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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting Wednesday Sept 19, 2018, 9:30 AM, Presidio

Presidio County Commissioners Court Wednesday Sept 19, 201

Convene at 9:48 AM

All present other than Brenda Bentley

Citizen comments:
Joe Portillo says this year for the city of Presidio has been very difficult. Aging infrastructure has been a problem, the city has not been competent at doing its best for quite some time. He asks for the County’s support.

Mark Pearson- works with a group that is assisting on the Candelaria water system project. Candelaria has been on the EPA watch list for many years. Naturally occurring arsenic in water. TCEQ as well has been aware and has been patient.
TWDB grants available and has been waiting on a stable board to develop before going forward. $300,000 available and it is the table again.
Good news is that board is now formed and two meetings have been convened with full quorums.
Conference call on Friday at 2:30 to move forward.

Barbara Baskin thanks commissioners for Ruben Carrasco re,ovine Cottonwood trees that had fallen into the arroyo.
Does not know what is going on with the OMB but she was happy about its formation back when it was formed. Her understanding was that it would take care of grants and administration of them. Requests that commissioners have Ruben Carrasco organize his files and make them available to the public at the courthouse. Records missing, one million dollars has been spent in Redford since 2013 and the main outcome has been the destruction of ten min irrigation system which had been functioning since the 1800s.
State inspector came out last month to check it out and said it should be put back to where it was originally. Advocates for term limits for County Commissioners and review nepotism laws for the County.

Announcements from County Judge:
Introduces new judge assistant- Christian Montoya, resident of Presidio. Will use old County Atty office in Annex two days per week. He is a veteran, and also a reserve deputy with Sheriffs office.
Aranda says he supports regular meetings in Presidio of commissioners court. Have at least two meetings per month and have special meetings in Presidio.
County Atty Ponton says 75% of population is in Presidio. Says it’s a great idea.
Judge says in the past four years there has been at least one meeting per month in Presidio. Judge says she would like to have more meetings in Presidio.
Agenda item for next week.
Sam Cobos and judge wrapped up solid waste grant application with COG. Applying for a trailer to pick up trash in Shafter at least once per month.
Went to town hall at Dairy Queen with Will Hurd last weekend. Giant crowd, few county officials. Tough questions on immigration, he did a good job. Will be back on Oct 22 for groundbreaking of the railroad bridge. Big event.
Says that Doak Painter, external auditor, and he will not audit county after this year. Judge asked why. Says he feels like the County is moving backwards. Says we can a long way but progress has stalled and training new people to administer grants is a big minus.
Told judge to budget at least $60,000 to $80,000 in the future for an external auditor. He was doing it for $35,000.
Opposed doing away with the OMB department. He is not the only person who was dejected by the dissolving of OMB and losing Katie Sanchez as part of the financial team.
Judge says magnitude of that decision will continue to unfold over time.
Commissioners announcements:
Aranda says he is sorry to hear about the auditor leaving. He helped us immensely. It had been a big mess.
Says constituents told him and other commissioners they wanted less overhead, less admin.
County auditor says that she has not been able to access the grant information yet. It is being withheld from her, she is trying to get records from grant distributors. She needs permission to get the files from the former OMB Dept.
Frances Garcia says she as not been able to receive anything. Records are in Judge’s office. Judge says she has been busy and out of town. Says she will accommodate them when she has time. She is not ignoring the auditor or treasurer. She has had no help, says this is not deliberate.
Vasquez asks if they will eventually have access to the information 24 hours. Yes, judge says. Aranda says he has nothing against Katie but the rumors are flying. Says he thinks that having Patty Roach as internal auditor has been fantastic and that every County official has done a great job in getting us to a better place. He does not like rumors and lies, people should not be telling commissioners what to do, and we are supposed t e one big family. Cabezuela agrees. Aranda is riled up. This must work out. All counties make changes and continue working. He is hearing a lot of talk and is tired of it. He commends everyone for doing great work, we can get this done.
Judge says she agrees, she doesn’t complain that she doesn’t have help, has to get things done on her own. She agrees that commissioner s court makes the decisions, they are ours alone.

Item 6: approve payroll
Judge asks treasurer if there’s anything unique about payroll. Frances Garcia says no. Total is just over $93,000.
Approved unanimously

Item 7:
Approve minutes of meetings Aug 17, 22, Sept 8.
Approved unanimously

Item 8: discussion and approval of jail exhaust fan replacement change order.
Slide show.
Judge says we need a new ladder to get to roof.
Parker Weimers, jail maintenance director, presents.
Refrigerated air has been installed, replacing evaporative cooling.
Refrigerated air is much better for preserving computer systems.
Current exhaust fans installed in 1993. Draw evaporative cooling air out.
28 exhaust fans. New technology would be half of those, high speed only to evacuate smoke in case of fire.
Old fans are in bad shape, have been band aided and replacement parts have to be custom made.
County has liability of caring for safety of inmates and employees.
Fans outline perimeter of jail plus in center. Newer technology can be designed to match new HVAC system.
Aranda wants to know what the change order would be.
Parker says 14 new fans installed to do the job is about $112,000.
County Atty left meeting, was supposed to have spoken to contractor about this job, was it in contract? Judge says the contact does not say that fans would be replaced, only that existing fans would be made to work with new system. Contractor says he is willing to work with us, but the old stuff may only function for a few months. Has new bid for new equipment with warranty.
Sheriff is asking for replacement with new equipment.
Judge understands  that the contract has been controversial. We need to be able to reopen to federal prisoners. County has already lost $300,000 in revenue. We need to get this done before we lose more.
Aranda agrees. Lots of money, though and contract should be abided by. Upset about the contract issues. It’s easy for us to say that we can just spend the money, but before we make a decision we need to talk to County Atty about what he discussed with the contractor. Contractor is insured, bonded. If there is a breach of contract it’s insured.
Parker says facilities manager Sam Cobos has been making decisions and has never been on the roof.
Vasquez says he agrees we have to get this done, wants to hear what Rod has to say.
Sheriff says he understands the contract issues. The reality is we need to get this done, we can go after the contractor later. This has been postponed three times already, this is going to set us back further. Judge says she will take a break and call Rod Ponton.
Judge says that Alfredo Mediano warned her about connecting old to new equipment, it doesn’t work out usually. Judge also says that Sam Cobos told the contractor in an email that county staff would be sure everything was working before the AC units were to be installed . Sometimes things change, contracts have to resilient.
Gary Mitschke says that smoke inhalation is a much bigger killer than fire. Combustibles in jail are limited but what is combustible, eg mattresses, can kill quickly. This is very important. Exhausting air in a fire is critical.
Commissioners look at more slides and the will break to call Ponton.
Judge Beebe tells commissioners that the jail is the County’s cash register, commissioner Aranda remembers when the jail was closed and what that did to the County. Everything in the jail should be working properly and up to date. The main panel should be replaced immediately, the locks do not work, the exhaust fans are a no brainer. This should be a top priority and should be done without any delay.
Judge calls Ponton on speaker. No answer and voice mail is full.
Calls contractor Jay (unknown) about contract and exhaust fans.
Contractor confirms that contract specified old exhaust fans would be used.
Says his guys are there right now and can do some monies work on existing fans if needed, but replacement was never part of the contract.
Says it’s possible that existing fans could work, he will know by the end of the week if that’s possible.
Judge says that she will be in touch. Aranda asks about timeline for finishing project. Jay says by the end of next week barring problems.
If new fans need to be installed it may add a couple of weeks to the job.
Aranda says he thinks we need to move forward and get this jail set up for next 25 years. Vasquez motions to approve change order and replace fans.
Aranda seconds.
Before vote Judge wants to review scope of work. Asks Sheriff is he agrees with scope of work of change order.
114,099 dollars. Includes everything.
Judge reads order. Sheriff is ok with this.
Aranda is ok with this.

Item 9: approve Operation Stonegarden 2016 resolution to be operated in 2018 and 2019.
Applicable matching funds if rules are not followed. To be returned to office of the Governor.
Judge asks Sheriff I we are ready to go on Stonegarden.
Sheriff Dominguez says yes.
Katie Sanchez says that she needs a few forms for IRS and direct deposit. Still in application process for that but nearly ready to go.
Patty Roach says that transition of grants from OMB to auditor and treasurer has not happened smoothly and this is one of the issues.
Sheriff says in other words the two of y’all need to get together. Judge says she will not sign anything unless she gets every email from every person. This means everything from everyone.
Aranda wants to get this transition done, commissioners court decided this and this should be done immediately. Let’s get this going.
Judge motions to approve the resolution.

Five minute break at 11:21 AM

Reconvene at 11:38 AM

Item 10:
Approve assurances for Operation Stonegarden.
Sheriffs Dept and Katie Sanchez explain that assurances are part of requirements for grant.
Aranda motions to approve.

