Sheriff: off-duty deputies guarding pipeline are independent « Big Bend Now
Here's an article from last week's Sentinel where Sheriff Dominguez states that his private security firm does not handle pipeline security.
In a conversation I had last week with the Texas Rangers office, it was acknowledged, as it is by everyone I have spoken to in the past six months who would have knowledge of this, including multiple employees of Big Bend Security, that Big Bend Security does the security for the pipeline in Presidio County.
The Sheriff lies about that in this article and then obfuscates the relationship of independent contractor deputies to his company by alluding to them working directly for ETP or Pumpco on contract.
Of course this behavior is not illegal. My experience with the Sheriff is that ethics mean nothing.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Here are my notes from this meeting. Once again, the IPad (County issued) I use to take these notes shut down unexpectedly during notation and I lost 20-30 minutes of notes on Atty Jim Allison's explanation to the Court regarding recommendations for golf course contract proposals. Fortunately, Mr. Allison provided a detailed handout after his talk which relays that information in writing. See two posts down for that document.
Presidio County Commissioners Court special meeting 1/31/2017 10 AM, Marfa
Presidio County Commissioners Court special meeting 1/31/2017 10 AM, Marfa
Commissioners present: Brenda Bentley, Loretta Vasquez, Judge Cinderela Guevara, Eloy Aranda, Lorenzo Hernandez. (All)
County Attorney Rod Ponton also present. Attorney Jim Allison (county outside legal counsel) also present.
Item 4: citizens comments on items not on agenda.
Three people signed up so far.
On behalf of Global Golf. Knows that specs of contract proposal were not all met. Asks for commissioners to meet with them anyway to make this work out for the golf course.
Please consider. Golf association now has only 40 members. Lowest number ever. Please consider global golf.
Hester Ann White:
Advocates for a good golf course. In order to have a good golf course water must be available. Would like for Global Golf to build a new golf course where there is an abundance of gray water. Says that their proposal would require too much water in addition to finances. Infrastructure needed would be a major consideration. Please consider this in addition to the long term financial situations.
Jane Walker: passionately advocates for golf group. Reads from 2014 Sentinel article on golf course future. Net loss in 2014 was $70,000 including Vizcaino Park costs.
Recounts conversations from the past including City of Marfa contribution, lack of Presidio resident access and interest. Needed improvements. Still needs improvements, none done since 2014. Something has to be done, please do not let this golf course die. Has a handout for commissioners, passes it out to them.
Judge closes comment period. She says that she agrees that commissioners do want to preserve the golf course and comments will be taken into consideration. Thanks commenters.
Item 5: comments from Judge and commissioners.
Judge went to Redford and saw water system and saw that water tank is corroded and leaking. Lifespan of that type of tank is twenty years, it has been seventeen years. Would like to replace next go around with a steel tank which would last longer.
On Friday Judge attended RGCOG meeting. Had a presentation from Dr Baeza from Presidio. Did a great job and will come to a future commissioners court meeting to present about poison hotline. 800 number to call for snakebites, spider bites, medication accidents to speak with a pharmacist about potential dangers, treatment.
Judge will go to Presidio tomorrow to meet with residents and city administrator of City.
No announcements from commissioners.
Item 6: No action on minutes
Judge allows Eddie Pallarez to make another point. With regard to water usage issues, Global Golf says that state of the art irrigation system will use less water than current nine hole system does and will serve 18 holes.
Item 7: executive session convened. Commissioners go to jury room to meet at 10:22 to consult with attorney. Meeting recessed.
Meeting reconvened at 11:20 AM
Presentation by attorney Jim Allison.
Computer froze. Lost entire summary of legal situation. Summary included in handout by Atty Allison.
Luckily, Atty Allison provides Court and public with a written legal summary of his findings. I will post that summary as part of this post.
Aranda moves to not approve either bid.
Seconded by Bentley. Unanimous
Break at 11:40 AM.
Reconvene at 11:59 AM.
Grantworks submission for Texas community development block grant. TDA. Up to $275,000 with up to $13,750 of matching funds from the County and in kind labor donations to service and improve Redford water system. Authorizes County Judge to be chief officer representing County.
This is an item already discussed in previous meetings.
Aranda says we have discussed it and we want to go ahead with it, so he motions to approve.
