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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

Presidio County Commissioners Court Agenda Wed August 22nd, 2018 Special meeting 9:30 AM, Marfa

Notes on City of Marfa tax rate hearing and council meeting August 20, 2018

Notes on Marfa City Council budget hearing, Monday August 20th, 2018, 6:00 PM, City Hall

Present: Councilmembers Webb, Baez, Melendez, Johnston, Salgado, and Mayor Nafziger. Also present city Administrator Teri Brechtel, City Secretary Whatley.

Not present: city Atty Todd

Meeting convened at 6:02 PM.

Mayor presents for Tax Rate hearing

Decrease of 2.52% raises additional monies of 34,829

Effective tax rate is .426825
Rollback rate is .444962
Proposed is .444000

M&O rate is .27971

Public hearings and notices are being made.

Interest and Sinking  tax rate is .168028, to pay debt service of $285 and change.

Beebe asks if the city has implemented exemptions for homestead, over 65, and veterans exemptions. Answer is yes, on veterans and over 65, no on general homestead tax exemption. Clarify city taxes only.

Item 3: approve of previous meeting August 14th.
Salgado motions to accept, second by Melendez, Johnston asks for more time. Unanimous

Item 4: Coffield Park alcohol consumption for AEP picnic . Baeza presents but abstains from vote as he is employed by AEP. Three years ago this was done, requesting use of restrooms and will clean park. Power is on at gazebo and new restrooms. AEP plans to use minimal electricity.
Salgado wants to require a deposit for concession stand use. Baeza says that deposit for concession stand has not been required but has no problem with that. Salgado moves to approve with a $150refundable deposit.

Item 5: presentation and discussion on proposed budget to include the Development and environmental Services, Hotel Occupancy Tax Funds and Grant funds.
Third budget workshop to address a section of the budget.
Budget overview will occur in entirety on the 30th with possible approval on Sept 6.
Mayor presents.
Moved sales tax monies designated for streets into public works.
Water rate breakdown for water and sewer. City admin took another look at rates. Water fees, about half million, about 460,000 for sewer fees.
Water well construction funds =675,000 dedicated for that. 17 years left on loan. Funds are banked and now will be expended. Dedicated funds.

Natural Gas: meter expense questions. Three large meters will be purchased.
Electro fusion machine and welder will be purchased. These are all things in review from last meeting.
Baeza wants to know if budget is still in balance after the changes. Looks like we subtracted on the revenue side.
Brechtel says that this years fund balance can be used in water and sewer Dept’s.
Baeza wants to see it zeroed out, would like to see that. Gets his point across.

Mayor moves on to items listed on agenda.

Deirdre Heisler has a comment on the budget process. Says there is a lot of talk about salary availability online. Says that having salaries posted online was a moral killer for her state parks Dept.
She is in favor of not necessarily posting them.
She is happy with the transparency, public input from Dept heads is great.
Line by line analysis of complete budget on the thirtieth is how TX parks Dept did this. Commends council.
Rosario Halpern from paper says that every penny that council spends on salaries is public. County and Appraisal District are listing salaries. Says that this is the city’s decision and she thinks that the admin salaries are too high and that would be the reason for people being upset.
Also says that “corrections have been made” to last budget hearing, but that certain controversial items have not been corrected or addressed tonight that people had major concerns over.
Bob Schwab  asks if there will be another time to ask for public comments tonight. Yes, Mayor says.
Neil Chauvigny says that the conversation about making salaries public or not is being had, but is city going to keep them private? Yes, Council has seen them and not going to be disclosed to the public unless there is an official request.

Buck Johnston has a comment that she just went to TML training and she believes it is expected and mandatory that councilmembers should be able to see every single salary in this budget. She also thinks they should be public in the interest of transparency. Problem is not council’s , is an administration problem. Neil says it sounds like the admin folks don’t want city employees to know what their colleagues make in relation to them.
Administrator Brechtel says that the timing is not right yet since city employees have not had a manual, evaluations, job descriptions, etc on previous administrations. Salary survey parity and job titles will be addressed. She is working on this. Wants an opportunity to sit down with employees first.
Baeza says he has been hearing about crappy roads, objecting to hiring more supervisors. Melendez says she agrees but she is concerned about not having a plan to move forward with road repairs.
Johnston says that this council has not had a discussion about priorities despite the budget documents stating that the proposed budget reflects the goals, of the Mayor and council.
Mayor refutes that assertion, she has notes and then lists certain councilmembers’ concerns and goals. She welcomes more input and is sorry that not everyone’s goals can be met immediately.
Mayor says she works directly with staff and has a lot of face to face tie with Dept heads. Works very closely with city admin.
One priority was to reorganize the city to make things more effective and efficient. She is trying to be a good listener to all these sources.
Says this budget is her best shot at delivering the most and best services for all parties.
She is trying to convey all the information councilmembers need to get through this budget and make the best one possible. On the 30th everyone will have a chance to go try rough the whole thing and make changes. Sees this as a better budget process than last year. Mayor facilitates the conversation.
Baeza recommends having all items projected on the screen. Agreement from councilors, Brechtel takes in the recommendation.
Mayor doesn’t see this as a problem.
Reiterates that she thinks it’s very important for  council to see the budget as a whole before making changes to line items.

