make the most change to wellness: annual physicals, Tobacco cessation, health coaching, pedometers, etc.
Options for County include penalizing non performers, incentivizing success, or a mix of the two. Currently, county employees do not contribute to the premiums, unlike most private company employees, so penalty could be difficult.
Judge wants to know how things are tracked in different counties with regard to annual physicals, etc. Mark says it differs from county to county, but often it is the person in charge of health benefits (treasurer). Judge advocates for continuing progress in the wellness program. Non-action item today. Commissioners make some positive statements in support. System would take about six weeks to implement, so there is some time to decide on how to proceed.
Item 7- executive session re Sheriff Office. Convene into executive session at 9:42.
Reconvene into regular session at 10:18.
Item regarding Sheriff -motion to table by Judge Guevara. Unanimous.
Skip forward to Item 18- action item extending hours of sales as requested by El Cosmico.
Presenter: Jeremy Steele, rep from El Cosmico. Requests action to extend regular hours to extended hours. Looking for extension during Trans Pecos festival and New Year's Eve. Explains that statute does not permit for temporary late hours , only late hours permit in general. Takes questions from commissioners. Judge has a remark regarding handout given to commissioners by Cosmico. Shows that in 2001 commissioners court approved one for Cibolo Creek Ranch. Does this set a precedent? Judge makes a point that Cibolo is more private and secluded, perhaps not comparing apples to oranges. Jeremy agrees that Cibolo and Cosmico are not the same. Isolation differences. This, despite that Cosmico and Cibolo both have to account for the safety of their guests. Aranda wants to know what the daily hours are currently. As a lodging facility they are open 24 hours per day. Regular alcohol sales are permitted until midnight Sun-Fri, one AM Sat.
Says that aside from twice a year, there is no financial benefit to late hours. Based on guest requests.
Judge Guevara says this is a huge public safety concern, says that this commissioners court encourages public safety. Commissioners would like to hear public comments.
Josie Simpson, councilwoman, speaks. Says she is opposed. Complains about Cosmico drinking too late already without the late night license. She says the working people have to get to work, this is distracting. Brings up train accident with M. Parker. Says this is a huge safety issue.
Charles Simpson: opposed. Says that the burden on Sheriff's Office is a major deal. Not a good idea. Human and financial stress. Complains about music volume, sometimes past midnight, until the AM.
Sheriff Dominguez: says he h been here for a long time and he nips concerned about the speed of the town changing. Says it is not as peaceful as it once was. More people, more activity. Needs for additional resources. Successful tourism business and rebuilding of the town is a plus, we welcome the people and the money, but it does not come without a toll on resources. But he says that some people come here because they can "do what they want" including loud noise, drinking in public late at night, trash in the road, beer cans and bottles. Not fair to the people who live here and have been here for all their life. He welcomes the tourists, but he does not welcome their ways. Sheriff's office is understaffed. Says commissioners should take all this into consideration, but especially the people.
Maria Williams: has lived here her whole li on Waco St. Hears me all evening, she has been recuperate from an illness and has a hard time getting back to sleep once woken up. Seventy percent of people living near Cosmico are elderly or ill. Please consider this. She says overall she does not smoke or drink, but she has had to pick up cans, bottles, cigarette butts et al.
Lineaus Lorette: El Cosmico si two and half blocks from him. "We live in a world of violence" He knows about honky tonks. Alcohol is the hand maiden of violence. Brings up Adobe Moon/Planet Marfa. Jon Johnson said he was going to serve a glass or two of wine after training seminars. Now it's a honky tonk across the street from the church. Complaints about parking. Marfa depends on tourism, but we cannot be everything to everyone.
Motion by White to deny approval. Unanimous.
5 minute break at 10:43
Reconvene at 11:01
Item 9- Harlan Hardy, Veterans Service Officer, presents.
Asking to create a full time position for VSO instead of part time. Explains that driving to Presidio, serving veterans who cannot drive themselves to hospitals, attending monthly meetings and trainings. Full time position would fund that and account for the hours needed to accomplish that.
Brings up accreditation as a certified VSO. Hardy is one, need training to continue to be one. Greatly assists veterans when county has a certified VSO. 315 veterans enrolled in the VA system. Avg of $2 million paid to veterans in assorted entire nets and benefits over the last few years. Hardy estimates 450 veterans in Presidio County but about 125 are not enrolled. Needs correction, outreach.