Item 11:
Engineering agreement for TXDOT TAPS grant project.
Ramon Carrasco of Kleinman construction presents.
City of Presidio is involved in this process, can’t pay the entire match for this project. Kleinman has worked with them in pricing, and will give same discounts to County.
Six months to finish design, as per TXDOT. Going out for bids in June.
Aranda mentions there were some questions as to how contracts were awarded. Judge consulted with Allison and Bass law firm. TXDOT in El Paso said that since Spencer bid was lower we should go with them. AG opinion says that commissioners court has the authority to name who they want. TXDOT legal then reviewed and said we could stick with Kleinman but if audited would have to answer as to why.
Ramon says RFQ for future work on this project should be issued to stay above board in TXDOTs eyes.
Vasquez motions to approve.
Second by Aranda

Item 12: agreement between County and 83rd District Atty office.
Nothing changes from last year to this year. County Atty looked this over and said it was ok.
Aranda motions to approve.

Item 13-16 Airports items brought by Chase Snodgrass.

RAMP grants
50% match. $50,000 for each airport. Up to $100,000 per airport possible to spend.
Aranda motions to approve
Needs County Atty and judge’s signatures.

Chase updates commissioners on Omnibus grants funding.
Says it’s a moving target. 100 percent grant if we get it, we have been pulling out the stops. A month ago Greg Miller from TXDOT says there’s only seven airports in Texas eligible. Was supposed to have info by Sept 1. Possible info by this Friday. FAA decision.
5.7 million. Pavement would be added to make seven inches of pavement.
Dan Williams company from El Paso has bid, only bidder. 4.6 million bid. Under max.
Feds have not yet elevated the money, if they release we have the full funding.
Judge is worried we may not receive grant.
Chase says that Greg Miller “wouldn’t recommend optimism at this time.”
Co7nty is still on the books for the regular, preceding 3.3 million dollars for runway improvements.
Will have to bid if not awarded before Nov 11.
Hangar leases still not ironed out. Could be part of an issue.
Chase says the air traffic control system that has been in place for decades has been a combination of radar and communication by radio. Too much radio traffic in big airports. Becoming unworkable for the FAA.
NextGen is coming. New equipment required for all small planes, kind of pricey for small operators.
Text messaging to screen for pilots.
Identified that they want to put equipment that runs this system locally into the Marfa airport and are willing to pay a monthly lease for space at the airport. Site survey for where to put that equipment happening today, he needs to get back to Marfa.
Judge has to take a phone call. Two minute break at 12:10 pm.

Reconvene at 12:20 PM

Vasquez motion to approve the RAMP grants for Presidio airport.
Second by Cabezuela

Promote Rudy Ester to Airports Operations and Maintenance Supervisor. Chase advocates for Rudy, who is here at the meeting. Chase says he himself was filling that role without any additional pay. Proposed $16.50 per hour with reduction in pay for Chase commensurate to Rudy’s raise.
Judge says she agrees but is concerned about the relation between this item and the next item switching Chase from employee to contract labor.
Chase says he sent his proposal by email yesterday. Judge says that she feels like the changes Chase is asking for can wait until after we have had time to really study the contract and possibly come up with a counter proposal.
She says she is not opposed to changing things, but she thinks they should not rush this and really decide what the County wants to do for the future.
These two employment situations are interrelated.
Chase explains what Rudy would do when asked by Aranda.
Basically manage  airport operations. Vasquez asks how this all works on weekends. Chase says that Rudy works weekend and usually takes Tuesdays and Wednesdays off.
Says Rudy does not take any holidays off.
Does not get paid double time on holidays. They charge the aircraft owners a fifty dollar overtime fee for after hours service.
Rudy would oversee both airports. Currently comes to Presidio airport every Monday.
Uses City of Presidio vehicle when he is here. Airport provides vehicle to get to Presidio in the courtesy car.
Vasquez would like to postpone this item for further study.
Chase says he understands the sentiment to not rush this issue.
Aranda says the budget negotiations are the right time to deal with this.
County Atty needs to review as well. Next week’s meeting.
Aranda commends Rudy for his dedication, the airport’s staff is doing a great job.
Rudy says he really likes his job.
Auditor says this is one of the special raise requests and other departments. Have their own pending. Aranda says he would like to wait until next week to decide on all those, including this one.
Auditor agrees. Says she reviewed contract and may need some review.
Aranda wants to postpone. Aranda motions to postpone item 15. Unanimous.
Judge makes motion to postpone item 16. Unanimous. Next Wednesday.

Item 17: mileage reimbursement for dispatch employee Monica Sanchez. Approved it last week but additional twenty miles not reimbursed.
Extra mileage to get to and from hotels and school. Sheriff provides information.
Aranda motions to approve. Unanimous.

Line item transfers and budget amendments: county auditor

Communications budgets overdrawn.
Clerks office assistant Florcita wages out of elections fund.
Approved unanimously

Back to item 6: bills not yet approved.
Nothing extraordinary.
Approved unanimously.

Break for lunch at 12:46, back to meeting by 2:00

Reconvene meeting at 2:07 PM

Item  19: Budget discussion headed by Auditor
Information distributed by auditor to officials and attendees includes descriptions of changes made to budget in past meetings, current status, updated overview of expenses, comp time payouts to complete comp time and move to paying overtime. Comp time plus holiday time, if paid out now, would costs County approximately $100,000. Comp time for Sheriffs Office is approx $50,000. Jail is around $12,000.
Jail HVAC bills may or may not come during this fiscal year.
Aranda asks about special salary increase requests. Will these employees get an increase and also a 3% increase? Auditor says commissioners have to decide.
Aranda wants to make it clear that if they get a special raise there will not be a 3% on top of that. Possible Chuck Simpson since he is very underpaid.
Talk about giving a flat rate raise instead of a percentage for employees.
External auditor will cost about $60,000. Needs to be budgeted.
Judge asks just why we treat the County enterprise fund as reserves instead of income.
Says that it really hit hard during election year, constituents believe we are spending money we do not have.
Auditor explains to commissioners that labels do not change the reality that you are spending money out of reserves.
Auditor makes case for jail funds not being part of the general overall budget but as separate reserves that can legally be used to offset deficit budgets.
Says that funding salaries, recurring expenses though reserve funds is not a good idea.
Aranda says we are in better shape than before, we have been reducing the deficit, we have cash in the bank.
Auditor agrees we are doing better but she really dislikes deficit budgets.
Reserve funds should be used for special projects.
Judge says we are gathering money but not lowering taxes. Auditor says we must have reserve monies on hand.
Aranda agrees we must have monies in reserves and once we can approve a budget without a deficit we can lower the tax rate.
Six months reserve funds wold be best for bond ratings.
Single audit will be due for fiscal year 2019 in 2020.

Presidio County Underground Water District. Judge cut the monitoring equipment in their budget. $10,000 reduction.
$27,000 more than last year.

DPS budget. Asking for $3,000 in office expense and $3,000 in office supplies.
Judge Beebe says that the commissioners don’t even give enough money to operate the county’s own offices, much less fund other offices. The DPS receives a billion dollars every two years for border security, now asking for County money to fund their office? Outside entities seem to get what they ask for while County offices aren’t allocated enough to get by.
Judge says maybe we can give $1,500 and warn them there might not be any money next year. Commissioners say zero, just the $800 for phones, as has been done in the past. State offices should be funded by the State.
Auditor discusses pipeline tax revenue and lack thereof of major increase in collections to County.
Presidio Public Library contribution went up by $2500 to $5000.
Vasquez says he doesn’t like that the Appraisal District gets raises every year like clockwork. Feels bad that County e,polyester don’t always get them but that every year County gives Appraisal District more funds.
Judge is interested in increases if salary increases and special raises are included. On sheet.
Auditor feels comfortable paying comp time payouts out of reserves since it’s non-recurring.
Auditor recommends county give a same per hour raise, not 3%. Possibly 45 cents per hour. More equitable for hours worked, full time employees.
Aranda agrees.
Sheriff asks if special raises would have across the board raises. No, say commissioners.
Sheriff says he has already budgeted for raises out of his own budget. And if he has done that, they would be excluded from across the board raises only for this year, correct? Yes, just this budget cycle, say commissioners.
Auditor advocates for special raise for Chuck Simpson and Jasmine on the tax office as their current wage rates are lower than some part time workers in the same Dept’s.
Judge goes through special raise requests. Shanna Elmore- sheriff gave up fuel budget for that request. Cooks - 14 hour shifts.
Certified jailers.
Tax office, longevity type raises for clerks. 15, 18, and 3 years in succession on sheet.
Chuck Simpson, judge would like to see him at $13/hr.
Sam Cobos asked for raise. No, no raises for Dept heads.
Road and bridge clerk Lupita Franco. Has been there seven years.
Airport leases - still up in the air. Commissioners need to take action. Some discussion. Need it for grant requirements.
Rudy Estor. Asking for $16.50, commissioners said $16 this morning. He gets bonus pay for fuel sale bonus. Also overtime paid by pilots in off hours.
Talk about whether airport monies all have to stay within the airport funds.
County Clerk is asking for 5% raises for her employees. All have been there more than five years.
Judge is asking about clerk office end of the month reports still being outsourced with four employees in house and years of experience. Clerk wants raises, judge wants to not outsource reports. Aranda says we’ll just leave it the way it is. Aranda says we are doing our best to keep everybody happy and not everyone is going to be happy.
Auditor says that a salary schedule is something that really needs to happen. Judge says she will get each Dept head to do their own research.
Auditor clarifies that all raises will be given except for Cobos and Rudy Estor will be at $16, Jazmin and Chuck will be raised up to a regular level.
Judge wants to wait on the airports decisions until next meeting.
So for now it’s decided that may change.
One more jailer, Maria Sainz has been there a year in Oct and just received certifications.
Judge wants to postpone reports until next week.
Next Wednesday reports approved.
Adjourn meeting at 3:46

Presidio County Commissioners Court Agenda Sept 19, 2018, 9:30 AM, Presidio

Monday, September 17, 2018

Agenda, Texas Sunset Commission Meeting, State Capitol, Aug 29, 2018

Notes from August 29th Texas Sunset Commission hearing regarding DPS license issuance office closures et al.