Seconded by Hernandez.
Item 2: OMB requested.
Katie Sanchez of OMB presents:
Asks that funds for block grant monies be disbursed as soon as available. Payments must be made within five days of receiving bills for this grant.
Item 3: also presented by Sanchez: name engineering firm. Two firms presented. Sanchez recommends McKinstree (spelling?). Sam Cobos involved in tax committee which met on this. Sheriff has seen this information, agrees with recommendation.
Aranda motions to accept recommendation to approve TXCDBG funds from TDA. Unanimous.
Hernandez moves to select a professional engineer and take recommendation of committee. Unanimous.
Hernandez asks if County Atty will be used for drafting agreements. Yes, for review at least. Ponton says he will look at what they present and if it needs to be rewritten they can revisit this.
Next meeting of Court is Feb 10. Hopefully review this by that meeting.
Item number four: City of Marfa legislative item to use hotel motel tax monies for airport improvements. Dunlap not here until after lunch, Ponton presents
Says City of Marfa wants to contribute to airport renovations, have to propose legislation to contribute funds. Chase Snodgrass has an issue about potential city of Marfa influence. TXDOT grants say that county must control all grant monies. Ponton worked with Nevarez's office to update language taking the control issue out of the wording but still allowing for a contribution.
Hernandez asks if State Rep wants county support for this bill. Yes, says Ponton.
Judge says that city control over airport language will be taken out as long as revenue from the airport goes back into airport. Ponton says this is discussion only, will bring this back to Commissioners when ready.
Judge says update from Texas hotel and lodging association is here in a document. Will get it to Commissioners.
Chase Snodgrass, airports manager, says that the City of Marfa has not had a mechanism to contribute, this is it. He fully supports the concept. We just need to be sure that wording does not disqualify us from receiving grants.
Judge would like commissioners to write the Mayor a thank you letter since Dunlap initiated this process himself. She will write it. Commissioners agree.
Authorizing Treasurer to pay for repairs to GMC Terrain. Same item has been addressed in part in previous meetings.
Aranda motions to approve. $6573.74 to Freedom Buick GMC
No line item transfers
Bills: treasurer submitted bills. In packet.
Mostly utility bills.
Judge motions to approve.
Vasquez seconds, unanimous
Adjourn. Ponton says he would like to bring up that Presidio folks would like more markings for road crossings at night and early in the morning on TXDOT highways. Requesting letter from commissioners to send a letter to TXDOT to do traffic study to allow them to possibly build this.
Judge Beebe raises hand, says he would like to see this on a future agenda since it is not on this agenda. Judge nods. Silence. Judge motions to adjourn.
Adjourn at 12:23 PM
Jane Walker, as part of her citizen's comments to Presidio County Commissioners Court, submitted excerpts from 2014- present Big Bend Sentinal/ Big Bend Now coverage and letters to the editor.
Here is the legal opinion by Jim Allison, outside legal counsel, on the proposals submitted regarding the RFP for the County owned "Marfa Municipal Golf Course" and surrounding lands.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Marfa City Council Meeting, 1-26-2017, 6:00 PM
Item 4: minutes of Jan 10- approved as presented
Item 5: mayor's report, none
Item 6: city administrators report
Election: state requires electronic voting machines. Separate machines for early vote and election day vote. Been using County machines. County is reviewing purchasing new machines. New machines will have a marked ballot for each vote.
Eliminated hand counting of ballots. Can still be counted by hand if needed. City may need to buy own machines. Could cost $10,000- $15,000
City on Feb 23rd is hosting regional TML meeting.
Equipment for paving quotes have been collected. Very expensive. Will need to advertise for bids.
Item 8: presentations, none
Item 10: concerning project graduation for high school lock in may 27,28. Cynthia Ramirez presents. Mac building and pool from evening until 6 AM. Wants to waive fees. Manny Baeza moves to allow without fees as long as deposit $250 for cleaning.
Genevieve Bassham seconds. Deposit will be returned if cleaned. Project Grad has to provide their own lifeguards. Mayor has comment: police to be painted this year. Could be an issue. Has to be warm in April to do this. Also, council needs to determine who will operate the pool. Mayor has been the operator for the last ten years.