Has been VSO since July 1st 2014. Recommends full time, fuel, trading and other benefits be granted. Recommends next VSO be younger and disabled, if possible.
Commissioners Court : Judge asks for clarification as to his recommendations. Hardy explains his proactive approach towards locating veterans and getting them benefits.
More work by VSO would help get more benefits for county residents, more money coming into County. White agrees. Hardy explains that he is leaving soon and he has two potential replacement options, two Marines from Presidio County who are Afghan vets. In Van Horn, Culberson County they are receiving double the money with half the veterans. There is work to do here. The VSO there has been working diligently with locals for ten years and the time spent has paid off. Young ex-soldiers we coming back from Middle East, hard to reach but it can be done.
Judge commends Harlan for his work, locally and regionally.
Item 10- facilities manager personnel matter- executive session. No need for session, can take vote since session was covered last meeting. Session tabled.
Item 11- Approve maintenance worker vacancy. Permission for Sam Cobos to hire a worker. White makes motion. Jeff Gonzales. Has already been working for a few weeks. Judge abstains, but unanimous. Jeff and judge are related.
Item 12- Discussion with action to accept appointment of Patty Roach as auditor for the next two fiscal years, as ordered by Judge Ferguson.
Order by judge. No debate. Aranda moves to accept. Unanimous
Item 13- law enforcement and elected official liability insurance-
Treasurer- had some questions about details. Questions resolved. White motions to accept. Unanimous
Item 14- presentation by Architecture firm. Not here. No action or tabled? Jail HVAC architect. No action, they will come back.
Item 15- retainer agreement with law firm for independent legal counsel on various legal issues. Allison, Bass and Magee. Issues include pipeline easements, golf course, Ruben Carrasco has been contacted by pipeline people. He says that pipeline folks asked permission to cross county roads. Asked pipeline people to send plans to review. Nothing received thus far. Got a call the other day, asking. Explained to pipeline people that info must be provided. Pipeline people blacked a bit, complained. County sticking to its guns, may need legal help. $240 and $210 /hour for lawyers. $100 hr for paralegals. Reasonable rates. Aranda asks about Perdue. Tax attorneys.
Golf course- contract with developers. Aranda asks questions about pipeline people. White makes motion to enter into contract with firm, says this is time sensitive, needs to get done as pipeline is breathing down their neck. Unanimous.
Item 16- Presidio County Vehicle Policy:
Policy has not been clear. Policy proposed has been reviewed and assisted by Allison and Bass. Required by homeland security grant policies. 59 vehicles not including heavy equipment.
Aranda moves to approve. Unanimous
Item 17- Presidio-Lely Airport water well proposal. Two proposals. OMB Recommends lowest and best bid, to DrillPro. Bid just under $40,000
Prepay invoices up to first 15,000. Balance to be presented later to commissioners court.
Fifty percent reimbursed by RAMP grants, twenty five percent by PMDD. Twenty five percent from County.
Chase Snodgrass says cost is variable, based at 500 ft. Other wells in area more like 200 ft. Could cost less. Aranda asks Chase about details. DrillPro method is best, different drill type, uses less mud. Chase says that it is still possible that it could go further than five hundred feet , we need to plan for that in case it happens on site. Decision needs to be made now whether to progress or not. $46 foot drill price.
Upside to County and city of Presidio really big for this project; development all throughout that area and better for airport.
White makes motion to approve DrillPro up to 15,000 up front invoices. Drill up to 600 feet. Chase provides suggested motion that White opts to use instead. Judge Guevara reads motion.
Item 18- already covered earlier
Item 19- 2016-2017 Budget Policy for Presidio County.
Policy presented by Judge Guevara. She researched policies in other Counties. County Auditor is unsure about her proposal as it is somewhat elaborate. So possibly no action today, but she would like commissioners to review. Motion to table. Unanimous
Item 20- Bylaws for Presidio International Port Authority-
Jake Giesbrecht presents. Bylaws written by Jesse Hereford and others. Jake says progress is being made. Bylaws have been looked at by TXDOT, CBP, and other agencies. All approve. 559 program is goal. White says they did not reinvent the wheel, part of these came from City of Amarillo. Consulted with multiple agencies, everyone agrees and finally done. These bylaws go back to the original board members that they had. So that changes things a bit. Bylaws need to be adopted by commissioners and City of Presidio before changes can be made to membership.
