I will post the agenda for this meeting Thursday, as I am away from my scanner until then. In the meantime, here are my City Council notes from tonight's meeting
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
My notes on Presidio County tax rate increase Public Hearing, 3:00 PM, Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa, Sept 13, 2016
Here are my notes on the somewhat sparsely attended tax rate public hearing from today.
Presidio County Commissioners Court Tax Rate Public Hearing, 3:00 PM, Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa
Presidio County Commissioners Court Tax Rate Public Hearing, 3:00 PM, Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa
Judge Guevara, Loretto Vasquez and Eloy Aranda in attendance
Convened at 3:19 PM
Public comments, items not on agenda:
No public comments.
Judge's and commissioners announcements: None
Tax rate: proposed tax rate is .67804 increased from .63804, four cents difference.
Rollback is .68782. Below effective rate from last year as well (see scan)
Includes a three percent gross total raise for employees and elected officials with everyone receiving the same amount of money.
Waiting on Norma Arroyo, tax assessor. She wanted to be here to comment or answer questions.
Norma Arroyo is asked by Judge Beebe if his opinion of the Presidio County Appraisal District's misrepresenting the total difference to the County tax collections with the adoption of the new maximum homestead exemption rates. And also, does Norma agree that at the same time the PCAD was lobbying for a tax reduction they were not informing the county of the approximately $200,000 in collections no longer collectible by the county from new electrical infrastructure and that would have been the best time to do that?
Norma answers that there was a problem with the initial calculations on the homestead and that the PCAD reps had given us the proper numbers. So after working the numbers with Patty Roach the hit to the county was not as much as initially thought. She does agree that the impact of the state mandated unfunded tax breaks for the power systems was not presented and that since we that was such a big ticket account, it should have been brought up, if not then then sometime before that.
Judge Beebe thanks her for her insight because it is important to point out that one of the biggest issues we have this year could have been avoided if the appraisal district had done their job in informing their clients of changes to the tax collections. Please remember that the appraisal district's clients are the citizens and the entities and if he had been giving a grade for this it would be an "F". Some laughter.
Norma says she is satisfied with the way the homestead exemptions worked out and the other issue was pretty bad, but things will work out this year. Beebe thanks her.
Judge Guevara talks about being sure from now on that we get all the information we need before budget time. We learned a lesson here. Eloy Aranda agrees as well.
More discussion about the importance of knowing what is coming from the State level and being sure that communications with PCAD improve re monies coming in.
End of public hearing.
Notice of tax rate Increase, Presidio County for public hearing on tax rate, Sept 13th, 3:00 PM, Marfa
Here are my notes from the meeting. The meeting at 3:00 pm later in the day addressed the tax rate.
Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting Tuesday September 13th, 9:30 AM Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa.
Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting Tuesday September 13th, 9:30 AM Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa.
All commissioners present.
Judge and County Attorney present.
Meeting convened at 9:44 AM
Item 4: public comments:
Item 5:Announcements from judge and commissioners.
Judge talks about the tragedy in Alpine last week. Concern about our own school.
School had been locked down. Sheriff's office said that two officers had gone to the school initially, but one returned to jail shortly. Border patrol had zero agents in Marfa.
Texas DPS Sgt Snead was called and told judge that all troopers we're in Alpine assisting. Constable Marquez went to school to patrol at that point. DPS sent four game wardens to school here in Marfa. Judge communicated with MISD admin about safety and condition.
Word finally came about Alpine status and that situation was cleared. Judge Guevara, judge Beebe and Dina LaSoya went to school to speak to kids, reassure them and let them know that they can come to us for anything.
Courthouse security in general discussed. Panic buttons, fire hoses missing, etc. This week we will have a round table discussion for a safety plan with elected officials and dept heads about security procedures at the courthouse. Thursday or Friday. Judge thanks everyone for their efforts.
Commissioners: Vasquez asks about jail roof meeting 2:00 PM Thursday at jail. Yes.
Item 6: Mark Zollitsch from TAC regarding wellness program. Wellness incentive plan committee has met, proposed to adopt a two part wellness program. Annual physicals are the first part. Health assessment. Incentives for employees that complete items. Once first one is made, then secondary programs kick in. $50 gift card or a paid day off for first incentive. TAC rebates from Healthy County program will pay for this.
Second part is tobacco cessation program. Tobacco surcharge would be in effect for users who do not quit.