Undetermined at this point. Council will need to decide on these issues.
Proposal to repair ambulance. Box is on its second ambulance. Electronic issues to be addressed. Louisiana firm does this. This had been main ambulance until new ambulance acquired. Money from tax note can be used. Mark Scott moves to use money to repair ambulance Box. Peter asks about time frame. Mustard says he does not know but they are ready to work on it now.
Twelve thousand seven hundred fifty four dollars
Election ordinances may sixth.
Mustard describes three tasks for authorizing election.
Need election Judge as Rosie Garcia is likely to not be available.
Florcita Saenz is backup. No commitment from her yet.
Sign orders to schedule election.
Unanimously adopted. Currently two mayoral candidates. Two candidates for two spaces on city council.
Feb 17 deadline to register.
Office of City Treasurer: creation of office.
City atty Teresa Todd has info on this.
Provisions from chap 22 of local government code. General law municipality is what Marfa is a Type A Aldermanic form of municipal govt.
Duties of mayor include chief budget officer.
Other officers include possible Treasurer.
If adopted, city Treasurer's duties include being directly responsible to the council.
Not same as city comptroller. Comptroller would be responsible to city administrator.
After Leo Salgado departed Florencio Salcedo took on duties. After he was dismissed, Mayor took on those duties.
Section 22.075 sets out how office can be created and duties of office.
Dunlap says that financial responsibility fell to him ten years ago and he has been managing that since. By end of May there will be a vacuum.
Advantage of Treasurer is answers to council. Not to city Administrator.
Treasurer is also investment officer.
Teresa says that Mayors power as chief budget officer may not be delegated to another person.
Mark Scott asks about application process.
Teresa says there is not one, but a two step process is probably best.
First step is to make the office, the. Decide whether to advertise, etc.
Teresa says that if you create this position it is subject to the removal by the council.
Position will be bonded.
Dunlap says that it is most important that these duties be picked up for continuity.
Peter Stanley says that the timing on this is a concern. Mustard's contract is up in September. Next administrator could have these duties. Duties need to be performed, and he does not think that having the new Mayor doing these duties is optimal. These duties may discourage candidates, among other issues.
Teresa Todd says that once the city creates this position, the City holds this position. Mayor reminds council that money has been budgeted for this purpose in this fiscal year.
Mustard says that city council could wait until next fiscal year to hire. No requirement to hire immediately if position is created.
Mustard says in the interest of transparency that he no longer wants to be gas company manager and city manager at the same time. No money currently budgeted for this transition, whatever it may be.
Audience member asks what the duties for treasurer are.
Teresa says that Treasurer shall receive and keep all monies received.
May not pay an order without councils approval.
Must render full accounting of receipts and payments.
May also do other duties.
Mayor confirms this employee will be an at will employee.
Mustard says that this same employee will maintain and update computer software for the city.
Audience member asks council to take their time. City is always hurting for money. Please take your time, this is very important.
Teresa Todd says that city had been in a financial crisis ten years ago and that people who were here took on extra duties based on lack of funds.
Now there is some funding. Issues still end to be addressed on a daily basis. This has been a unique situation.
Audience member says that money is still a big issue. Pease study it more, give people more time to ask questions.
Lineaus asks if questions are to be allowed before a motion.
Mayor asks for motion. No motion.
Mark Scott moves to table item.
Peter Stanley seconds. Unanimous
Adjourn at 6:39 PM
Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting 1/23/2017
10:00 AM convene at Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa
All commissioners and judge present. Also present County Atty Rod Ponton
Item 5: announcements from commissioners and judge.
Judge says that 2012 GMC Terrain will be repaired for $6800. Repair completed under budget by approx $400. Car is now inspected and ready to go. Ready to be picked up.
Judge apologizes for not going to road and bridge lunch. New voting machines for next election came in for demonstration. Impressive. Will return to give additional demonstration in May or June. City of Marfa also attended meeting.
New have electronic and paper receipt records. Machines are Leo to be adopted in El Paso County. Thanks road and bridge department for the good work they have done.
Commissioner Aranda says that road and bridge dept are hard working people. Commissioner Vasquez donated $300 for food. Commissioner Hernandez would like for all elected officials to attend next time. Judge agrees.
Commissioners and judge agree.