I was in Austin for Texas Association of Counties Leadership and Legislative Session training and preparation the week of this hearing, and went to the Capitol to attend.
Here are my notes. I stayed from the beginning until I had to leave.

Notes on Sunset Commission Meeting, 9 AM, Wednesday August 29th, 2018.

Decision items:

Texas Military Dept: no modifications or new issues proposed. Move to adopt the report by chair.

No objections. Approved unanimously

Texas Dept of Motor Vehicles:
 Issues include too many industry members on board. Need outside public member.
Chairman Birdwell abstains and says he has a modification.
Says that topic of how regulatory boards are set up was discussed at length at last meeting.
Requests that the Legislature as a whole address this issue for all agencies and boards. Omnibus bill. Board structure changes issues 1.2 would be addressed.
No objections.
Motion for whole item will not include those issues. Unanimously approved.

Kirk Watson has a modification to adopt his modification to1.4. Adopted unanimously.

Issue 1.1 is adopted. Issue one as modified is adopted.

Issue 2:
Fraud warning systems for county tax assessors. Ability to suspend access to system.

Pataki has modification. Instructs DMV to work with county tax assessors to create methods for identifying red flags.

Thompson: training issues. Needs to be available online. Adopted.

Issue 2.4 cooperation between dealers and tax assessors, agency for best practices sharing.

2.5 : ability for agency and tax assessors to audit dealers. Adopted.

Issue 2 with modifications adopted.

Issue 3:
Motion n to remove 3.1 by Lambert. Second. Vote is split, mostly yes.Nevarez votes no. 3.1 is adopted. 6/5 1 abstention. Remainder of issue 3 to be voted on.
General counsel for commission says 3.1 passes for now, but final vote must have majority of members voting, which is 7.
Confusion about passage.
Chairman says every vote must be a majority of the quorum. 6/5 vote means it does not count only on final passage.
Rep Flynn needs clarification.
Motion for adoption of whole issue is key. Chair says 3.2 to 3.9 can be voted on without 3.1.
No modification to overall, 3.1 would be included.
Chair makes motion to vote  on 3.2-3.9

Issue 4.2 modification to keep lease facilitator. Says that leases are confusing, dealers put this in twenty five years ago. Adopted.

Issue 4.1
Rep Flynn moves against entire issue. Says that he does not like the changes.
Vote on 4.1 4.1 is adopted, 6/5/1

Issue 4.3-4.7 up for adoption.
No objections. Adopted.

Issue 5:
Modification by rep Thompson.
Wants 8 year sunset period. Objection. Roll vote
Nevarez votes no.
3 yes, 8 nays, 1 abstention.
Issue 5 as a whole, unmodified.
Vote is unanimously adopted.

New Recomendations:
Rep Paddie:
Faster tech implementation.
Hall asks if we can change a date within a statute.
Deadline was 2021, Paddie says he would like to see the 2018 date, which was originally signed by Texas State.
Not changing deadline.
Buckingham wants to ask DMV rep a question. No objection.
DMV Rep: Whitney Brewster, executive Director. Is the date feasible?
She says March 2019is feasible.
California has a pilot program. Fleet vehicles, electronic plates.
Loss of revenue to State? Study will address this.
Paddie says that his modification addresses timeliness. Why such a late start?
Rep says that they tried, deadline was negotiated, hoped for dec 2018.SB 2076 got in the way, not completed in time.
Paddie wants to change his modification to March 2019.
Nichols wants to wrap up this study quickly.
Earlier the better for session purposes.
Dept needs to identify any statutory impediment to a pilot program. He sees no reason this should be delayed at all. Information needed for session.
Paddie says end of March is ok with him.
Modification adopted.

 Recommendation 1 adopted.

Buckingham recommendation 2:
 Oversight of salvage vehicle industry.
Less reactive, more proactive


Buckingham recommendation 3:
 Criminal history of salvage dealers and business partners.

Hall recommendation 4:
Audits by comptroller of tax assessors. Rolling it into existing audits of tax assessors.
Hall has a new modification, previous sentence references it.
Watson has a question about giving DMV the ability to audit, not comptroller.
Hall says this is for the comptroller, not DMV.
Comptrollers office has looked at this to make it revenue neutral.
Watson says it should not be discretionary to determine audit. Why is this not already included in the existing audit?
Would analyze processes, not just revenue.
Modification to recommendation adopted.
Paddie asks about insertion of comptroller issues in DMV sunset. Could this cause a problem later?
Director says that it is possible it could add a comptrollers statue in the bill. Not a problem, necessarily. Says sometimes that could open up the possibility for extra amendments. Paddie has this is his objection. Chair would like to accomplish the same goal without taking on the risk. Director says that if direction was given for DMV to have a duty to consult with comptroller on this. Director wants to know if the issue should be pulled or worked out now.
Chair says committee will stand at ease for twelve minutes and get language together.

Recommendation is adopted.


Issue 1:
Close inefficient offices. 11/1 does not pass.

Nevarez brings up Presidio as examples of a lesser used office not necessarily inefficiency.
He brings up mega centers in urban areas to be overkill. Small rural offices are not overkill.
Sen Hall: agrees with Nevarez. Brings up that when the State requires the public to do something we must not make it difficult to do.  He had a closure of an office in his district with some flimsy excuses as to why. Onus is on legislators to have an efficient system. DPS should provide a better service, not less. He found out several offices are only open one or two days per week. He did not know. Offices are not providing the service that is required. Need to be serving people.
Rep Flynn agrees  with sentiments wholeheartedly. How office has heard from constituents vehemently.
Nichols: it’s clear that the definition of inefficient offices is incorrect. Inefficiency is making people drive hours to wait in lines.
Call centers also have an issue. Only handling 5000 calls out of 25,000 per day.
Chair says that it’s clear that in this case inefficiency to the State is efficient to the citizens.
Sunset had the confidence to make recommendations. This works.
Four out of five recommendations tend to make it into policy change.
Director says that the DPS issues have been very confusing. Lots of misinformation. Sunset commission wanted to protect the rural areas.
Offices to be closed were near mega centers, duplication of services. DPS provided their own list of inefficient offices.
Chairman says that if the Sunset commission is going to change the structure of the agency, it would not be wise to change operations before the change in operating structure.
Flynn says that requiring the public to require things the public needs to be able to do them at their convenience, not ours.
Nichols says that the word inefficient was not defined clearly, just referencing for next time.
DPS was bringing up rural versus mega centers.

Item 1.2 : Birdwell would like to privatize analysis on transferring license issuance to DMV rather than internal inter agency rivalry getting in the way.
Watson elaborates on additional modification to modification.
Recognition that this system is broken and needs to be fixed.
We need funding, otherwise it will be static. Watson  wants to ask Lege for funding, hopefully get a bill for transfer in 2021. If no funding, then we move.... Hall would like to move this up, have it happen even faster. This is a needed fix.
Watson says this is urgent but it’s bigger then being able to do it quickly.
Concern is this is done correctly. Second, third and fourth order of effects are very important. Two legislative sessions needed, says Birdwell.
If study is not funded, new modification funds transfer in 2021 session. Move to DMV. Two agencies equal in stature and power will not be able to work this out on their own. Third party necessary.
Hall has an objection, says deterioration of service cannot wait five years.
Watson says DPS needs to hear how fed up we are, hopes it does not lead to additional inefficiency in agency.
If 86th funds recommendation report is done by Sept 1 2020. if not, then process starts and transfer occurs by Sept 1, 2021., after 87th weighs in.
What is the likelihood of no funding being approved? Watson says he thinks this will be a priority, but he cannot guarantee.
Nichols says this would be a major change in budgeting, we need to be sure we get it right the first time, rather than having to come back to it.
Agrees with taking time.

Modification amended as modified, adopted

Issue 2:

DPS  Border Security Performance:
Nevarez has a concern:
Flynn issues objection to issue 2: says DPS has already taken care of it.
Objection to entire item
Issue 2:  vote on entirety:

Nevarez: says that he is concerned bout wording. Mission was outlined two sessions ago. Says crime statistics reporting with regard to what is border security and not border security. Says all crimes are being bootstrapped into border security crimes. Many crimes do not apply.
Seems like recommendation is weekly worded in order to quantify success.
If we want to do it better, this is not adequate.
2.2 says that DPS was already ordered to do this. Very detailed task was assigned. Wording here is not detailed.
Birdwell responds that the process was indeed detailed, this would make the reporting non-discretionary. This is not a change in the requirements.
Nevarez says that this is a political issue, if we are going to do this, what are we getting back? Statistics need to reflect the facts of actual border issues, not just regular issues that occur everywhere. Accurate, not co-mingled data.
Birdwell understands and says he will call the vote. Thinks Nevarez’s concern is valid, might be best to codify within Legislation. Does not want to consider a last minute modification without time to deliberate it.
Nevarez says that he doesn’t think a modification is necessary and that the bill as it was passed four years ago has not generated quantifiable results.
Flynn says that he believes that this is all being done well, already being done. Says extra reporting is unnecessary.
Adoption of issue 2 vote:
Nevarez has an objection to issue 2.1 , 2.2, and 2.3
Vote on entirety.
Flynn and Nevarez vote no, all yes otherwise. Issued 2 adopted.