Organizational changes : provides a diagram of an older organizational chart and the new proposed chart and changes.
Council appoints and fires city Supervisors, not employees beneath them.
Everyone else reports to the City Manager.
New advisory board is Hotel Motel Tax Occupancy Board.
Changes to include to whom everyone reports to include. New name for city Admin is City Manager.
Under Police Chief there is now a Lieutenant and three officers including Animal Control.
Code Enforcement officer is now going to be under the Development and Environmental Services Director.
Municipal Court clerk will still report to city manager.
No longer have an administrative assistant (Dan Dunlap position) in budget. Advertising for an accountant.
Director of Library and Community Services will oversee library and Nutrition Center.
EMS director reports to City Manager. Adding an EMT 2 part time.
Saves city money in that Dept though less overtime, on call time.
Hours over 86 hours per week accrue overtime, 24 hours on call shifts.
New experienced EMT from Fort Davis ready to come into this position.
Tourism Director: answers to City Manager
Director of Infrastructure and Development . Person will be sure that all projects are coordinated between departments.
Baeza asks as to why we currently have communication deficiencies across departments. Says we pay Dept heads and our city manager to do this already. Mayor says she has not seen this to be the case, no priorities on fixing streets. Prioritizing this brings in an official who can coordinate shovel ready projects.
Opportunities for pothole projects and possible buying a Zipper Ripper . Money can only be spent wisely if we have a shovel ready plan that can be expertly coordinated. She thinks this plan will work.
Baeza says we have not had the employees to do the work. Webb wants to know how many people we have working on this. Unknown, Mayor says. Johnston does not see how this position can do this, but we should be looking for monies to come first before creating an expensive position. Mayor says this is her best shot; if council wants to continue with the way it’s been all these years the. They can, but she doesn’t see a way forward without a structural change to getting this done. Employees have been working hard but supervision of this has been virtually non existent. For ten years this was not a priority. Drainage issues have been created when we didn’t have a good plan.
We don’t know how to get this done on an efficient, city wide basis.
Brechtel says no matter which way we go we need a plan, engineering.
Baeza advocates for having a dedicated road crew instead of having a new director position. Mayor says that Baeza’s plan is not a developed plan, unknown as to what extra equipment we would need for this.
Demonstration of Zipper is postponed because of a missing additional piece of machinery.
Mayor advocates for grants, more oversight.
Salgado thinks that contracting our street work could be an option rather than hiring another admin position.
James Reuben Mustard, former city administrator, has his hand up. Not called upon.
Baeza takes exception to the Mayors assertion that the streets have been ignored for years. We have done work, but it’s very expensive and until recently we did not have any money. Webb wants t9know how many dedicated street crew workers we have. No dedicated crew, part of public works Dept Manager says. Webb wants to know who is in charge. Brechtel says that workers get called away from streets to water, sewer issues.
Webb wants to hire a dedicated crew. Manny agrees.
Neil Chauvigny asks about proposed positions on crews. Manny says that he would rather hire two workers rather than adding an admin position.
James Reuben Mustard is called upon and says that the reason we have problems with the streets is that maintenance was stopped in 1990s because the city did not have any money. Sold our good equipment to Alpine for pennies on the dollar at that time. Engineering firms have already presented to city plans, looking at millions of dollars. Employees, equipment and supplies cost big dollars and it’s hard to start the infrastructure side of things when the citizens realize what they hey will have to pay. Decisions are not hard, except the level of money needed to implement these plans is overwhelming and very hard to get.
Chip seal maintenance on replaced streets need be done every three to five years. City is already behind.
Bob Schwab asks about EMT support, very important to pay them fairly, support the with proper equipment, consider if adding another EMT might affect the happiness and earning power of the existing staff.please consider this.
Developmental and Environmental Services: job description has already been approved by council. Grant writing, parks oversight, planning and zoning committee cooperation, new zoning code implementation. Facilities management. EMS and Fire Dept are on opposite sides of tracks. Possibly merge the offices with resources at both offices, N and S of tracks.
Ordinances- applied unfairly, need updating. Illegal dumping issues.
Noise and light pollution, dirty lots, garbage and recycling.
Salgado asks of all those could be put beneath the code enforcement officer. Brechtel says no. She does not see the. Urgent officer as being supervisor material. Salgado, Baeza and Johnston see this position as not a priority, should be under code enforcement. Salgado is vehement about this, Johnston agrees wholeheartedly. Wa can replace an employee who is not willing to be trained or do the job.
Adding and accountant and subtracting the administrative assistant would cost an extra $8,000. city has contractor who will serve in that capacity until we find a hire.
Development/ Environmental Services Director. Doubling proposed revenue of Dept based on new fee schedule.
Construction ordinance from 2008, permit application fee will go up for $25 to $50 for residential, $100 for commercial. Renewal would be $50.
Fence permits up from $25 to $50. Demolition permit currently $50, going to be  $100 for commercial, contractors would have to show they have a roll off container contracted. Increase fees from 10 cents per 100 to 20 cents. More.
Compliance would be monitored by city. City does not currently do building inspections.
Baeza talks about parking issues when roll offs are in street. Charging for that based on parking issues and traffic congestion. Johnston and Baeza want to look at proposed streets. Mustard says that city should add a clause about street repairs in case streets are damaged by roll offs.
Neil Chauvigny asks who is going to approve permits. Brechtel says that City Manager will review to be sure it complies with regulations, etc.
Code enforcement will be in charge of registering contractors in town? No, Lori Flores does that.
Will contractors be required to be licensed by the State? Yes, says Brechtel.
Neil sees people not licensed working all over town. Residential work is ok, Brechtel says. General contractors are no longer overseen by the State. She has been enforcing this. Code enforcement officer does not do this.
Officer enforces city ordinances, on patrol. Write citations for infractions.
City does not have a building inspector. Brechtel does imagine in the future that would be something we could address, but not soon. Too difficult.
Mayor brings up the need for following up on building and zoning regulations . Wants to hear from council what they may want.
Salgado feels like the code enforcement officer needs to have that responsibility. We should train him.
Mustard says that there was a volunteer board, permit review committee. Make recommendation as to approval of permits. Eventually disbanded. Existing ordinance is on the books that authorizes this if  council would like to possibly address this.
Bob Schwab says that if neighbors are educated about upcoming permits, they can help enforce problems. Brechtel agrees but most of the time we have not enforced things properly and complaints result.
Mustard says that in the previous Police Dept the police did the enforcement and that was effective.
Melendez asks about the training load for a building inspector. Brechtel says quite a bit.
Compliance with ordinances is the goal.
Capital Outlay: city vehicle for Dept.
Rosario clarifies that the director would be$65,000 and the officer would be $38,000. Oversees garbage, recycling and parks employees in addition to code enforcement.
Parks Dept sales tax revenue. One full time worker, one part time.
City pays parks employees, sales tax monies are transferred to Parks Dept board.
Facilities maintenance: $25,000 plus 60,000all in banked funds.
Fire Dept / EMS need infrastructure facility improvements. EMS need to be able to sleep there. AC is out, among other problems. Clean EMS garage and add a fire vehicle here and EMS vehicle across the tracks.
City Hall needs work.
Mayor asks for other comments. None
Recycling and solid waste. Two part time employees at recycling center.
$420,200 to Duncan disposal contract.
$650,000approximate total collections into enterprise fund.