Proposed legislation for hotel motel tax coming that would help assist the County with CIP grants for the airport. Says Chase is not comfortable control over the airport functions. Judge is in communication with Poncho Nevarez' office with regard to that language. Grants that we apply for require County to retain control in order to administer grants. May be an issue. Bill stipulates that it would sunset in ten years.
Aranda talks about need for financial assistance for airport renovations.
Judge repeats support for Chase and the job he is doing. Asks auditor about it fuel sales. Employee bonuses for additional fuel sales. Approved by commissioners.
Hernandez asks if it's legal to give bonuses to County employees. Patty says commissioners voted on it last year. Aranda says this is the first time he has heard of that. Knows that same employees are getting overtime. Hernandez says they may want to revisit this issue. Aranda says that no other employees for the County even are allowed overtime pay. Judge says that in the minutes the stipulations of what they passed are very specific. Will look at it.
Aranda says that employee Isidro who is very sick has doctors note saying he can work again. Working in road and bridge. Has over 33 years with County. Will go back to work and Ruben Carrasco will monitor his health. Commissioners happy about that.
Item 6: approve previous minutes. No minutes to approve.
Inidividual agenda items
Item 1: contract with Jeff Davis County for inmate housing at County Jail. Sheriff is asking for Jeff Davis county to pay the same as the US Marshals. $65/day. Also wants for them to pay for transportation to and from any medical facilities when their prisoners need it.
Otherwise contract is the same.
Sheriff says that also MHMR patients need 24/7 guards. Wants Jeff Davis to cover those costs and/or provide an actual guard or jailer to be there. Not in proposal but Sheriff would like that. Judge says that item should be tabled until item is added. Sheriff says that last commissioners court someone presented this without his knowledge. Has not heard a word from new Jeff Davis County Sheriff. Says until he comes over here in person to talk about it and negotiate this is what he wants.
Rod Ponton says that new Sheriff told him he does not have the money to cover any additional costs. Dominguez says that covering their costs will not happen again.
They will have to send a deputy or a jailer to deal with this.
Patty Roach asks about the expiration of the current contract. Sheriff says it already expired Dec 31st. They can also take their prisoners to any other jail.
Rod wants to know if adding the financial burden to the contract will suffice. Sheriff says that sometimes they are short staffed, payment is not always the only issue.
Judge recommends to postpone until item fully ready. Makes motion.
Item 2: Total I.D. solutions contract for Sheriff's Office ID system.
Contract on table. Sheriff presents. Judge says that yearly renewal required.
Sheriff says that it is cheaper to sign maintenance contract than having individual calls. Unanimously approved. Judge would like to see original contract. Sheriff says he will provide it. It is in Sheriff's Office.
Item 3: District Clerk Report approval Dec 2016
No questions. $6725 received in county clerks office, just over $1000 in district clerks.
Item 4: commissioners court agendas. Requested item by commissioner Aranda. Wants County Atty to review all agenda items for legal purposes. All items necessary? Review appropriate items and advise parties prior to meetings. Preparation for commissioners prior to court meetings.
Judge understands his perspective.
Aranda says it's mostly for legal review.
Judge says yes, most of the time items are sent for review to involved parties prior to posting. Has no objection to adding co Atty.
Crystal Funke says she has already been adding Rod to most items. Rod says most cities and counties have items reviewed by Atty prior to posting. Improves efficiency.
Hernandez wants to know what the current process is for adding agenda items. Judge says that usually people request items and they make it onto the agenda. Now their can be a pre-agenda. Hernandez wants to know who approves an agenda item to be posted. Judge says a commissioner or the judge has to approve or sponsor each item.
Beebe asks if commissioners are giving veto power to the County Attorney
Judge says no, make no mistake that the commissioners will not be giving power to veto items to county attorney. Aranda clarifies that he is simply trying to make matters easier and have more legal clarity. Vasquez says that he understands the concerns.
Commissioner Bentley makes a motion to postpone this item to get legal advice from TAC to be sure commissioners are not giving away their power to set the agenda. Commissioner Aranda says that he is trying to be clear that commissioners are not going to give up their power. Brenda says she understands but just wants to be legally sure. Judge says she understands Judge Beebe's point. Brenda wants to know if Court needs an action item to approve county attorney looking over the agenda. Unknown.