Issue 3:
Private Security Board.
Modification by Birdwell to have board members of public safety commission delegate the members of the private security board. Passed unanimously

Watson modification to 3.1 adopted. Eliminates some licenses. Options for licensing . Adequate experience is classified as comparable experience to the existing requirements.
 Nevarez recommendation unnecessary now that earlier adopted.

Issue three adopted with modifications.

Left meeting at 11:47 AM


Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting Tues Sept 11 2018, Marfa

Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting Tuesday Sept 11, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

All Commissioners present other than Loretto Vasquez
Also present: County Atty Rod Ponton

I entered the meeting at 10:20 AM, had office work to do beforehand.

Item 7: Mindy Seahorn presents health and eye insurance options for County. Commissioners vote to continue eye care insurance
Regular TAC health insurance. This year went down one percent for our County. No surplus distributions this year but small distribution from third year of 2015 spread out distribution.
Dental coverage was approved in July by Court as was health insurance.

TAC changing pharmacy benefit manager. Prescription management new provider is Navitas. Mail order supplies available.
Phone visits with doctors available.
Chronic pain, back issues treatment plan available. Similar to chiropractic care.
Arasti (sp?)
Judge thanks Mindy for coming from San Angelo to present.
Judge asks her to come ack to present to employees in. Presidio. She , they will schedule

Item 10: Presidio County Appraisal District budget.
Five minute break at 10:38 AM.
Reconvene at 10:45

Chief appraiser Cynthia Ramirez presents
Naomi Francis, office clerk and Samantha Salgado and Annabelle Pena also in attendance.
Talk about tests and employees paying for their own tests.
Ponton asks how many employees, five, only one works in Presidio. Rod says that having another employee in Presidio could help raise values in Presidio. City administrator Joe Portillo believes that many structures are not on the books, many undervalued and have not been surveyed for appraisals in quite some time. Says the City of Presidio relies on property tax more than other entities.
Ramirez says she is not aware of any undervalued properties, would like to be informed if there are any.
There is a new reappraisal plan in the works for the County. Judge will elaborate on it next week.
Presidio values this year decreased. She says she has no sales information, needs some.
Aranda agrees with Joe Portillo’s opinion about the undervalued or missing assets in Presidio.
Judge says that laborers in Presidio are hard to get, they want the same rates as they can get in Marfa.
Budget of 475,054 last year. Had a surplus, now can be 511,000. This year 491,000.
Asks for raises, increase in phone costs. Switched from ATT to Big Bend Telephone. More expensive but more secure, following hack earlier this year. Better security, faster speeds. Additional security contract with outside provider for IT service. 16,000 additional costs associated with this.
Increased audit costs, increase in mileage.
Judge motions to approve budget.
Aranda seconds. Unanimous.

Item 11:  Presidio County 4H consignment Auction participation.
City of Presidio asked to see if we could host an event like this to raise money for 4H activities.
Ten percent collections to host. City of Presidio has agreed to participate, now asking if County would like to participate as well.
Oct 18,19 receiving items in Presidio city lot. Sale is Oct 20th.
Presidio 4H is small but growing.
Essentially it’s a surplus sale for government agencies and also for individuals. Much like a citywide garage sale.
Judge wonders if commissioners know of things they could declare surplus.
Ponton says it’s legal if we sell things and donate the ten percent back to 4H.
This can be worked out.
Reba Griggs, 4H Director says it would be a great help to 4H.
Commissioners want to help, will study it and get back to Reba.

Item 12:
Auditor’s line item transfers:
Elections costs still being worked out, supplies for Nov election being ordered now.
Extra utility costs for golf course.
Communications costs for various departments.
Not addressed: money for reimbursements for dispatch training. Upcoming two day class in Alpine.
Five minute break while Auditor investigated whether this has been done. Break at 11:11 AM.
Reconvene at 11:19 AM.
Dispatch item added, 250 dollars for travel for dispatch class.
Approved unanimously.

Budget presentation by Auditor:
Salary increase for employees and/or elected officials and effect on overall budget.
Handout for commissioners updating overall budget position.
Deleted OMB budget for approx 108,000. Added $1,500 for code enforcement in Marfa area.
Judge sent email to Dept heads to cut budgets. Sheriffs office only respondent. Said they could reduce fuel costs to help cover raise for Shanna Elmore, admin assistant.
Handout describes shortfalls, etc.
Airports has some more requests.
County Atty PTD fund is adequate to cover requests. Dedicated funds.
Special raises requests handout offered.
Aranda says that before we get to raises other than salaried employees we are down $192,000. Yes,  before special raises, elected officials.
Auditor looked at individual budgets over the last two years and is pointing out unused funds in certain budgets. Not necessarily recommending cutting, but just presenting. These are all small potential cuts.
Judge says she can cut some of her memberships and dues budget by $700.
Elections: there will be two elections this year. No reductions.
Virgie says she doesn’t see it being fair to cut her budget or any department’s budget to fund special raises for other departments.
Bentley says it’s the whole budget that’s short.
Talk about cutting furniture budget in Clerk’s office.
Slightly reduce travel costs on Clerk’s office.
Commissioners budget: Bentley says we were missing a commissioner for most of the year. Two new commissioners including incoming Buddy Knight and Jose Cabezuela needing training.
“Other services” in non-departmental. Auditor says that it’s been kind of a contingency fund, approx $20,000 in there for surprise expenses.
Judge recommends cutting, auditor would like to leave about ten thousand in there because of gas card and copier expenses. Each year about $27,000.
Leave 35,000 in there total.
Water district budget: judge would maybe like to cut some of the training costs.
Judge will get with Trey Gerfers and Carolyn Macartney about this before next week and get details.
JP Presidio: has uniforms in budget. Bentley says she does not feel comfortable with cuts. County policy is uniforms only for law enforcement and road and bridge. Commissioners vote to cut uniforms.
JP budget: looking to possibly cut office supplies and travel. Beebe says he is late turning in receipts, did it yesterday and is over budget for both categories, funded two out of five trainings completely out of his own pocket.
County Atty: pre-trial diversion fees cover much of costs. Rod would like to move fuel costs to travel and training for County Atty assoc training.
Salary for secretary in Presidio is paid for by PTD funds, Rod ants to give same three percent raise as all employees.
Treasurer: Cheryl will need to attend training this year as she missed last year.
District Atty budget will remain the same.
OMB eliminated
Tax Assessor: expenses are down from last year. Bentley thinks office expense line item could go down a bit. Natalia Williams would like to leave it here it is, some deferred expenses. Furniture and equipment lines scrutinized. She is worried about needing new computers.
County Courthouse: office expense for Sam. Judge wants a wall or at least a conference table under capital expense.
County Annex: cut some in office expense. Cut $300.
Operating supplies: lower to $2000.
Commissioners going line by line, cutting here and there
Talk about Sam Cobos using outside contractors for jobs that could be done in house or by him.

(I definitely do not like this approach, as necessary as it may seem, since it punishes Dept heads for staying within their budgets while outside entities the County also gives funding to do not receive the same treatment at all)

Sheriff wants to reduce fuel budget to fund special raise for Shanna Elmore.
$3600 from fuel to salaries.
Operating supplies: Sheriff has not used much of the $1800 requested.
Capital expenses, auditor unsure of what it is for. Cameras, Sheriff says, and also needing a computer for South County office.
Education and travel: funded by LEOS funds and general.
County agent needs a new computer, her computer is ten years old.
Emergency Management: maintenance on the radio communications repeaters. Lease agreement for Chinati repeater is $7200. Backup generator panels for Redford. Reverse 911 system.
Repairs and maintenance for truck was $6000. $1600 already incurred.
DPS looking for phone bill payment. $800. County owned phone.
Judge wants to find out what other counties give to DPS.
Road and bridge Dept: operating supplies up. Ruben wants to bring equipment up to minimum standards. Everything is very old. New used motor grader is budgeted at $17,100.
New S county yard pipe expense etc for gate, fence.
No TXDOT materials available right now or vehicles.
Aranda is looking out for good used equipment.
Dump truck needed. Found one for $28,000 (used) Old one is from the 80’s.
2018 GMC Sierra for $30,000.
Sam Cobos: commissioners have some questions for him.

Larry Cordova from Alpine Memorial Funeral Home brings commissioners court pizzas in honor of 9/11,
Break for lunch at 1:16 PM. All employees at the courthouse who wanted to eat got plenty of food. Very nice gesture!

Reconvene meeting at 1:45

Budget report tabled.