Judge asks about return of $74,000 we are projected to receive. Surplus distribution, not related to incentive program. Surplus is based on claims history. Judge says that the focus of the committee right now is to not punish people as much as reward them for participation.
White talks about his own quitting chewing tobacco after forty years of using it when a growth was found. Was a great incentive to quit that same day the doctor found it.
Judge asks for a motion. White makes motion to adopt program. Seconded by Hernandez. Unanimous.
Item 7- Courthouse panic buttons. WAVE technologies.
No presentation. Proposal within commissioners folders. White makes motion to approve. Judge asks for clarity on where in budget would this money come from. Patty Roach says that this would be for next year's budget. This would be for next year's. Judge says that system can be installed by Sept 30 th to be in this year's budget. Costs just over $11,000. Judge recommends service in Presidio at the Annex be budgeted in next year's budget. Aranda wants to know what money in this year's budget is available. Judge says that there is some money from the air ambulance fund. Patty says that is not right, it would come from several different departments.
Mostly from emergency management. Unanimous.
Item 8- Judge recommends we move to Item 22, S&K software presentation on cloud computing.
Presentation by owner Matt Brown on cloud computing.
Document management system. Automated system for paperwork reduction.
Scan store, retrieve and share.
Administrative control of access to data.
Keeps track of who made changes to docs and who viewed the doc.
Improved internal communications, easier and faster access to county data.
Several copies of records saved in cloud storage.
Will be able to integrate with State of Texas online portal in the future.
Judge and Virgie have questions about how effective this could be for dept heads and also for potential clients.
Beebe talks about how this is already being done in the JP Pct 1 office, hopefully other depts are addressing this on their own, but he is uncertain as to whether there is a benefit countywide.
John Fowlkes says that he thinks the real benefits to this is to the Clerk's office. County does not have anything to back up the paper deeds. Some outside commercial companies made copies of records but we do not have access. Since 2000 everything has been electronic but everything before that is vulnerable.
Brenda Silva Bentley says that at one point they were able to get many records scanned into a backup but were unable to get it completed.
John says that the clerk's office is where the issue really is since those deed records are irreplaceable. He does not see much benefit outside of there but there is definitely a need there.
Hernandez says that he would like to go ahead with exploring this since these guys will work with us on payment plans and options. Judge mentions that there is a federal statute from 2006 that more or less requires this for grant funding.
Fowlkes says that everyone who owns property in Presidio County has a potential gap in the title chains. If something was to happen, you could have a massive problem with potential tax values and inability to get title insurance.
Aranda brings up the situation a few years back when the county lost sensitive documents and we got a bad audit based on that.
Approximate cost of this would be $1000 per user for five years. Very inexpensive over time.
Company needs a site survey to see what the parameters of needs are for County offices.
Company rep brings up that although our systems work well independently we do not have a countywide system with customized access. Company can provide scanning services.
Patty Roach wants to know if this is software only proposal or also hardware. Matt says software only, but they can bring production scanners to lower costs.
Vasquez asks if once they tour the offices can these guys give us a more specific figure? Matt says yes.
Discussion only item.
Patty says that her general comment is that this type of project needs to take more advance planning. The nature of the documents makes this sensitive. Need to have a committee to decide if this will be countywide and the whos and whys about that.
Item 8- water service for Presidio Lely airport. No action taken.
Item 9- renewal of vision insurance for Presidio County employees.
Mindy Seahorn. Linked to item 10- TAC insurance.
Vision program: Ameritas administers it. Rates are unchanged from last year.
Looking for approval from commissioners.
Run through end of November of next year.
Item 10- TAC health insurance. Already approved. Rates went down 2% from last year. Says that surplus is determined by number of years in health pool, and also claims rate. This year was $74,000 surplus coming back to the County.
Deductible plan year dates start on December 1st for members.
Changes to prescription card: maintenance medication they now want you to use CVS mail order service. Negotiated rates are much lower for TAC. Using a different pharmacy will cost user one and a half times your original co-pay.
Specialty medications are still much cheaper than most plans. Only 35% co-pay.
Most plans at 50%.
Air ambulance supplemental services: possibility to add one of two options for supplemental air ambulance services, ground and air. Can make it voluntary for employees or an employee benefit. $9/month per employee first plan option. $24-$32/month for worldwide services and return transit.
Fowlkes asks about the low rates, and would these plans really cover these costs? Sound to good to be true. Mindy says that this covers the client with any company in the U.S.