Hernandez says that City of Presidio does this as a matter of policy. Judge and everyone agree that the concept is good and judge says that even if they do not take action, she will forward agendas to County Atty prior to posting as a matter of her own policy. Judge wants agenda to be more transparent to the public in general. Judge says she has changed the agenda posting to be more like Bexar County's agenda so that things are more easily readable.
Sheriff Dominguez says that sending everything to TAC every time you need an opinion the County Attorney will be useless to them. Brenda says she is not saying that's what they will be doing. Rod says that he will not be putting anything of his own on the agenda. Brenda asks if this is a necessary item for a motion. Hernandez says he would like to see in parentheses who placed each item on the agenda.
Judge says that her opinion is that there is no action necessary for this since she will be doing it this way regardless. Asking for second on motion to contact TAC. Hernandez says that he doesn't even think a motion on this issue is necessary since they will adopt this method. First motion does for lack of a second. Aranda makes a motion to adopt the proposal letting the County Attorney review items before being posted on any agenda. Seconded by commissioner Vasquez. Crystal a Funke asks what happens if he is not available. Rod says he will always be available by phone or email. Approved.
Items brought by County Auditor:
Willie Hernandez maintenance on County vehicles.
Auditor says that since Willie is already an employee he cannot volunteer his services and cannot be paid as a contractor. Economic Realities test asks if he can realistically be treated as a provider of a separate business.
Retroactively changing pay rates is unconstitutional.
Supervisor (Sheriff) will need to approve his hours. Must be paid as an employee.
Commissioners may, in the future, create a job description for this maintenance job.
Possible liability issues if work is being done off county property with regard to either workman's comp or county property being damaged or lost while not in County custody.
Vasquez says that if you compare rates for work done he is very much cheaper, especially for emergency work. Is there some sort of waiver? Rod Ponton asks if he is working as a county employee on county time. Patty says that basically, yes since the Economic Realities Test determines that he does not have a legitimate outside independent business doing this work.
Aranda says that this is small community, often the county uses non-professionals to do work since that is what's available. Patty says that difference is that this concerns a county employee and the county is required to apply federal law in this case.
Aranda also says that Sheriff should be able to decide how to spend his budget. Roach says that we must follow federal law here.
Rod Ponton says that the issue is whether the employer is pressuring an employee to do something for less than value. If the employee has a legitimate side business then there is no problem. Federal law is trying to prohibit employers from abusing employees. Patty repeats that the county is responsible for following the federal guidelines. Outlines a few of these test examples; permits, filing, taxes, et al.
This issue is only here because Willie is a county employee.
Vasquez asks if next time the Sheriff's Office needs an emergency expenditure in this nature can Willie be paid not as an employee? A P.O. Can be issued in an emergency. Katie Sanchez describes some of the things that constitute an emergency expenditure.
Judge moves to pay Willie through payroll after a time sheet is turned in. Unanimous.
Budget Amendment for Sheriff's Office vehicle repairs.
Patty says that a vehicle was damaged, insurance received for approx $5400. Need budget amendment to repair vehicle. Need to declare a budget amendment for increase to Sheriff's Office vehicle repair budget based on unforeseen expenditures.
Brenda Bentley moves to approve amendment.
Seconded by Vasquez.
Line-item transfers. In commissioners packet.
Uniforms for constable pct 2. $86
Judge motions to approve.
Seconded by Aranda
Bills and Expenses:
Frances says there is a correction. TAC check for $175. Misprinted in bills as TACA dues.
Brenda makes motion to approve. Judge seconds. Unanimous.
Adjourn at 11:42 AM
Presidio County Commissioners Court Tuesday 12/13/2016 9:30 AM Marfa
All commissioners and judge present other than commissioner Hernandez, who is absent.
Vince Fuentez: road in Casa Piedra. Judge makes motion to let him speak for six minutes. Unanimous.
Vince says he has questions about the proposed change to Fm 169.
Family landowner since 1863.
Says this seems like a simple alteration to a road but it is not. Alternate route requires cutting down hills, culverts. Current road requires little maintenance. New road is for private gain, not public benefit.
Commissioners court is last line of defense here. Current road is not broken.