Hotel motel tax- Tourism and Convention center.
Hot grant committee met with Texas hotel motel tax consultant today and meeting went great.
Best return on investment sought. Seven board members with some great minds. Asked a lot of questions. How money has been spent, how to use it differently in some case.
$600,000 estimated 18-19 conservative estimate
Expenditures: two full time and one part time position.
Johnston brings up car rental business city is engaged in. Yes, Mayor says and we will look at this.
Did not use about $82,100 two years ago. We could landscape the area behind the USO building. Got some quotes, but have not gotten every far. Have not yet expended these funds. Space is used sometimes for entertainment. Have plants that look great will really be great for more events. We have some rain catchment off that roof. Mayor thinks that the council can do something big with this, wants input. Marfa museum allocated $60,000 for building repairs out of historical preservation fund, contractor has not moved on this yet.
Joey Benton’s crew is going to look at it once they finish the building across from Paisano.
Advertising: 85,714.  One seventh of the overall revenue. Required minimum to spend on advertising.
Economic input study ordered at $5000.
Membership dues for coop for advertising dues, distribution of pamphlets, etc.
Keep Texas  beautiful membership
Event security expense. When city has a major event can reimburse city Police Dept for event security. $45,000 goal for reimbursement.
Airport grant match. Budgeted $50,000 for this year.
Enabled by legislative action. Check and balance public hearing will be held. City has to prove that generated improvements generate revenues commensurate with grant.
Vehicles: Rental vehicles. Marfa is the only city on the state doing car rental with purchased vehicles. Atty says this is a very gray area.
Definition of transportation systems at play.
Mayor asks Baeza about this, started about five years ago.
Car rental process is questioned. Judge Beebe asks why worry so much about being challenged on the car rental system if there isn’t anybody complaining about the system itself.
Deirdre says that if we can tighten up our system we may not garner a complaint. More discussion about the airport runways, grant funds from HoT tax to county.
Minerva Lopez elaborates on how the rental car business works for the tourists.
Talk about the money people are spending while they are here, they are required to be staying in a hotel or air B.B. that pays taxes into the fund in order to rent the car.
Robert Halpern asks about Air BB payments. Are we collecting? Brechtel says yes, we monitor online listings and activity and contact them.

Had to leave meeting at 8:34 pm for rehearsal.

City of Marfa Council Agenda and Tax Rate notice August 20, 2018