Different company (Airmed) covers air transport only, not ground ambulance.
$55/year per employee.
Has to be air ambulance within their network. The only one out in this region is an Airmed copter. Either program is able to be offered voluntarily to employees to be deducted out of paychecks.
Discussion only item.
Five minute break at 11:13 AM
Reconvene at 11:33 AM.
Item 12- skipping item 11....
Big Bend Telephone company proposal. Aaron Rodriguez presenting.
Network buildout to courthouse, jail, old jail, golf course (potentially) and services in Presidio.
Five year contract pricing. 45 voice phone lines. Ten fax lines, five conference lines. Unlimited calling included.
Installation and implementation. Provide phone, network.
Training of each department individually.
45 Cisco IP phones.
Network buildout. 12 fiber buried cable. Switching.
Divide courthouse into quadrants. Jail would have own fiber system. Power vault would be there since jail has a backup generator. Battery backup for other buildings. Wifi in every location.
City of Presidio offices will be unchanged from present.
Internet options: Ethernet transport. 100mb or 50 mb systems.
Cloud computing requires adequate bandwidth.
Service agreement includes eight hours per month.
Possibility for managed network services later. Firewall log services. Public side of wifi network for visitors. Private side for in-courthouse work.
One time cost. Will be replacing nearly all wires. Fiber between floors. Working with facilities manager and historical commission on how to construct and be in compliance.
Most of buildout is within the monthly cost. Five years from now the monthly price will go down.
50/100 MB difference is $1550.
Judge says that over a year ago she reached out to BBT to upgrade us into the 21st century. She really wants this, but it will be a challenge to make this happen.
Right now telephone costs the county over $100,000 per year. This is a little more expensive than that for the first five years. Aaron brings up safety concern with wires running across the floor, etc.
Communication advances to county will be major.
Patty Roach joins conversation with regard to how to pay for this.
BBT says that regardless by this winter there will be service to most of Marfa for the 100MB. Installation is going on now.
Aranda wants to know with at the difference will be and what we need to pay to get this?
$8668.81 per month for 100MB service to courthouse. One time $15,000 fee. Aaron says that BBT and county can work with payment plan. Patty says she wants to do a more detailed analysis to figure out the best way to do it between the treasurer's office and OMB.
Aaron says that as long as we can get paid within the fiscal year, the timing can be worked with. Monthly costs could be reduced if county opts for a larger up front capital contribution.
Will have to be part of 2017 budget.
County is probably actually paying the same or more right now once all the bills are sorted out.
BBT says that until system is fully installed they will not bill. ATT will not need to be disconnected until BBT network is ready since they are not using much of any of that equipment.
White says that removing the long distance charges for locally made calls will reduce an X factor. Constantly will be the same bill every month. Better and faster internet.
Says that service calls to BBT in his experience is premium. Do not have to wait days for worker. Aaron says usually service guy will be here in two hours.
Hernandez wants to know where it is in the budget. Judge says it is already in there. Total costs $104,000 per year excluding the one time payment for install.
ATT says that they want to bid as well, Judge says. We will have to have an RFP, bid but we can tailor that to the needs.
Hernandez says we need to do this, we just need to get the numbers together and get it done somehow. Aaron says he will work with us on all the numbers.
Service contract can be negotiated every year since we are County and not private. Required by statute to have that each year.
Possibility of connecting airport with fixed base wireless connection.
End of presentation.
Forward to item 16- 4H club usage of Agriculture Barn:
Presentation by Lorinda Carillo, Brenda Klein, Hector Sanchez
Lorinda makes presentation about role of 4H in the county. Bringing up access to barn at county fairgrounds. Would like to use facility on a daily basis. Water, electric, and other things needed.
Roping arena: they would like to use it as well in developing a roping program.
Brenda Klein asks for ability to utilize the area.
Hector says that shooting sports are held out there and they are asking for designated leaders be allowed to come and go as they please to use the area.
Show season barn will need to be used because there is not another place to have animal storage. Would like to have access without causing the county trouble.
In past years there was an agreement in place to allow access.
Can make arrangements to keep the weeds down, other maintenance issues at arena if given some more access.
Main goal is to restart greater interest in the traditional activities of roping, animal raising, and agricultural activities.
Judge Guevara thanks them for helping the youth in town, especially now that Jessie Lea Schneider has resigned. The volunteers are so important at this point and always.
Judge goes over what the goals they have listed are. Says theses are all good things for our youth.