White stresses that the cooperation between the county and the city officials was what the other government agencies really liked, so we are back to that at this point.
Jake says everything tight now on both bridges is totally positive, presidential permit is nearing final approval. Should be authorized later this year. Daily conversations with TXDOT. Railroad bridge on schedule. Looks like we will be first county to do two bridges at one time. Great progress in Chihuahua and Mexico City. Vasquez thanks everyone for their work. Motion to accept. Unanimous
Item 21- Lexis Advance Subscription Amendment for Library Patron Access.
Cost has gone done quite a bit. Used to be 700, now $263/month . Frances Garcia says bill is $421/ month. Judge motions to approve.
Item 22- admin session. Recess for lunch. One hour break at 12:11 PM.
Reconvene at 1:45 PM
No auditor present. Tabled
Treasurer's report. Frances Garcia. $617,439 received. 575,162 checks written.
Need approval for 427,000 . Says county funds are doing ok right now.
OMB report. Katie Sanchez: finished water well proposal. HVAC for jail architect RFP out. Payroll totals for next year will be $3.2 million if all numbers stay the same for next year.
District and County Clerk: numbers from court cases, totaling approx 12,000 with about 9500 retained. Approved
Facilities manager: accepted
Capital Projects: Ruben Carrasco: talk a little about Casa Piedra Rd project, concerns from Vince Fuentes. New road is unfinished. Compliance with state standards a possible issue.
Water leaks at Redford water distribution. Ruben detected them and sent info to state and TDA, TCEQ. Judge wants a copy sent to her. Antelope Hills Rd needs material. McGuire will provide but county has not received. White says it is washboard and that people who live over there need to slow down. Excessive speed is the reason. Concrete work at beginning of Antelope Hills Rd and in Presidio area will begin soon.
Airports Manager- Chase Snodgrass: White motions to accept. Approved
Tax Assessor: submitted, collected 30,966 collected in June. Approved
JP pct 1- discussed registrar training for birth and death certificates, numbers totals and budget impact of coming into compliance with registrar obligations.
JP precinct two: accepted
EMS/fire Marfa- accepted
Presidio - EMS/fire- White says neither is a financial report, merely activities. Judge says county has sent the forms, but they are not using them. Aranda says he knows they sent them a while back. Judge asks if they want to approve an incomplete report. Aranda says let's remind them again. Vasquez wants to approve and then remind them again. Judge Guevara motions to table. Unanimous
Jail Report: Gracie Parras: billed out 134,000 , 130.000 to us marshals. 3,300 to Jeff Davis. Head count 56 prisoners at this time.
White wants to know if we are trending up or down. Gracie says federal numbers are down, it is too hot , fewer immigrants. Jail passed fire inspections. One jailer resigned to go to police academy, jail is also short one cook. One had been dismissed.
Cooks make $11.50 per hour. Work 14 hour shifts. Judge says it must be hard to find people to work those shifts for shorter pay.
Judge asks about dispatchers. Start at $13.50, can go up to $15.50
Judge thinks cooks should be paid more, despite budget issues.
Judge talk about importance of dispatchers and good training. Talk about employee retention.
Jail report accepted
Sheriff's office report: submitted in writing.
White motions to accept. Unanimous
Agrilife extension report: accepted judge mentions that Mandi Sanchez from Marfa received a youth development award from 4-H
Emergency management report: Gary Mitschke reports that things are pretty quiet. Judge says she has not had time to put together a meeting recently. Texas Forest Service was written a letter from Judge regarding airport operations.
Quarterly Admin Session:
Quarterly reports approved:
Child Welfare Report
Water District Report
County Attorney Report
Tabled all reports not turned in.
Item 24- advances and registrations: no action
Item 25- line item transfers: seven to consider. Courthouse utilities to communications, $890.
County JP 2: fuel from labor: $400
Road and Bridge: $500 from utilities to communications
Emergency management: $1000 from professional services for office supplies
JP 1- $75 from communications to professional services
Facilities manager: to paint Presidio buildings. From Redford to annex: $3,000
District clerk: $45 for a commercial grade shredder. Recorder for meetings.
Judge motions to accept.
Item 26 - bills and expenses:
Item 27- minutes of prior meetings :
Minutes unavailable. Judge has minutes. Nobody else has minutes.
Getting copies made...
Adjourn at 3:00 PM