Is there a deed to all county roads? Apparently no legal deed to road. Are these roads deeded? Possible this is an opportunity to deal with these potential problems.
Ramon Carrasco: wanted to let Court know how bids for Redford project went. He is engineer. Received bids from one bidder. Texas partners. Has done projects for county in the past.
Bid is $6,000 over budget. Working with budget to make it work. Hector Morales from Redford is assisting with adjustments.
After meeting Ramon will prepare a change order and will try to move forward. He is happy with bidder and bid.
Item 6: county judge announcements and commissioners announcements.
Judge says she attended training as well as Commissioner Vasquez. Disaster finance training. OMB director implementing procedures. Judge references tractor trailer hazmat situation from this weekend. Tomorrow at fire station there will be a debriefing. Traffic had to be diverted to fort Davis highway as Alpine road was closed.
Judge had a meeting with CDM Smith with a proposal for TXDOT fast lane project between Presidio and Marfa.
Plan is to design road widening project. 5, 10, 25 year plan for this.
Judge recognizes Martin Lujan from Perdue law firm and he is taking a position with UT Arlington in Irving.
Commissioner Aranda says that he has been talking to Ramon Carrasco about USDA projects with City of Presidio. Possible meeting with people in Shafter about forming a water district. For future water grants. White says that future commissioner Brenda Bentley should be involved from the beginning. Aranda says that there is potential for a $500,000 grant. White says this has been exploited but the citizens need to come together first. In the past they have preferred to fight rather than group together.
Judge says that second commissioners court date proposed for the 20th to pay bills, deal with communications and jail renovations. Tuesday the 20th, one week from now. Possibly in Presidio or Marfa. Commissioners say yes. Aranda wants to keep the bid rating system in the hands of commissioners and not with a separate committee. Discussion. Judge wants to know how long it takes to rate bids. Aranda says it takes maybe a couple of hours. Two HVAC bids, one communications, four for cdbg engineer, one for Redford construction, two golf course, several others.
Katie continues to describe the ratings system. Vasquez wants OMB do give them a recommendation and then commissioner can review. Auditor Patty Roach comments that a committee to be formed to make recommendations should be convened and perhaps a commissioner can serve on that committee. She says that she is concerned about efficiency of the process and consistency. Rules regarding commissioners court including open meetings act could delay or compromise some aspects of getting all information processed in a reasonable period.
Ramon Carrasco says that he recommends OMB to manage the bidding scoring with some commissioners involved to make a recommendation to the court.
Commissioners still have final say.
Back to meeting time for December meeting. Tuesday the 20th afternoon, at 1:30.
Legal counsel will review two golf course bids. No obligation to disclose anything about bids at this time.
Item 7: minutes approval.
Judge says that Jim Allison advises that if court has an item that should be addressed on a future agenda that the item should be postponed. Tabling should be for taking care of an item for later in the same day. Judge motions to approve minutes for meeting Nov 9. Unanimous.
Item 8: sale of property in trust. Within City of Presidio property. Action item.
Ruben Carrasco says the property is an empty lot. Two small lots. Vasquez wants to know where this is. South of cattle lots. There is a dedicated street on maps but it is not cut. No current access.
Bid is from Eric Jimenez. Martin Lujan recommends sale of property.
Aranda says that description of property may be incorrect or buyer may be confused. Spoke to mother of bidder. Wants to make sure that everything is correct. Martin says that son submitted this particular description. Judge makes motion to postpone sale until county can be clear on status of property and buyer's will. White seconds. Change on motion to table after phone calls made. Judge changes motion Unanimous.
Martin will call.
Item 9: Public Power Pool proposal.Action item.
Review pricing quote received by PPP. David Quin presents.
Used last week's load information. Rates received yesterday. 3.122 cents. Lowest rate seen in the past twelve months. Indicative quote only. Final approval by court will result in executing rate similar. Estimated effect on county's budget: initial membership dues of $1,500. Resulting in savings total of approx $8,500 for the year to county.
Judge will be contact point person. Judge makes motion to approve, including paying dues. White seconds. Unanimous.
Return to item 8: Martin says that property is wrong property. Consulted with family. Court takes no action on item 8.
Item 10: Integrity Steel Works bid for $5827.73 for repairs to jail.