She knows that right now there is no open access at the arena but that may be because there is other stuff out there that may be valuable to the county.
White intervenes and says that it is embarrassing that this has had to come to commissioners court since this is specifically for the youth of Presidio County to use. He has asked the facilities manager to get this straightened out. Needs to be resolved in favor of the kids. This is something we have to do. We must support these kids. He is sorry that it has come to this.
Aranda says he this what happened over the years is that we closed gates because we had some problems out there at times. Not with these people but with others coming and going at all hours. Asks Sam to voice his opinion on what a good solution is.
Sam Cobos says that he wants everyone to use the county facilities as much as possible. Events occurred where changes had to be made. Required facilities use forms for usage. This has worked well.
Jessie Lea Schneider had access 24/7 since she was the county agent. Now that she is gone, We had to revisit the situation.
Had a call about a roping there on a Friday night and that the lock had been cut. Somebody took gasoline from a work truck. Changed locks to all facilities.
Now what Sam has done is Vizcaino Park is open every day from 7-7. Opening arena and barn from 7-7 as well. This is what we are doing now. Winter months or bad weather we may not have it open all the time.
After sunset there is no lighting, facilities are closed.
In the event that someone reserves the facility, we require the facilities use form. Now when we close the gates we leave them open for the archery and shooting on specific dates. Sponsors lock the barn and gate afterwards.
White says that the barn was built by the community specifically to benefit the youth of Presidio County. That building ought to be committed to the 4H and they should not need a use permit for either the barn or the arena.
Sam says that once livestock show starts and animals are present that he plans to give a responsible person a combo lock for 24 hour access during the livestock event.
Gate needs to be accessible at night and on the morning for parents for feeding, etc during that time period. Recommend two locks for that time.
Vasquez says he likes that idea, but he thinks there should be more than just one person, maybe six or so who can have access.
Sam says he will give Mandi Sanchez the combo and she will be responsible for everything out there.
Lorinda says that with all due respect Mr. Cobos was already approached about this idea but said no and that's why we are here now. Hector Sanchez yes he agrees, but they are here to get clarification. He would like to be able to sign an agreement to allow for their use even when it is not the stock show. Is there any way to do that? Roping group is year long.
Cobos says that it is open 7-7 every day. It will be open.
Virgie wants to know why they have to fill out all the forms, why can't they just use it?
Cobos says that without the form nobody would know who is using it and what is going on out there. Says that with regard to maintenance, we do the best we can, but before this last 4H event it rained too much and city was unable to mow.
Judge says that this action item also requests water and electric. She does not have a problem with that. Perhaps we form a committee to develop an agreement between them and the County.
Brenda Klein asks if the Roping Arena has to be used as a county equipment yard? Don Culberson wants to know why the land is not open to all all the time? Some times people drink beer out there, so what? Why do we restrict access to public lands, and why are we not trying to encourage use of public lands?
White says that we have already designated a different area for storing the sheriff's impound yard. For years and years we had it open and anyone can use it? We have built layers of bureaucracy and we are trying to legislate people's behavior.
Vasquez thinks that there could be a camera at the enable to monitor who is on the property.
Hector says that he and some of his roping friends had wanted to help maintain the p
Arena so that they could rope. Guys from Fort Davis were keeping it clean and then it got shut down because of problems. This weekend's roping event is going to be hindered by the disuse of the facility.
Jane Walker says that kids need to get to their animals in the barn for stock show 24/7. It is about watering, training, exercising the animals. Not just the kids, the parents are always there. With the gate locked it is a big problem.
When it gets really really cold the animals need to be inside the barn to gain weight.
White makes a motion to form a committee of Sam Cobos and himself to come back on Oct 11 to commissioners court with a solution for an agreement.
Any other commissioner is welcome to assist.
Cobos wants to know how to deal with this in the meantime. Vasquez says give the key to Mandi and she will be responsible for all this.
Harlan Hardy says we are right back where we were for now. The last two years he had not a problem, no incidents. Harlan Hardy says that every leader within 4H has gone though a background check to do the volunteer work. We are not just anyone.
Gary Mitschke says that as a past member of 4H adult leaders who helped build the barn it was built for this with private funds. This is for all the kids of the whole county.
This is what is important.
Cobos asks for the time being should he give the combo to Mandi? Any restrictions on who she can give it to? White says there is no way to enforce that. Give the combination and let it go.