Treasurer’s report: Frances Garcia. Vacation owed$42,361
Comp 90,000 plus change.
Overtime, are we going there? Judge says she thinks we should go to overtime and not face the liabilities of comp time.
Sheriff says Sept 28 meeting with Stonegarden grant admin and grants should start, funding overtime, sometime in October or just afterwards.
Hopefully Stonegarden can cover all Sheriff office overtime for deputies.
Overtime at jail can’t be helped. Judge needs to take to Sheriff about a particular deputy with regard to Stonegarden overtime.
Big Bend Telephone costs are high.
Shanna Elmore asks for a copy of the bills. Missing dispatch reimbursement bills. Not in bills, will have to wait until next week.
Airport hangar leases: still not sorted out. Could put grant funding in jeopardy.
Talk about what to do.
Commissioners approve reimbursements to dispatch workers for training once amounts are presented. Done. Amounts are located and presented, approved. $794.10
Treasurer will not pay Big bend Telephone bill until judge talks to them about billing.
Treasurers report approved unanimously

Back to budget talks at 2:04 PM.
Sam Cobos is here to answer questions about Redford Center.
Repairs for Redford: windows now open and close, serve as emergency exits. Repairs and upgrades to falling apart front fence, basketball court and lighting poles converting to shade. Outdoor benches for outdoor seating.
Shade structure most of costs in budget for repairs.
Cattle come in to graze through the back fence, which has fallen down.
Bentley wants to know if this will be done in house. Yes, Sam says.
Aranda reiterates how they would like to see most work done in house.
Sammy says that now that facilities are up to basic standards, we can do work in house and not hire so many contractors.
Vizcaino Park repair budget: clubhouse at golf course has leak problem with front part off roof. Needs to be raised and redone to a iPod water leakage inside. Fence from gate at park will be partially replaced. Using some TXDOT supplied posts all the way to golf course.
Trees to be added at Vizcaino.
No dump truck available for baseball field and road maintenance.
Court decided the gate closing apparatus can wait. Adjust scheduling for employees to close the gate.
Aranda wants to set specific hours for the park rather than closing at sunset possibly. Discussion about employees driving their own cars.
Courthouse repairs: HVAC maintenance and repairs, three pressure tanks, two boilers need replacement or repair.
Fourteen air handlers in building, usually two go out per year.
County Annex: $11,500 budgeted for repairs. Conversion of building C ( food pantry) conversion from Evap air to refrigerated air is $7000. Not necessary but definitely would benefit the building for meetings or offices.
Bentley wants to cut.
Four units in buildings A and B. Other air conditioners there are twelve years old, slightly newer for two.
Jail and Dispatch:
Jailers and cooks have potential special raises.
Not a lot of questions about this. About retention, says Aranda.
Also asking for a new van. Capital outlay is really high because of the HVAC project not being complete in this fiscal year, plus additional work to jail.
Bentley asks if when jail is finished will federal prisoners come back. Yes, sheriff said he spoke to marshals yesterday. Main panel replacement needs to happen first. Waiting to see when County can pay, need to take action. Will be on agenda next week.
Dispatch budget: contracts with Presidio and Marfa have been renewed.
$18,000 per year per entity.
In the past most of the dispatch expenses came out of Sheriffs office budget. Last year dispatch budget was $500, this year more realistic at $5000.
Airports: omnibus funding approved as far as we know. Paper reported it, have heard reliable rumors otherwise.
Reduced overall budget by $57,000 today.
Stonegarden funds could reduce Sheriffs Office budgeted labor costs by some amount, but not major. Just added hours for border duty deputies. Very strict now.

Judge motions to postpone all reports until next week.
Adjourn at 2:45

Next week’s meeting Wed Sept 19th at County Annex in Presidio at 9:30

Presidio County Commissioners Court Agenda Tuesday September 11th, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

Budget Documents distributed at meeting 9/5/2018 incl Special raise requests, M&O update, overall budget deficit synopsis

The County Auditor supplied these documents at the meeting.

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting notes 9/5/2018

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Special Meeting Wed 09/05/2018, 1:30 PM, County Judge's office, Marfa

Commissioners present:
Brenda Bentley, Jose Cabezuela, Loretta Vasquez, Eloy Aranda, Judge Cinderela Guevara.
County Atty Rod Ponton also present at table.

Meeting convened at 1:30 PM

Item 14: budget discussion will take a long time, says Judge. Would like to see a general agreement on raises or employees and/or elected officials. Must publish any raises for officials in the newspaper. Auditor has prepared some worksheets about where we are in the budget.

Quorum established.

Citizen Comments: None

Announcements from County Judge.
Meeting at St George at 3:00 about US 67 corridor. Judge will attend, commissioners may as well.
Will Hurd will be here at Dairy Queen on the 15th.
Received a letter from Sen Rodriguez urging County to assist water district.
Next week is regular meeting, will be in Marfa.

Commissioners: no announcements

Approve payroll: postponed until timesheets provided

Item: designating former duties of OMB office to other offices. Vasquez says he envisions some balance of the Treasurer's office and the Auditors office taking on those responsibilities.
Purchase orders and requisitions, grant management, bidding processes, inventory, project management. Judge thought Vasquez would have an outline of what to propose. Vasquez says no, but he would like to talk to to Auditor and Treasurer to see what they think should happen.
Bentley thinks this is doable. Asks auditor if she is willing to do some of this. Bentley says inventory should be in Treasurer's office, purchasing and requisitions in Patty's office. Bidding process for projects?
Project management? Judge describes what happened with BigBend Telephone project and Katie's role. Point of contact for County.
Talk about whether Judge has to sign every Purchase order. At this point, yes, according to statute. Differing opinions about AG opinion on this issue...
Judge says that maybe County Atty can really delve into the details.
More discussion...
Bentley asks if Treasurer and Auditor have decided how best to split the duties?
Frances Garcia says that they have been talking about this, but nothing firm.
Auditor says that bidding and purchasing should stay together and Auditor is willing to take this on. Inventory for Treasurer, since she goes to Presidio pretty often.
Auditor says dept heads should and can be involved in project management.
Aranda says that we have grant administration doing these jobs already when we contract with Grantworks, etc.
Auditor says that's not necessarily the case. Some are done internally such as Stonegarden, RAMP grants for airport, etc.
Aranda says he has not thought much about this.
Judge says that a Point of Contact for the County will be absolutely necessary once we get Stonegarden going again.
 Bentley wants to give this issue more time. Aranda and Vasquez agree. Aranda repeats that he wants to talk more with everybody and figure out what to do, get it right.
Vasquez moves to postpone this item until further information can be gathered.
Second by Cabezuela. Unanimous.

Back to payroll item. Frances Garcia presents time sheets and general information.
Payroll postponed again until 2:37 Pm. Pick up there after item 13.

Item 8: cage order and estimate for new exhaust fans at Presidio County Jail. Very important item. Judge wrote a letter about this. Ponton says there will be a meeting next week. Ponton says that there is an argument about the scope of the contractors bid. Ventilation system included in the bid package.
Ponton says this should be part of their responsibility to install the new fans, they claim it is not.
Sam Cobos has been talking to them about this.
Jail cannot reopen to federal prisoners until this is fixed.
Jail employee Mark says that fans were working before the new air conditioners were installed. Some of the fans were not working properly. Company did try to integrate the system but there were problems. The main jail panel should have been replaced, everything is 25 years old. He recommends replacing all the old stuff so we can get twenty more years out of the jail. The jail takes in about $150,000 per month.
Sheriff says that the jail will not score well regardless of whether the work is scheduled or not. This is a danger to employees and inmates.
Sheriff says that the longer we wait and postpone the longer it will take. This increases liabilities.
Judge is worried about litigation with the contractor. Where has the project manager, McKinstree, been?
Sam Cobos says that they recommended to form and application for this project.
We added an attachment to it telling the contractor we needed everything necessary to pas jail standards for job to be complete, as part of bid. Smoke evacuation systems included.
Discussion with contractor and project manager, engineering firm next Thursday. Sam sent Meeting invitations to sheriff, jail admin, county Atty, Treasurer and Auditor. Situation will be resolved after whatever mediation is had to reach an agreement.
Control panel for jail door locks will also be discussed.
Cobos thinks the electrical contractor that was brought in did an insufficient job on reinstalling the electrical .
Research as to whether TAC insurance may cover some of this expense. Would push forward installation of repaired or new systems.
Sam wants commissioners to approve an installation of new fan system, but not approve to pay.
Judge is worried they will not finish the project. Ponton says that we have not yet paid them their balance, they have an incentive to finish the project and get paid.
Judge is worried about jail repairs being held up based on negotiation issues.
Aranda agrees that we need new equipment, everything should be new.
We need to do this to benefit the next twenty five years. We are losing money now, lets go ahead and do this.
Total would bring the cost of retrofitting the jail up to just under a million dollars.
Auditor says that it could be done; it will reduce our reserve balance. County Atty says that the ventilation system must be fixed, issue is only who will pay for it. Agenda item is exhaust fans only.
Motion by Bentley to authorize change order to fix fans and authorize county Atty to negotiate who will pay for it. Unanimous.