No repairs to locks have been made at any time. Proposal has been made, but not budgeted. Marco Baeza is here on behalf of the jail.
White says this is imperative. Gracie and auditor need to figure out budget item. Vasquez says this needs to be done.
This was brought on after a federal inmate attacked a jailer. Also need a chain link fence over the yard, concrete reconstruction in yard. White wants to know how much can be done in house. Marco says that overhead fence can be done in house. Concrete needs to go in first. Cracks in floor, inmate grabbed cracked concrete pieces and hit jailer. White wants to know about cracks. Cracks all around yard, cracks can be broken and used as weapons.
Some lights on yard are out as well. Concrete may need to be pumped from overhead. New slab proposed. Aranda wants to tackle lock situation first and deal with this later.
Marco says that price quoted is only for labor. Replacement Parts may need to be purchased.
Aranda wants to know if there is a rough estimate on additional charges. Gracie says no, they do not know. Aranda wants to know if there is additional money in the maintenance fund. Gracie says yes. White says that commissioners court needs to know about this nonetheless. Katie Sanchez says that having Marco has saved a lot of money compared to last year on maintenance.
Aranda motions to approve. White seconds.
Item 11: Approve Reba Griggs as new Presidio County Agriculture Extension Agent.
Item tabled until after one.
Item 12: agreement between TDA and Presidio County for colonia fund servicing water supply to Pueblo Nuevo.
Judge says that this has already been approved in a previous commissioners court, now it comes back to sign.
Aranda says that some people out there have their own septic systems. New people to the area can connect into sewer line with this grant. Ramon says that this Colonia funding is limited to certain areas. Twelve connections to Presidio sewer line in Pueblo Nuevo and some more of this goes towards Candelaria water system.
First time water or sewer systems qualify. New city of Presidio sewer line allows this to qualify since it is a new line.
Auditor says that county has not budgeted for cash towards this. Ramon says he is aware. Six months or more to get the funds processed. Can be budgeted in next fiscal year. White motions to approve.
Break at 11:06
Reconvene at 11:28
Item 17: approve renewal of contract with Perdue law firm for collection services.
Judge asks of contract has changed. Rep Sergio Garcia from Perdue says that 2009 contract extension of additional four years without changes.
Aranda says that tax assessor Norma Arroyo is pleased with firm and wants to continue with renewal of contract.
White motions to prove renewal.
Seconded by Aranda.
Item 15: new worker to replace Oscar Cobos in road and bridge dept. Mr. Cobos has retired. Ruben Carrasco will advise on his recommendation for replacement.
Ruben says temp county laborer Luis Ramirez is his recommendation. Rate of $13/hr.
Aranda says he is very skilled, hard owner, he has seen him work.
( lost notes from 11:00 am to Noon. Computer malfunctioned, erased)
Item 11: Reba Griggs new extension agent:
Mr Royal introduces Reba Griggs.
Starts Jan 1. Has relatives in Valentine and Sanderson. Will be living in Valentine.
Mother taught in PISD for four years, 2012-2015 and was a 4H leader. Accepted unanimously.
Item 14: postponed
Item 16: contract for tax assessment between Big Bend regional hospital district and county.
$17,490.00 paid to county. White says it is not enough, costs us more than that. We give sweetheart deals. Need to charge more.
Norma Arroyo is here to speak. She says that she would like to go up ten percent. Somebody put this on the agenda before she was ready. She just found out. Two year contract. Motion to postpone until next meeting by Judge. Seconded by Aranda. Unanimous.
Item 19: Marfa airport capital improvement project. Paving for runways related to weight issues. FAA threatens to close airport if paving is not addressed.
TXDOT says that they would like to move paving project up. Chase says that FAA may close airport entirely if we do not restrict heavy aircraft.
Weight rating for current concrete has never been done. Need that.
Bill for $80,000 to county will be sent for engineering soon by TXDOT. Chase says that engineering report does not help us, we need construction more than a diagnosis.
TXDOT says they will try to commit to monies for this year. County would be responsible for ten percent match of any project. Project will cost millions.
TXDOT proposes project development done in phases.
Need runway reconstruction, need taxiway reconstruction.
Back to back to back construction proposed over next three years.