Hector wants to know if he can practice roping? Yes, Mandi has the key.
Hernandez seconds the motion by White. Unanimous.
Reconvene at 1:17
Item 23- resident at golf course. Aranda makes motion to approve letting Larry Lunsford stay at golf course contingent on approval by County Attorney. Unanimous. Later John Fowlkes advises after being briefed by Judge about this decision. Lunsford wrote a letter of liability release. John says that volunteers carry very little liability as to their presence on county property. Has no real problem with it. Lunsford provided a release.
Commissioner Hernandez has to leave. Leaves at 1:19 PM
Commissioner White has to leave. Leaves as well.
Item 11- county Extension agent support item. County needs to approve in order to send message to State that we support getting a replacement.
$12,053.87 plus travel budget of just over $9,000 per year.
Vasquez makes motion to support. Aranda seconds. Unanimous.
Item 13- fees for civil services. Direct fees, $100 per service, Aranda makes motion. Same as last year.
Vasquez seconds. Unanimous.
Item 14- moving auditor's office to former extension agents office.
Auditor has money in budget for this move. Auditors office has outgrown that small office. Unanimous
Item 15- burn ban renewal. No action since Gary Mitschke is not in favor.
Item 17- Airport budget expansion/increase. Tabled for now until Patty comes back.
Item 21-John Fowlkes says he has the contract with City of Presidio. Waiting on City of Presidio atty opinion regarding new contact. Past due amount will be in separate contract.
Item 21- no action
Item 20- City of Marfa agreement for tax collection. Pretty much Same as City of Presidio's contract but with slightly different dates and a clause that allows for withholding payment to City if city does not pay on time. Marfa city council has already approved.
Judge motions to approve. Second by Vasquez. Unanimous.
Item 17- increase airports budget: Auditor Patty Roach says that airport wants $6,640 for CIP grant. Bids came in a bit high. TXDOT recommends LED lights. There is some funding left in the airports budget left over from unused Presidio airport funding. Patty recommends to increase. Aranda motions to increase. Vasquez seconds. Unanimous.
Item 18- RAMP grant program Marfa airport. Chase recommends. Judge motions to approve. Vasquez seconds. Unanimous
Item 22- TXDOT Ramp grant program for Presidio airport. Aranda motions positively. Unanimous.
Item 24- administrative session
Auditor- trying to wrap up external auditors questions. Need to advertise for elected officials salary increase. Budget hearing needs to be advertised as well.
Treasurer's report: $667,823.36 received since last court meeting.
Office of Management and Budget: submitted in writing. Katie asks if there are any questions. Judge asks about payroll numbers from last month. Three payrolls.
John asks about Lunsford motion letting him stay out there. Time limits, etc. says he would prefer that authorization to stay on property not be contingent on anything related to the golf course lease activities. Authorization to stay until further notice. Judge and commissioners agree. Vasquez wants to be sure that Lunsford is comfortable.
District and county clerk reports. Submitted in writing. Virgie asks for questions. Judge wants to know if Virgie knows the difference between indigent defense and indigent services. Some discussion, John says indigent services would include things like pauper burial, indigent defense is for legal items.
Treasurer Frances Garcia says on the civil side there are fees collected from probate etc that are slightly different.
Facilities Management: in writing.
Over 3000 people were here for Marfa Lights, judge says.
Capital Projects: in writing
Airports manager: in writing
Tax Assessor report: Norma says $360,000 plus, retained by county over 100,000.
JP 1 report: good month, over $23,000 collected. Good for an August.
JP 2 report: in writing.
Marfa EMS report: in writing, accepted. Judge compliments the detail in the report. Includes mileage, valuable data to secure potential grants.
Marfa Fire Dept: in writing, there was a false alarm. Accepted. Aranda says that Marfa EMS has better software than Presidio EMS, Eric is working on getting improved systems. Judge says Marfa EMS has better money reporting as well.
Presidio EMS: in writing.
Presidio Fire dept: judge says that Fire dept is giving an extensive report now, very detailed, excellent.
Jail report: numbers a little down... Gracie Parras says that on Sept 7th a rep from integrity steelworks came to analyze condition of jail facilities. Did an assessment and there are some things wrong. Will provide estimate for repairs. Missing security screws, etc. And on Sept 15th meeting about roof structure. Annual state jail standards inspection expected Sept 19th.
Judge says that Stonegarden personnel will be in Jeff Davis County at the end of the month, hopefully they come here. She will find out. Commissary fund- prisoners monies.