Item about redesignation of County domain name. Transferred to new host management company. New paperwork.
Judge motions to approve
Second by Aranda

Item about Ameritrust Vision plan. Item was meant to be for meeting on 11th. Mindy Seahorn will attend. Postponed until the 11th. This item and next about TAC benefits.

Both postponed.

Item 12: about central control panel at jail. Jail control system with lifetime warranty. Updates to software continuous. $61430.84
Grant funding looked into but not enough time to wait for a grant, it looks like.
Judge wonders if emergency grant funding from COG might be available.
No, grant would come through the State.  No time for waiting. Possible insurance coverage on this.
Item on agenda is to exempt from formal bidding process.
Over 50,000 and this does qualify as an emergency expenditure. Jail only has one door for exit right now without power locks.
Ponton recommends approving item 12. Aranda moves to approve .
Second by Judge . Unanimous.

Item 13: RFP for bidding for jail control system. Item unnecessary since exemption was approved.
No action on item 13

Back to Payroll: reviewing time sheets. Five minute break while Judge checks on some time sheet anomalies.
Judge does not have additional questions on payroll.
Bentley motions to accept.
Approved with two small changes.

Item 14: Auditors report:
Line item transfers, budget amendments. Skip to 15 as Auditor is busy.

Line item transfers: road and bridge, gas air compressors.
District court, courthouse fuel costs, golf course utility bills, clerk and tax office for Canon copiers leases
County agent travel expenses.
County Atty furniture for file cabinet and printer.
ATT bills still coming to some offices.
Communications costs are causing many depts to go over their budgets.

Budget amendments: grant income and expense for grant not previously In budget

Jail panel and vent fans projects. Budget them in case we need to pay all costs.
Must have amendment done in case a purchase order is needed. Emergency expenditure.
Line item transfers and budget amendments accepted in two motions and two votes unanimously.
Emergency expenditure approved.
Judge motions to postpone auditor dept analysis report.

Back to Item 14: Again, approve bills.
Question about fuel usage in road and bridge dept.
Aranda says that free material from TXDOT had to hauled. Long distances, many trips. All logged in books.
Bentley motions to approve. Second by Aranda. Unanimous

Auditors report on budget:

Patty Roach has presentation regarding different scenarios for pay increases for employees, elected officials, related projections.
Four different funds:
Maintenance and Operations: shortfall of monies by 166,466.
Costs of special requests :
Overtime requests:
Special funds: jail, airports , county Atty PTD fund
Options are cut budget, raise taxes, or spend reserves.
Attached sheet with numbers.
Three percent raise proposed.
Attached sheet: budget increases and decreases attached.
Temp labor must be processed through payroll from now on. Adds expense.
Decrease in expense for OMB office not included in these numbers. Subtract 108,000. Deficit in existing budget without raises about 59,000.

Judge says that she has heard from sources that we have gotten the full funding for the airport grant, saving County 330,000.

Fiscal year anomalies on jail HVAC project have changed funding dates for project. Still unknown.

Judge says that she believes that commissioners may want to ask the cities to bill us per run for EMS services.
Judge Beebe asks if reimbursements for insurance collections would be considered in reimbursements.
Discussions about this, plus Sheriff brings up monies City of Marfa did not pay for Sheriff's services after March of 2017. Services provided through August according to Sheriff. Judge says there will be litigation on this matter.
Sheriff says they need to pay what they owe.
Aranda says the City of Presidio is paying money owed back, but the City of Presidio does not have that kind of money. As long as they keep up with payments on tax collections owed they'll be fine. Why not ask City of Marfa to pay us over time.
Aranda says we should talk to the city about payment.
Ponton says we have the authority to other services we pay city for, give city credit.
Judge would like to have a conference call between Judge, Atty Jim Allison, and County Atty. Ponton would rather deduct.
Judge would not like to deduct the money from the Fire dept if we are going to deduct.
Aranda says that at the end we are hurting ourselves is we sue or withhold payments. We should just meet with them and talk about it.
Judge agrees. We could put it back on the agenda.
Vasquez agrees.
Judge writes down, says she can draft a letter, ask for a meeting, inform City of potential deductions.
Judge also says that City of Marfa wants to bill the County for City of Presidio EMS runs. Questions why County would have to work out that with the City of Presidio.
Talk about what happens with double payments from County and insurance companies. County will try one last time to negotiate with City prior to budget.
City of Presidio EMS services? Joe Portillo asks for fair treatment. Wants an ESD.
Last year $100,000 from County.
Talk about ESD.
Aranda complains that after all these years we still don't have proper numbers from Presidio EMS regarding costs, reimbursements.
Bentley says perhaps we should leave the numbers as they are from last year's budget.
Presidio has three times the mileage for runs as Marfa, 36,000/100,000 is pretty equitable, according to Katie Sanchez. Works out to cover the same service, different costs.
Judge brings up trash trailer for Shafter, pay when Ruben brings a trailer, cash payments accepted.
Auditor reminds Judge the County is already in a deficit budget.
Payroll increases:
Aranda brings up 3% increase versus an increase of the same amount for each employee. He likes giving every employee the exact same monetary raise, rather than a percentage.
Judge says that part time workers tend to benefit more in that scenario. Made some part time workers get larger raised than full time workers.
Auditor recommends pro rating a raise based on hours worked.
909 for full timers, elected officials, overtime would count as well. 20 hour week person $468, deputies $1008.
Vasquez is interested in possible longevity pay.
Auditor brought a list of special raises for individuals who have worked for County for years.
Attached sheet details proposals.
Auditor cautions against giving raises out of reserves, continuous funding, continuous costs.
Virgie asks about a salary survey, she thought that was going to happen, if this proposal is the case, she would like raises for her staff as well.
Attached sheet with summary of dept increases including raises.
Commissioners look at detail of Underground Water District budget
Attached doc.
Bentley says she would not have an issue with not giving raises to elected official and dept heads. Says we are still playing catch up with employees and other items. Vasquez says hitting reserves every time is a problem. Tends to agree with Bentley.
Judge says that she thinks everyone should get a raise, but that the raises that have been asked for are commensurate with the jobs that are being done. Lots of underpaid staff in very important positions.
Savings of about $18,000 .
Vasquez would like to give employees a raise for sure, thinks not giving one to dept heads and elected officials is the right idea at this point.
Questions about airport worker in Marfa major raise. Dept head Chase is requesting lowering his own pay. Commissioners want more information on what Rudy's additional duties would be. Fuel sales incentive pay already exists.
Incoming commissioner Buddy Knight says that if airport manager is not there employees will have to deal with NOTAMS and pilots and hangar owners. Lots of interaction with outside agencies. Need to be careful with this, find out what is proposed to happen here.
Judge asks Sheriff if he would consider raising employees to $15.50/hr. Sheriff says every bit helps. Jailers have a very tough job. Makes money for a County, has no idea where it went. Millions of dollars. Jail produces more money than any dept in the County. Retention has been a major problem since County dropped wages from $18/hour to $13/hour.
Judge says we have the best benefits of any County. She doesn't know how anyone can look at that and not see the benefit.
Sheriff says that he wants to make sure that his requested raises get in.
Virgie says that she is ok with no raise for herself if she can get something for her employees. Aranda agrees.
27,288.00 saved if no dept heads and elected officials get three percent raise.
If no raise for elected officials, no advertising needed.
Aranda wants to send a memo to all dept heads about cutting wherever possible.
Judge will give any cuts for depts to auditor before next Wed. Raises for employee proposals will be further hashed out.
Elections expenses for Clerks offices this year were high. Affected her budget as she needed many line item transfers. She is asking for same numbers this year as last year.

Adjourned at five o five pm.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Presidio County Commissioners Court Special Meeting Agenda Wed Sept 5th, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

Presidio County 2019 preliminary M&O budget handout August 22, 2018

There will be a future post updating these numbers.
This was given out at the meeting. 

Presidio County Underground Water Conservation District Budget 2019

I believe this is the proposed/ budget- Unknown if it has been approved yet. The $5000 for the Field Technician was questioned by County Commissioners. See notes for meeting.

