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Monday, May 08, 2017

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting, March 10, 2017

Here are my notes from most of this meeting. The county provided IPad is no longer functioning properly and is erasing things as I write from time to time. I am hoping to transcribe the rest of the law enforcement conversation in the near future as I turned on an Android voice recorder.

Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting Friday March 10, 2017, Marfa

Convene at 9:38 AM

All commissioners in attendance other than Commissioner Loretto Vasquez.
Also present County Attorney Rod Ponton.

Citizen comments:
Eddie Pallarez
Update on golf advisory board. Been in limbo for quite a while. David Walker, co-chair, has resigned. Manny Baeza is new co-chair. David Wilbourn is new member at-large.
Membership drive coming up to increase participation.
Possible that memberships may not need to be twelve month. Present option for membership from April through Sept. new membership rate would be $70/month instead of $52/month.
Hernandez asks  what the group can do to involve membership from Presidio. 
Eddie says advertising the membership option would help. Hernandez offers to help. Pallarez says he will work with that in any way possible. 
Tournament for scholarships planned under name of Ernest Chavez. Golf scholarship for seniors in high school. Wants to know how advertising for events can be paid for? No need for answer now, asks county to investigate and answer at some point. Judge says that that can be discussed.
Ernest Villarreal says that he will be needing a new mower. $60,000-$70,000 expense coming up.
Hernandez wants to know if the city of Marfa is helping. Pallarez says that the previous  judge told city that county did not need help. New mayor is coming in, things could change in the future.

Announcements from county judge:
Judge says she was invited to a meeting with TXDOT re FM unable to attend. Ruben Carrasco went instead. Will speak of during his report.
Commissioners received a notice of mandatory vehicle policy training. Training took place at 1:30 yesterday. Additional training today after meeting. Commissioner Bentley attended.
Candelari a water system grant is accepted by TExas Water Development Board. Good news.
March 21 10 AM change of command ceremony for new port director in Presidio.
Austin trip- Presidio County day. Went very well. At least twelve attendees. 
Strong numbers.
Updated on bridge project, went well.
DPS explained additional border funding allocations. Not much money left for infrastructure, mostly salaries and already spent on existing staffing.
We were asking about building TXDPS facilities in Presidio County.
Presidential Permit: TXDOT. Permit is in DC. Fine tuning language. Public comment period. Funding secured on US side and Mexico is committed. Bulk of the project is on US side.
South Orient RR rehabilitation discussed. Talked about trade and new administration in DC. Mayor Dunlap gave update on 20% import tax. Good discussion. Very informative.
Presidio County Appraisal District meeting. Pipeline going fast. Talked about revenue. Unknown as to when and how much tax revenue.
Office of Governor compliance team removed vendor hold for grants. County now eligible for State administered law enforcement and emergency management grants.
Corrective action plan complete and accepted. Review is closed.
End of judge presentation.

Hernandez thanks financial departments.

Commissioners: no announcements.
County Attorney: says meetings were very productive. Great support from Sen Rodriguez.
Senator Lucio is coming to Presidio for a meeting in Presidio next Saturday. Very excited about port expansion. Rod spoke with Tryon Lewis from TXDOT about funding for rail improvements. Committed to helping with funding even if funding has to come from federal instead of state funds. 

Hernandez says that he thanks judge for helping with people in Presidio. Indigent death, judge offered to assist in efforts to help with situation.

Approve Minutes from previous meetings.
Unanimous 

Item 7: budget amendment procedure.
Judge received email from commissioner Vasquez until he is present that item be postponed. Hernandez would like to discuss it before it is postponed. 
Judge says yes, motion for postponement. Discussion. Hernandez wants to know what this is about. 
Judge says that it would change the steps for amending budget.
Hernandez wants more info. Judge says right now budget amendments com straight to commissioners court. New process would have requests go to auditor first to certify if funds are in budget and if they are then items would be submitted. Ponton says that this gives the auditor the power to not submit items to commissioners court for any reason. Language can be added to clarify that the availability of funds would determine whether items were presented to commissioners court.
Patty Roach says that she would like to comment. Judge would trainer postpone now and discuss at a later date. 
Judge gives Patty two minutes. Patty says this is about functionality. Not about veto power. Purpose is to run an efficient process. She has cross referenced this with other counties. 
Hernandez says that he respects wishes of Vasquez to postpone but if someone else is missing next time the what?
Hernandez asks Patty what is purpose. Patty says that she is trying to prevent items coming to court that do not qualify for funding. Saving time, also making everything more clear as far as funding process goes.
If there is language in this motion that seems to usurp court authority, then we can change language.
Judge wants to be sure that dept heads are not to be restricted from bringing items before commissioners.
Patty says this is not at all the intent of this.
More discussion about intent and clarification of current and proposed process. 
Ponton says language says auditor would present to commissioners court, preventing dept heads from doing so. Patty says this does not even need to be approved, we can do it whichever way, she is just trying to make the whole budget amendment process easier and less confusion during court meetings.
Judge advocates for efficiency, agrees that nobody would be prohibited from coming to court.
Aranda says that he sees the point of getting everything done and ready beforehand. Thanks Patty for doing a good job and trying to help. Thinks that things are better when everything is clarified in advance.
Judge agrees, and says that's why she would like to have this considered by the court. Respects Vasquez's wishes to postpone. Vote on postponement:
Unanimous.

Item 8: Property bid, Millington St in Presidio. Assessed at $9,750. Offered at $6,000.00. Sheriff says he would like to use this property.
Dominguez says yes, we need a storage facility for equipment in Presidio. Would like to use this lot.
Right now it is sitting in sun. Aranda wants to know exactly where it is. Near high school. Sheriff would like to have a separate area from current county yard. 
Judge wants to now if there is a cover there. Hernandez wants to know how much property we already have.
Judge asks Ruben about property. Ruben does not yet have info.
PISD nearby can keep an eye on things. Ruben says that road and bridge will assist in helping sheriff use it.
Ponton says that bidding process for sale of property has to be followed, so if county wants to sell it that will have to be done. Commissioners cannot act on this. Judge says that Perdue has brought this to us, that process has already been made and taken. 
She says she is never anxious to dispose of land. 
Ruben says that his opinion is that sheriff using this land is better for county.
Right now only thing on agenda is to accept or reject bid.
Two lots.
Hernandez makes motion to reject bid.
Unanimous.

Item 9: 
Ramon Carrasco, Kleinman engineering. 
Block grant for Redford Water system contract.
Vicki from Kleinman is here.
Katie Sanchez says this has already been approved but now TDA has signed off on it, this is recertification by court. Formality.
Aranda motions to approve.
Unanimous.

Item 10: 
Law enforcement contract with City of Marfa. Judge says that last commissioners court contract was approved with some changes requested by Sheriff and County Atty. Include that all citations written in City go to City municipal court. Says that she has not had a chance to really go through this. $180,000 of funding to county on the line. Municipal court costs also incurred by city. Hopes that county can work with City and come to an agreement. Would like to hear from Sheriff. One suggestion by city Atty Teresa Todd is that county have a committee to negotiate gaps between two proposed contracts. Says city is willing to work with its county on this. City has already advocated for county airport at legislature. County budget already includes this $180,000 from city for law enforcement. We really need this money, would like to hear from Sheriff.
Sheriff presents.
Says he looked at it. Says this is City Atty contract, not councils contact.
Ponton says that city of presidio spends six hundred thousand dollars on police. Judge wants to know if City must have police. Sheriff says yes, actually city is not paying enough. 
Keyboard quit working, moved to voice recorder, will transcribe.

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