Sheriff's Office report: accepted in writing.
AgLife Extension report: final report from Jessie Lea Schneider.
Emergency Management Report: round table discussion about security at courthouse later this week.
Line Item Transfers:
Some money moving from places to the WAVE system.
Auditor transfer for scanning supplies.
OMB transfer for same.
Appraisal District payment.
Capital and fuel from County judge dept to go to phone. Office supplies.
County employee Isidro Garcia is coming back to work. Must be light duty work. Hopefully work in Presidio at County Annex.
Several other small ones in various departments.
Saved some money on external auditor, can transfer elsewhere.
Approved as presented unanimously
Notable bills: Treasurer Frances Garcia says there is nothing out of the ordinary this time.
Minutes from previous meetings:
Judge has a question regarding minutes from Aug 30th. Regarding people being overpaid. How many? Some people were not named on the agenda, so they were not included. Virgie confirms.
Patty says that reimbursements from two are coming without a payment plan. The others are paying between two fiscal years, reason for decision to come to commissioners. Taken care of. Judge is satisfied with answer.
Adjourn at 2:20 PM
Agenda for Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting Sept 13, 2016, 9:30 AM, Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa
NOTES on Presidio County Commissioners Court special budget meeting 09-12-2016 1:30 PM Presidio County Annex, Presidio
Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting, 1:30 PM, September 12th, 2016, Presidio County Annex building, Presidio, TX
All commissioners and Judge in attendance.
Meeting convened at 1:49 PM
Judge attended RGCOG meeting in El Paso last Friday. Got a legislative update.
TAC representative Allen Bristol addresses court: he is a county relations officer.
Here to observe and assist if need be. Former county judge for Navarro County.
Judge says that this morning she and county atty, auditor and treasurer met with Marco Baeza from City of Presidio. Made an arrangement for city to reimburse the $131,000 owed. If commissioners approve, city will pay $6000 per quarter to relieve the debt. Will take some years to pay off. All money will be reimbursed.
Interest on amount will be zero.
Judge says that commissioners are going to have to review airport leases, currently some people pay, others do not. Mayor of Marfa says the city will contribute to CIP for airport once county has leases straightened out.
Talked to city of Presidio about funding for EMS rates and also activity logs.
Judge has asked them to provide more data to County in exchange for funding.
White says that he cannot understand why commissioners court cannot seem to get info from dispatch/Sheriff on activities related to emergency services. Judge says that she wants to talk to Sheriff and see if anything can be done. Judge Bishop says that all that data is easily available though dispatch logs. Names can be redacted.
Judge also says she has requested a copy of city of Presidio's budget with regard to EMS.
Hernandez says that City of Marfa gets its data from their collection agency for EMS.
Vasquez says that Presidio is unique in that CBP provides a lot of housing here for employees and taxes are not collected. Makes it difficult for the City of Presidio to fund EMS/fire. Perhaps we can ask them to help out with some funding.
Hernandez makes an announcement that he was invited to a meeting with the EPA and the Border Environmental Agency. Went to the meeting and they were talking about water system expansion north of City of Presidio. They are looking at possibly bringing city water as far as the airport. City has a 3.5 million dollar grant and plans to bring it all the way up to the cemetery. County could possible fund a booster station to bring water further to airport. 1.5-1.6 million dollars to do that.
Option two is to build a booster line and also a tank above Las Pampas to serve that area. Extra million or so dollars.
Rod Ponton says that the City of Presidio has to pressurize the water system to 120 psi right now to push it up to their water tank. Looking at building a new tank to relieve some of the pressure. Water line breakage is an issue right now.
Water well at airport was a dry hole. This could be an option.
Item 6: Budget workshop
Patty Roach presents. White says that by raising everyone's taxes we are burdening the taxpayers and we need to stop spending so much money. We need to stop spending money, we are spending too much. We are crushing the taxpayers, really hurting them.
Patty says that the deficit in the current proposed budget is now $226,916 with tax increase. M&O expenditures include new two new deputies, overtime for dispatch, no raises for county employees.
Money to fund this can come from jail reserves. Additional tax increase raises $238,837.
White asks about capital improvements for replacing the air conditioning at the jail. Yes, it is included. Just over $300,000 and it is in there, jail will still turn a profit. Water system problem at the jail, water pressure is not so good at times. Working on that problem.