Notes of Presidio County Commissioners Court Special Meeting August 20, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting Wednesday August 22nd, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa Commissioners present: Brenda Bentley, Loretto Vasquez, Eloy Aranda, Jose Cabezuela, Judge Cinderela Guevara Also present: County Atty Rod Ponton Meeting convened at 9:32 AM Citizen comments: Trey Gerfers, underground water district. Introduces Carolyn McCarty, new manager. Office is being set up, thanks commissioners. Carolyn will be representing at meetings. Invites everyone to eminent domain town hall at Crowley theater this sat at 5:30. Experts will present . Rod Ponton: wants to talk about last meeting. Judge says we’re not at that item yet. Item 5: Judges announcements: Judge says that she will allow Rod to make an announcement. Rod says he was unable to attend. Wants to respond to lack of prosecutions and convictions from his office. Request made by County Clerk. Says that such a request is ill advised and also illegal. Only a prosecutor can make a determination to prosecute. Quotes a legal opinion. Prosecutorial discretion needs to be executed in good faith. Goes on to discuss more. Other item: regarding pre trial diversion funds to be placed within the general fund instead of county attorneys pre trial diversion fund. Says that the program is used to help people out on small cases. Fee goes to reimburse Count Atty office for pre trial diversion program. Special fund to administer the program. No other permissible use. Bentley asks what percentage of cases are not pre trial diversions. Ponton says approximately half. Judge calls meeting to order. Says County Atty had too much to discuss. Says that we can come back to this once we discuss your budget. Judge met with DPS Sgt Sneed about joining in a program to be able to sign blood warrants on the phone. Not able to do this right now because of a pre existing program. PIPA met last week, had a quorum and an update. Judge gives a short overview of the meeting. Agriculture trade issues discussed. Aranda asks about rail progress in Mexico. Community open house meeting on water improvements in Candelaria. We must have a board convened; it has been years. Last night a board was convened. Five people were appointed. Arsenic removal for water grant had been pursued, no board was convened. Now that there is a board in existence we can reapply for that money. Meetings will be every month with the new board for the time being. Commissioner Cabezuela urged locals to join the board and was successful. Commissioners announcements: Aranda says that he is talking to TXDOT to look at materials that could be donated to County. They have a lot and we need it; they are trying to clear an old materials yard. Judge urges requesting materials that both cities may need as well. No other comments Item 6: payroll approval Treasurer Frances Garcia says that there are no anomalies within this payroll. Judge asks if any comp time was paid out. No. Total payroll 94,270.27 dollars. Approved unanimously Item 7: Abolition of County Office of Management and Budget. Judge gives some history of the office. Created by Judge Hunt and commissioners in 2014. Aranda was on that court as well. Purpose of office: to promote continuity in the county. Detailing inventory. Additional duties such as utilities added later. In the past grant management was done by elected officials. Grant management knowledge stays within the OMB office. There has always been contention towards this office. Accusations include interference with Treasurer and County Judge. Judge took office and did not initially understand what the office does and was in favor of abolition. Now that she knows what it does, she says it is a great help to the County. At that time audits were not in compliance. Vasquez says that in working on budget very few small counties have three financial offices. Proposes to keep auditor and treasurer and have easier communications and saving county monies. It is time to do something since it is budget time. Saving money for the County is the main purpose. Judge says that audits were brought back into compliance, OMB also discovered other things we needed to get into compliance with DPS and other grant requirements. Inventory tracking itself is huge. Mileage logs are part of the duties. Very important for grant compliance. Huge task. RFQs and RFPs are tracked. This is not the responsibility of the auditors office. Who will do this work? Do commissioners plan to abolish OMB only to have another department come to request another employee. Vasquez says that his idea is to have Jeanne Hall transfer to another office. Ponton makes an assertion that OMB has to do this work and auditor is not permitted. Bentley asks how in the world other counties get by with this. Ponton says that the issue of abolishing this office troubles him as your attorney to try to keep the county out of potential litigation. Has a handout that shows that abolishing the office has the same effect as firing Katie Sanchez. Bentley says no. Rod says yes. Rod says that a political retaliation suit from Sanchez could be a risk. Reads a memo he wrote. Quotes some recent case law about first amendment rights to run for office without fear of retaliation. Adverse Employment Action suit. Ponton recommends keeping the office and not exposing the county to liability. Bentley says every decision we make exposes us to liability. Commissioners have the right to eliminate an office. This is a budgetary item. The Judge has a position she can fill available right now. She does not feel like she can be held hostage to a threat of a lawsuit. Ponton says that the ill will between the Treasurer and Katie is well known. Aranda says one of his re election Campaign issues was eliminating the reduction of top heavy management in the acounty. Bentley says it’s the same for her. People come to her and were saying all the time that they wanted less managers, reduction of financial positions. Vasquez says that it’s the same for him. Same issues about having three financial offices. Judge says that all these additional duties are going to the treasurer? Judge asks what if the assistant leaves? Bentley says people leave all the time including the Judges recent clerk, with so much experience. Jose Cabelzuela says he would like to abolish OMB and reassign Katie a Sanchez to another office, not fire her. A Judge argues that she is running this discussion and she will decide who speaks when, as Brend is ready for public comments. Buddy Knight addresses the court at the invitation of the Judge. Former commissioner, commissioner elect. He speaks on history of getting in trouble with grants and needing help. At one point they owed the feds $300,000. Says if you abolish this office be sure that you have something in place to continue the work. Gives a history of how grant problems were repaired. Lady that fixed the trouble left after doing some good work. If OMB is taking care of grants she s probably earning her money and more. Be sure before you do this, think about it really hard. He does not know if the auditor can take this over or put enough people in the Treasurer’s office to take care of it. This does have an appearance of political retribution. Just from an outsiders view. Robert Halpern: says that he has covered these issues for the paper for years. Says that with all due respect this looks like political overtones are involved. In April the Treasurer brought an item about personnel to be discussed in executive session. County Atty said that Treasurer had no supervisor authority to bring that against OMB officer Sanchez. Says that in this case a commissioner comes forward to abolish the office. Bentley says that he is assuming that Frances has that power? Halpern says that the more eyes we have on compliance and finance the better as there is corruption and grant in this county. On the record he lists arrests and prosecutions. Brings up former Commissioner Hernandez and Carlos Nieto. Saving the money here to reduce a third level of oversight isn’t in the best interest of the County. Says if you want to save money, OMB costs out at $118,000. Golf course is $139,000. Forty golfers in the association means each golfer is subsidized by about $3400. He is a biker and would love a subsidized bike trail. He thinks the cost versus the benefit of oversight and grant administration is worth it. Gary Mitschke : says that he has been here for nine years. Used to deal with grants and it s a lot of work. Thinks the OMB is important to do that work. Whoever is in that office earns their pay. In the past it was kind of a mess. If the County is going to pursue grants they need to have a dedicated administrator. Lots of work. Buddy Knight: wants to reiterate what Gary says. We were understaffed for those responsibilities. Katie Sanchez: says that she wants to move on from this. She is not aware of a specific problem with her office. Talks about why OMB was created. It is obvious this item is on the agenda because of political retaliation. Says employees have been encouraged to resist OMB. Makes accusations against Treasurer, including yelling in public. Multiple accusations against Treasurer Garcia. Commissioners are aware of the volatile nature of the problem. One commissioner cooperates. Road and bridge supervisor said that on call time was approved, other employees were upset. County records once available to her have been blocked. Says that double standards exist for access to public information. Much information given by Katie about problems she has. She is upset with commissioners, who are her supervisors , for not even asking about problems brought to them about her office. Departments with questionable expenses have lashed out to her about denials of purchase orders. She adds multiple complaints about airports manager, road and bridge manager and some other employees and or officials mismanaging county assets. She says that be trying to enforce laws and rules she is vilified. She says this workplace is adverse, she is suffering and it’s hurting her family life. She likes her job but she is demanding a change. She hopes for resolution of the issue. She received a resignation letter from her assistant, effective immediately. Judge entertains a motion. Vasquez motions to abolish the office . Second by Bentley. In favor are Cabezuela, Vasquez, Bentley and Item 8: action items to abolish the road and bridge manager, airports manager, facilities manager. Judge goes to podium and states she has worked here since 1989. She remembers the good old days. Mario Rivera had been Treasurer and the atmosphere was relaxed and 5here were fewer personnel. Since then the County has been growing and the legislature adds more work for us the employee base has grown. Lists the personnel changes in each office. No supervisory positions existed back then. The Unit Management system was built with supervisors. She put the item on the agenda since she thinks one department was singled out. She does not agree with that decision. Says that our airport manager makes over $50,000 and has done an excellent job running the airports. Omnibus funding is possibly on its way for runway improvements. No in kind match required. Talks more about that. Gives credit to Chase for consistent and hard work. Turns this argument around on itself and asks if we should abolish this office and have the commissioners do it. She says no. Same argument made for facilities manager position. County Annex grant was on the line when she took office. Having a facilities manager saved this grant as she and he were able to get on it immediately and make it happen. She says this is the same argument, although late, for keeping OMB. Says commissioners earn $18,000 to come to meetings and if they want to come back to full time work they can and maybe could eliminate these positions. Ruben Carrasco makes $53,000 for road and bridge Dept and has been working for county since 2005. Part time since 1999. 2014 began as road and bridge manager. Judge says that Ruben assists her with her duties for permitting and other issues on a daily basis, in addition to being a supervisor for road and bridge employees. Judge calls for a vote. No motion made, but. A Vasquez has a comment. He says that the term abolish is not correct. He agrees that these departments are vital to the County. No motion. 