Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Multi-agency tri-County Winter Weather Prparedness Meeting, 11/15/2015 1:30 PM Presidio County Courthouse

Tri-County Emergency Preparedness- Winter Weather meeting
12/15/2015 1:30 PM

Judge Guevara presides, Judge Duer from Jeff Davis County present
Judge Cano from Brewster County was unable to make it.

Multiple agencies presenting:

Carlos Carlona from El Paso presents:
Winter Weather preparedness is primary topic.

National Weather Service: Mark Strobin presenting
Expect to have strongest El Niño on record. Should decrease rapidly over the summer. La Niña expected next summer. 
El Niño pulls jet stream towards the south. Colder air. Storms follow jet stream.
El Niño mostly affects winter and spring. Wet and colder. Sea surface temperatures are a major factor in whether we have an El Niño or not. Predicted to have more snow and rain for this year. 
So far we have had an extremely warm Dec. Changes coming next week and by Christmas should be quite cold in general. January will be petty rough month, as will Feb.
March, April, May will be wetter than normal. Long severe weather season.
Mountains should expect a greater snowpack this year. 
Warm rain onto the mountain snowpack in Spring could create flooding.
Faux app for smartphones (app but not allowed to be called an app since it is governmental) available
@nwsmidland on Twitter, also on FB.

Steve Chavez with WebEOC
Online incident management software. Tool is free and open for use for approved users. 
Emergency Operations Center: this software creates a virtual EOC. Different decision makers can log in and share information.
Can use during an incident, in this case, a winter incident.
Monitored by the State of Texas on a daily basis.
Access determined by main decision makers in the County.
Different access levels can be set; provides different views.
Counties can request aid from the State on a live basis; faster than any other method.
Capability to share information on shelters, capacity, capabilities. 
This tri-county area currently not utilizing WebEOC. Use can integrate us with the rest of the State.

Frank Rodriguez- Rio Grande Electric Coop, Alpine. Have been working on maintenance to power lines to alleviate problems in advance. Have extra contractors in the area to address issues as they come. Backup generator has been recently installed in the office to insure office can stay operational during an outage. Judge Guevara asks how RGEC is notified when power in remote areas go out. FR says there are remote methods of notification, and that members are also very responsive to tell them when power is out. The line to Candelaria is very remote and long, so finding the actual problem on that line sometimes is a problem and can take a long time. This year they have already dropped extra poles out in that region to be more responsive. 

Patty Rubio with 211. El Paso Dept of Public Health in El Paso. Work with 6 counties.
Assistance guidelines through calling 211. Includes family and food issues.

Emergency Management Coordinators: 
Gary Mitschke: Presidio County
Bart Medley: Jeff Davis County- importance of EMC's knowing what's going on. Sharing resources between counties, etc. Davis EOC manager is Jim Bauer. 
Van Ostrand: Brewster County. Stresses distance involved make things different than in a largely populated area. 

Texas Emergency Medical Task Force: Steve Surface: part of the Texas Disaster Medical System. Acute Care side of Texas Dept of State Health Services
Ambulance Strike Teams for major evacuations of places like hospitals.
Mass Evacuations in general.
EMTF-9 Ambulance/Bus. Over the road bus that can do 20 patients at one time.
Hospital evacuations, HAZMAT exposures, etc
Substitute for air transports when weather prohibits flying.
RN strike teams.
Mobile Medical Unit- semis and box trucks with equipment, staging tents, etc.- multiple configurations available for different situations.
BBRMC hospital rep asks if it is possible to share resources with another region when this large region gets hit hard, if resources are available. Steve Surface says that other regions can be put on notice and can respond of need be. Also trying to add an AmBus in Midland/Odessa. Held up due to politics and also the AmBus manufacturer has gone out of business. Infectious disease response is being developed to become a part of this service. Working on it, but not yet ready to announce.

TXDOT- James Stevensen. Maintenance engineer for El Paso Region.
De-icing operations, etc. 
59 dump trucks, 10 yd and 6 yd
50 snow plows,
20 de-icing units
54 wax spreaders
Salt and sand
Liquid meltdown material for extreme cold weather
Granular particulate to mix with salt

Worst kind of weather is the Rain and snow wintry mix. 
Try to put down icing materials before the storm. Rain can wash away icing materials before it freezes or snows. Lots of ice on the roads around here. Black ice is most dangerous type.
Snow is a little easier to handle than ice.
Freezing fog in high elevations. 
Storm coordination- usually comes out of El Paso.
Challenges include lack of cell phone services in region. Distances between metropolitan areas. Lack of semi/rig tow trucks in region. Mountains, distances in general. Unpredictability of weather.
El Paso district is by far the largest of the 25 TXDOT districts in the State.
21,700 square miles- larger than 9 states.
In a major regional emergency it is likely that local resources will be tasked northward to I-10 maintenance. This has not yet happened at the expense of local service but it could. 
Gary Mitschke asks how TXDOT gauges to close the roads? 
The decision to close a road is normally by group decision of TXDOT and local leaders, EMS, Sheriffs, etc. Also a resource based decision. 