Total design for entire project would be $230,000 , ten percent payable by county.
Construction cost over one million.
Chase says that because Marfa is a federally funded airport, we get $150,000 per year allocated no matter what, must allocate, but can save it up to $600,000.
(Confusing funding conversation going on here- not following)
Chase says that we may get some construction done this year. May need to lobby Congress or state for this since we are under the FAA gun. Political uncertainty in general regarding funding for capital projects.
Chase says that decision needs to be made are whether we use current engineering firm.
White says that the question is how much money is really lost if we can't land large planes. Chase says there is no way to know. White says that he is amazed that hotels etc are not making noise about this. Chase says he has not put out the word. They probably do not know.
Judge wants to know approx how much in landings and fuel sales have been lost since the NOTAM was issued saying large planes are restricted. Chase says that air traffic control in Albuquerque has issued their own NOTAM denying flight plans and landing assistance for large aircraft at Marfa airport. Refuse to assist planes and they have had to turn around.
Alpine airport is still open to flights despite a lower weight rating.
Vasquez asks if there is any type of waiver available. Chase says unknown.
Says FAA inspector that came here said that it seems like it's hard to get funding in rural areas. Not happy about that.
Commissioners express support for public outrage on this issue to help this get fixed.
Vasquez wants to get Congressman Hurd and arts organizations involved. Hotels, etc
Aranda wants to take action on this and try to get other govt agencies involved.
Resolution on agenda is strictly about agreeing that project needs to be done.
Judge wants to put together a meeting of stakeholders in town tomorrow to review the issue and make contact with governmental reps elsewhere regarding this problem. Patty Roach says that getting the $8,000 is a matter of a budget amendment. She is concerned that by making the resolution County may be making a greater commitment for later.
Judge makes a motion to postpone item until Dec 20.
Item 20: Transportation alternatives in Marfa.
Ramon Carrasco. Safe schools program.
Project approved last March.
Project is for Marfa, approved by state is rebuilding the bridges to school and sidewalks on Austin Street.
Agreement state sent includes a matching numbers for grant. Not budgeted. Ramon says that $5,000 monies will need to be paid thirty days after grant resolution passed by County.
Additional $7,000 due sixty days before construction, which can be put off until next budget.
Grand total match for Marfa $16,050. $6,907 is in kind force account.
Aranda wants to make sure we spend as little as possible on outside grant administrators and contractors.
City of Presidio got additional grants and are tapping school district and PMDD for additional funds.
County's match rate was 2.1% of total cost. Great deal for County.
Item 21: same item for Presidio project. Already explained. Motion to approve. Unanimous
Item 22: sewer yard line installation guidelines approval for Pueblo Nuevo project.
TCBG funds project. Twelve hookups to city of Presidio line.
State submitted guidelines separately and requests approval on this.
Already discussed earlier. Lines on private property to connect to sewer line.
Aranda motions to accept guidelines.
Item 23: Consent Agenda
Says she has moved to new office across the hall.
Collections on tax and dispatch contracts. Up to date with entities except city of Marfa owes us for two months of dispatch. Need to meet with Mustard to iron out.
City of Presidio has made first payment on arrears.
Grants: lots of grants in process. She says she wants to encourage commissioners court to use OMB to take care of duties and get us through some of these efficiently.
Commissioners need to be cautious about in-kind contributions to grants. Time charged to grants must be separate.
OMB office can and should be the one place to go which knows about all grants in process.
Aranda asks about last year's budget cash carry over. Patty says that those numbers will be presentable in January. Issues with a supplier of paving materials not accepting county credit contract brought up.
End of report. Approved
Treasurer's report: bills and expenses
Judge says she saw nothing extraordinary in bills.
Conferences and training fees for Brenda Bentley, incoming commissioner.
Cost for golf course bids advertising. $3,300.00.
O.M.B. Katie Sanchez reports on grant bids, etc.
Big Bend Telephone submitted bid. AT&T was late due to fly tire. Can rebid or not. Commissioners choice.
Two bids on golf course received. Will be sent to Jim Allison to review.
Norma Arroyo yes that stupidity percent of fiscal year 2017 county taxes have already been received.
Rest of reports accepted other than Presidio fire dept report which was not submitted.
Adjourn at 3:14 pm