11:04 AM Second public hearing on 2019 budget and tax rate: Mandy Roane from Marfa Public Library. Thanks for the support last year. Support allows us to serve any resident from Presidio County. Have used funds for materials and programming. New community room will open very soon. Outdoor seating will be open as well in courtyard hopefully before next week. Children’s programming will be the focus. Thanks County again for the $2500 last year and requests same for this year. Trey Gerfers: Groundwater Conservation District. Asking for $42,000 for monitoring equipment and director salary. Also, board members need training funds. No monitoring has ever been done by the District. Challenges are coming. Senator Rodriguez is very interested in working with the District. Will be seeking State assistance. Needs County support and investment to help get Big Bang for the bucks. Judge says that in non departmental Dept there is currently $20,000 for legal fees budgeted. Could be funds left over. Trey says that litigation costs can wipe out a District, needs to have this reserved Incase of a lawsuit. No current lawsuits filed. Requesting $42,000. $1000/ month for manager, $1000 for a cell phone, dues for governmental agencies and groups, Texas Assoc of Groundwater Districts. Aquifer research to identify small aquifers, monitor well levels. Dixon Water Foundation is ready to cooperate, donate some equipment. Office supplies, mileage for meetings. Ultimate goal is to be a resource. Multi year investment is needed to get to this level. Will be going after grants. Judge asks about Brewster County. 85,000 this year, 40,000the previous year. Making progress. Ana Saenz with DPS. Requesting an $800 cell phone for corporal Rey in Presidio. $6,000 in office expense and additional. None troopers and another academy will bring it up to ten. Seven in Marfa, two in Presidio. Judge asked about State funding. Ana says that most of the time they get hand me downs from El Paso. Lack of adequate supplies. Judge says that based on ticket revenues she believes this is a reasonable request. County Attorney budget: Rod Ponton presents Requesting the same as previous year with the exception of raises, which will be considered county wide. Bentley ask about health of pre trial funds. Rod says they are healthy and can go another year as is. Ponton says that within 60 days he will know if a crime victim coordinator grant has been approved. Judge asks about costs of Westlaw. Law library budget and Westlaw is available for all judges in the County and him. Judge wants it, needs to know how to get it. Rod says it’s a county law library issue, should not cost extra . Rod will find out for judge. Judge says that Westlaw has updated Atty Generals opinions, updated law. Sam Cobos, facilities manager: Bridget’s for all facilities are about the same for last year. One request not included in budget. Courthouse budget item for deputies and assistants. Chuck Simpson has been working here over a year, makes $10.99 per hour. Worried about losing him, he wants to stay. Full time employee, paid the same as part timer, he has more responsibilities. Requesting 25cents per hour in addition. $11.24 hour. Would be more in line with Billy’s pay doing similar work in Presidio. Bentley would like to raise him to $11.50. He takes a big load on his shoulders and courthouse departments are very pleased with his work and abilities, willingness to do things out of his regular duties. Aranda says lawn always looks beautiful. Only requested change from Sam. Judge asks about contract costs. Judge does not want to spend money on painting. Sam says that service contracts are for elevator and HVAC maintenance and switchover. Bentley would rather have small repairs done in house instead of contracted out. Sam says most of these projects are done and smaller stuff is done in house. Exterior work on courthouse building has not been done, was budgeted last year. Wants to use more repair and maintenance money to do this outside work. He has contracted with a local painter to paint windows and first floor exterior. Next year hopefully start on second floor, will cost more because of height. Bentley understands this and agrees that contractors are experts and for courthouse restoration experts are needed, but would rather see park benches et al be done in house. Sam says that at the golf course they will be flying on volunteers. Judge says that one of the things we need in Candelaria are meters. City of Presidio has some meters. Currently families are piggybacking on meters. We need to install more meters there. City of Presidio is willing to give some, asks Sam if facilities Dept could help with installation of meters along with road and bridge Dept. Sam adds that after repairing urgent needs he was tasked to develop long term plans for maintenance on facilities. Finally, after four years we are able to be looking at this and he, along with other departments are looking at that for the County as a whole. Ponton brings up the Constables budget. Several months ago commissioners authorized the county Atty to pursue environmental charges outside of the city limits for both cities. Rod has the authority to prosecute cases, but these are civil cases and he needs an enforcement arm to be able to investigate cases and enforce them. Not criminal, so not Sheriffs office purview. Would like to add money to Constable budgets to allow them to have the resources to investigate and enforce theses rules. He proposes an extra $6000 per year for both Constables. Judge disagrees that the Constable should be in charge of this. She thinks the cost is too large for small jobs. She would rather contract with someone to do this. Ponton sees this as an ongoing problem and responsibility for the County. Unsure. Aranda suggests a letter, threatening a ticket. Aranda wants to to do this right because elected officials are going to hear about this loudly . How much time do we give them? What are the intentions for them long term? City of Presidio for a long time has been asking us to enforce rules. Rod agrees but he needs a tool to use to get this done. Possibly a part time worker? Aranda agrees that this will take time and we need to do it right. The judge is concerned about giving the Constables a ten thousand dollar raise ad the long term effect of a raise and the associated payroll costs. Constable will already be in charge of serving a notice after a letter is sent. She thinks it already falls within their duties. She agrees that something needs to be done. Rod say that in larger areas there is a dedicated code enforcement official that does this. Lots of land along the highway to Presidio not in city limits. Aranda says the City annexed much of that property and it’s there responsibility if within the city limits. Vasquez is for it in concept, what did Constables say? Rod talked to the. And said they didn’t want to do it at this point but he thinks with additional funding they would. If still resistant we could find someone for five hundred per month to do it. Aranda suggests contracting with city code enforcement officers. Judge likes this idea. Ponton says that is is ok with that, he can talk to city officials about in interlock, agreement for these. Judge asks if it will come out of his budget? No. Laughter. More discussion later about issue, budgeting for it but overall commissioners think it’s a good idea. Judge asks if there are more budget issues from Dept heads. Ramon Carrasco speaks on behalf of Kleinmann consultants about the match funds for the grants for the TXDOT TAP grant sidewalk improvements . Wants to make sure it’s included used within budget. Judge says that within her budget she is not asking for anything different except she wants to get IPads and try to go paperless. Bentley says that she tried that with a small Dell tablet, and it did not work well for her. Ponton says that in Pecos they use a system where each item has tabs, and it’s very user friendly. Paper use around here is really high. Aranda is not so sure. Something to look into. Judge asks of they want to break for lunch., it’s Noon. What do we have to come back to on this? Aranda asks about agenda items that may need to be taken care of so they can leave. Judge says we can go over tax rate again and then close or recess the public meeting and come back to it. Agreed. Tax rate presentation part of public hearing: Covered in last meeting are the numbers. presented again. I&S: .05186 M&O: .56291 Total proposed: .61477 Recess from hearing at 12:03 PM Item 18and 19: Construction contract for Candelaria water supply company. Jerry Carvahal from Grantworks presents. Has been bid three times. We received a waiver for procurement of non competitive bid from State based on lack of competing bids. Received a bid. Budget is $220,000. Price is not for water well contract. Ramon says that two contractors wanted to bid but could not find a water well contractor. This will cover chlorination system, electronics and piping. Teri temp electric from Van Horn recommended. Still looking for water well contractor. Says that pricing from Teri temp is good. 88,619.00 Will leave $131,300 for well repairs and pump replacement. He is optimistic that this will be enough to get the well repaired plus also do meter installations, possible new maters. Will require a change order from TDA Possibility to use any leftover funds in Pueblo Nuevo. Aranda asks about the sewer septic system in Candelaria. Jerry says that in order to eliminate it you have to get rid of or fill the tank with sand, remediate the tanks. County will have the responsibility to mediate the septic tanks as part of the grant requirements. Aranda feels strongly that we do this process correctly and legally. Jerry says proof of mitigation for tanks will be required. Judge ask about Teri temp electric. Ramon says that they are working with them on other projects, familiar with grant requirements and methodology. Says they are doing a good job, familiar with process. Ramon wants to move forward, get this going. Judge makes motion to award contract to Tri temp. Second by Valenzuela. Unanimous. TCDBG block grant funding 2016-2020 funding cycle application. Due Feb 7th . Similar projects as Candelaria, Redford. Jerry says committee met and set priorities and the three are Water wastewater septic tanks and Road drainage Utility infrastructure . Others are not listed as priorities. Engineering and administration included. Need approval to go forward with trying to procure funding. Limit for funding requests is same as last year. $275,000 Judge says he did a great job at meeting in Van Horn. Advocated for parity on grant awards. Brought up a point of order. Aranda asks about typo. 2016 should be 2019 in item description. Motions to approve. Unanimously approved. Judge asks who will be handling grants. Jerry says they can help a bit on RFPs . Can lead county to the site that proscribes procedure and forms. Break for lunch at 12:21. One hour break. (I have a meeting with TV film crew at 2:00 for Bourdain wrap-up shoot- will miss second part of meeting) Back to meeting at 3:30 pm Auditors report: credit card update. Have a meeting on credit card issuance firm. Line item transfers Dispatch to train new workers. Communications bills for dispatch, Jail from jail Sgt salary account to move into bookkeeper. Will pay off Comp time and holiday time for current bookkeeper. Will move monies from salary to new bookkeepers wages. Records clerk position New Sgt will need to be trained by Brittany fox for a few weeks while new records clerk person is trained. Fox is currently both records and Sgt. New person will be strictly records at same wage as fox got before. New position won’t be created but she is the only Sgt and there are three budgeted. Fox is leaving and going to work for DA office. New person will make same salary as Fox did. Auditor says funds are in budget. Approved unanimously Treasurer Bills: no questions about bills. Accepted unanimously OMB report: Katie Sanchez says no report. Judge says that city of Presidio volunteer fire Dept and EMS reports, Agriculture extension agent were submitted. Judge motions to approve these reports. Adjourn at 3:42 pm