Hernandez asks about individual budgets. Every dept went at least back to 2016 levels except for Sheriff's office. Patty says that non-departmental went up and Sheriff's Office went up.
Constable precinct two went up because Coker will be added to health insurance.
Aranda wants to know more about the HVAC cost at the jail. Have not yet spent any money on that project. Money was budgeted this past year, not spent. Patty says yes, it rolls forward. White says that taking care of the jail is top priority. Cannot risk losing it. Patty advocates for a five year maintenance plan to be considered and adopted for all county facilities and assets. Need to get that going a soon as possible.
White says we just do not have money right now to grant budget increase requests, gives example of the airport. Submitted a revised request for additional 100,000 dollars for capital improvements.
All that money would come from general fund. Airport does not generate enough money to cover it. Proposed raises for staff also would have to come from General fund. Money is not there.
Aranda wants to know more about airport request for money. Asks if there is any way to sell enough fuel to cover. Patty says no. This is for RAMP grant funding which is a fifty percent match from the state.
White reiterates that we have limited income and we cannot satisfy everyone's needs and wants. Essential services must be funded, everything else needs to be on the table. Spending way too much money. Judge Bishop says that the carpet in the annex needs to be replaced now, people are getting sick. Water leaked for years.
Aranda says that with regard to the airport that Chase has needed an employee at the Marfa airport, it is too busy to man by himself.
White mentions that Rudy has been a great help at the airport, and on weekends he is needed. Says that the county needs to advertise for a Fixed Base Operator to run this. Then money comes out of fuel sales. Judge says that what Chase is asking for is going to raise the tax rate, do we need this?
Hernandez is concerned that Chase may quit if we do not fund this. What then?
White says that if Chase was to quit then the County Commissioner in Pct one would have to cover it.
Patty says that everyone is replaceable. Virgie agrees.
White says that Chase has done a great job, but really not so much has changed ex let for overall improvements.
Hernandez says it is hard to know just how much work Chase has to put in.
White says that these two airports are rally different
Chase is asking for an additional $143,000. Employee and also re RAMP grant funding.
Hernandez wants to fund an employee and blow off the extra grant match money.
White says that air traffic at both airports will be increasing, but in order to fund this we would have to subtract from another budget.
Patty says that more reserves may be available, but it is risky. White says that if jail gets shut down we are sunk. Could happen overnight.
Judge revisits when Hugh Howard used to provide fuel at airport.
White says that the best the airport was ever ran was under Joe Moore. Hugh Howard did not maintain the facility well. We took it away from him because of this. Hired Chase later. Joe Moore as FBO was best but county commissioner and he got sideways and county ran him off.
Aranda says that at that time the FBO was only overseeing the Marfa airport, Presidio airport was absolutely dead. Johnny Williams had the contract, could not make it work. Since Chase took over, the Presidio airport has been a success.
White advocates for an FBO for Marfa, later possible try to get one for Presidio.
Brings up the contract that Chase presented to court a few months back. Commissioners rejected it because it was too lopsided. White says we need to stand our ground on this, what Chase is asking for this time is fairly similar.
Hernandez brings up contract proposal from Chase. John is not in favor. White says he read it and could not believe how lopsided it was. Katie says that the airport is not able to be leased out by the county as a condition of the RAMP grants. Aranda says he was not in favor of it. Hernandez says that we do not want to be held hostage, but we have to be conscious of the possibility of Chase leaving.
Hernandez says that Ron Anderson is interested in being the FBO. White says that Cade Woodard is interested as well. White says that even if we get an FBO we still need Chase to do grant admin, etc. Would cost county money to do this, lose a percentage of fuel sales. Has to work for all parties involved. Chase's proposal was far too lopsided.
Patty says that the county, if it wants to have a FBO, has to run the process. Has to be bidded out. Has to be run though OMB and done right. Not steered by a department, too much opportunity for a conflict of interest.
Hernandez wants to know about the $143,000. What are we doing here?
Judge asks where the money comes from.
Patty says we need some hard data. Need to know demand.
County needs to get its act together on the leases so that City of Marfa will contribute. Beebe says that the City of Marfa's request for accountability is totally reasonable, it is the same thing the county is asking of the City of Presidio with regard to EMS funding. Commissioners agree.
White says that no matter what We are on a path to bankruptcy and we have to stop. Judge says ok, we cannot fund this.
Abandoned motor vehicle fund request can be granted, money is still in That fund and is dedicated by statute.
Hernandez says that since we don't have money, what about the proposed raises for staff? We cannot fund those either. Judge says that we can still do the raise, to the tune of three percent or $97,000.
White says can't take that much out of reserves. Says that next year it's going to get worse if this vicious cycle of spending more than we earn does not stop.
Aranda brings up golf course lease. Proposes possibly selling some property out there to raise money and get it back on the tax rolls. One acre of land over there is worth between $7500-$10,000. White says ten thousand an acre is going rate.
County has about 300 acres. Could sell some of it.
Judge says that she has a meeting with Jim Allison, atty for us in that deal, on Wednesday. White says that if you read the lease draft, and understand it then you can make a judgment on it. Hernandez says he would rather sell it. Aranda and White agree.
Patty says we could sell the 300 acres that are not part of the golf course, not the same issue as the golf course itself.
Hernandez says we should revisit whether we want to sell or rent the golf course and additional nearby property.
Vasquez says that people in Marfa will oppose it. White says that a 99 year lease is essentially a sale. Rod Ponton agrees. White says the lease it so tight, we give up everything. White says that what will happen out there is they will mortgage the property with that lease, get the money, and there is no performance bond on that lease. They are not required to do anything at all. Vasquez says that we need to listen to our atty Jim Allison on this. Patty says that the law requires us to bid this project out. Bid must be done, we can't even talk about a lease until then.
Judge has meeting to Jim Allison this Wed at 4:00. White says that everyone needs to read the fine print in this lease.
Hernandez says lets get back to the budget, enough of this.
Aranda says that we can get more money if we sell this land. Patty agrees that there is vacant acreage that could be sold. White says this is good. Talk of getting a mortgage on the property. Rod Ponton says that is very complicated for a County to do.
Patty says that raises are not reversible over time. These are permanent commitments.
Lots of counties are having trouble with this, TAC rep says. Having to cut positions. Rod says that Pecos County has a huge issue with low oil prices and a giant tax rate.
Patty says that raises were last given in 2013. We have not been extravagant.
On the other hand, we still have to pay for whatever we do. Sale of property is a one time affair.
Hernandez says that selling to fund the budget is not a solution. White says that next year it will be the same problem. Need to stop spending. Individuals can control their income streams, but the county is locked in to a set level of income.
Raising taxes is not smart. We have a hugely large tax rate already and businesses are not going to come here with these costs.
Constable Coker brings up giving a bonus at Christmas rather than a raise. Patty says that the county is not permitted to give bonuses. Have to raise salaries or not at all.
Three percent raise costs the County $97,000. Talk of doing something less, or boost by a fixed amount to each employee paycheck. Aranda likes the idea is a fixed amount rather than tying it to a percentage.
Patty says that is a bit more complicated since some employees are salaried, some are hourly, some are part time.
Judge asks if they really want to do this. Silence. Vasquez says he hates to not give it to employees but this is tough. No money.
Advocates for giving raises to employees only, not elected officials.
Impact on budget unknown. No raise for elected officials and dept heads. Patty runs proposed numbers. Hernandez says that if we want to be fair we have to give it to everybody. White says that elected officials knew what the pay was when they ran for office.
Proposal would shave $20,000 off total extra expense. Hernandez says he would rather fund the airports than raises. Aranda says that everyone has to get a raise if any are given at all.
Proposal to give forty five cent per hour pay increase for hourly full time workers. Salaried would get $936 extra.
Aranda makes the motion to grant the three percent increase with everyone getting an equal share. Flat amount.
Workshop only, no motions can be made. Aranda repeats his proposal. Everyone is ok with it.
Elected official salaries must be published minimum ten days in advance of adopting budget.
Talk about JP 2 assistant salaries. Judge Bishop has two part timers. Wants to move one to full time. Commissioners had cut her budget by $6500.
Used to have a total of $27000 and change, same as JP 1, but now has been reduced.
Patty says that nobody has asked her if there can be a change. Need to know costs. Judge Bishop says that she has talked to Marsha, Katie and Cheryl about this. Makes her case.
Patty runs the numbers.
Judge wants 32 hours for full time worker.
Will cost county $3320 to do this.
Hernandez says this is worth it. White asks how much time do we have before we go bankrupt.clerks in JP 2 are paid $8/hr.
Hernandez says we should give Judge Bishop whatever she is asking for. $6500 requested.
End of meeting.
Adjourned at 4:08 PM