Closing comments from judges.
Judges thank everyone for taking time out of their day to be here. Refreshments and coffee served. 
Adjourn at 3:42 PM

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Notes from Presidio International Port Authority meeting 12/08/2015, 4PM, Presidio, TX

Presidio International Port Authority meeting, 12/8/2015 4:00 PM, Presidio

Guevara, Ferguson, Tavares, Hernandez, Callum, Escontrias, White and H. Cowan.

Judge Guevara speaks about S&B Engineers. Had contract with them to design and engineer the bridge. Since PIPA is going with TXDOT they are no longer going to be used. Send two more bills for $270,000 and $79,000. Not yet paid. Claim contract was for $2.4 million, contract does not state an amount, someone from S&B said it was for 1.7 million. They have not reached $1.7 million yet. Daniel Rios from S&B says 2.4 million. Judge says she would like to submit the two bills to TXDOT and have them paid. Jake Giesbrecht says that he agrees with the $1.7 million dollar figure. 
More discussion. Hernandez asks of this should be an item for commissioners court. Some discussion on this. 
Jim White says there is no decision to be made... Hold up on paying these bills is that the $2.4 million is listed on the bills as the contract amount. TXDOT is not comfortable with this. Judge will clarify the $1.7 million figure with TXDOT and have them pay the bills, thus closing out S&B

Item 6- appointing new members to board- discussion with appropriate action. 
Judge asks Jake for recommendations. Some names batted about. 
Mayor Ferguson asks how many new members there should be. Some say two, and others say the is not a set number.
Isela Nunez and Franz Felharbor nominated by Mayor. Present.
Obed Escontrarias says he is interested. 

Judge moves to adjourn into executive session at 4:25.

Reconvene at 4:31

Motion made by Mayor to add Isela and Franz. Motion carries.

Item 7- elect officers. 
White says that he has though about this and has a plate of names and positions ready.
Motions to make Lorenzo Hernandez as Chair, Isela Nunez as Vice Chair, Judge Guevara as Secretary, Mayor Ferguson as treasurer. 
Tavares weighs in in agreement. Seconds. 
Judge Guevara does not agree. 
Agrees with Lorenzo to be chair, wants to nominate herself as vice-chair.
Hernandez points our to her that being part of the group is more than enough to participate in a substantial way.
Judge asks if someone else would like to be Secretary. 
White says this is a starting point, we have to start somewhere and starting with imperfect but balanced is a good way to go. 
Motion and second on the table. White calls for a vote.
Questions as to whether voting should be on a slate or on individuals for each position. 
Vote counting, six votes yes, motion carries. 
White reiterates that everyone needs to work as a team. 

Item 8- executive director. Talk about Jake...
Questions as to how to pay Jake... Jake is most qualified; general agreement on that.
Hernandez says agenda says just hire, not decide pay, etc.
Discussion as to whether you should hire someone without paying them. Maybe decide how much to pay first and then try to decide who to hire.
Discussion regarding what agenda means...
White asks for clarification as to why this even makes a difference. 
Jake weighs in and says that since this is just the beginning he is not willing to discuss numbers until this really gets started...
Will work for peanuts until things are clarified as far as what and where this goes.
Says there will be a lot of new CBI funding available and this is the way to get access to this. Formation of the structure is key and needs to happen now. 
Jake says he is willing to work or now and figure out the numbers at a later date based on what is achieved.
Escontrias wants to table this whole item.
Talk of appointing Jake as a spokesman until he can be hired and paid. Hernandez wants to hire him and make it all happen later...
Judge wants to know about the 559 and how many days do we have to execute it. Ten days for this to be finished. 
Questions as to what the board will show on the 559 numbers-wise. 
Judge says that she would like to have Jake work on the 559 and figure out what to pay him next meeting.
Mayor moves to hire Jake for one dollar and renegotiate fee as soon as able. Second by White. Vote- motion carries. 
Jake says he needs everyone's help on the 559 application. 
Application will take one year to get authorized, does not have to be perfect but things are in place for success.
Jake says this a new era for port partnerships. Shift by the Feds towards local control since it works better. Board needs to dedicate itself to spending good time and efforts on this.
Monday there will be a number of officials here from Mexico to discuss bridge. Jake says Henry Cuellar and Will Hurd are working on this together and they are united in support.
Discussion on hours of port commercial inspections. Difficult issues concerning Mexican hours and US CBI hours. Santa Teresa NM has Foxconn corporation paying for extra hours of port operation.
White says we are going to have to fight hard for extended hours, cooperation and not give in to resistance. 
CBP focuses more on the people side of things when judging hours, load etc than commercial side. Focus need to be on commercial side, where the money is. 

Brad Newton announces that from 1-5 public hearing on Monday at PAC. Public meeting and encourages everyone to be here for that.

Adjourn at 5:00 PM.

Preface to notes on Presidio International Port Authority Meeting, 12/8/2015

Thanks for your interest in the Port (bridge and rail bridge) expansion projects proposed and/or underway in Presidio.
I have missed the last several meetings of PIPA, so am a bit out of the loop, but before I submit my notes, I'll give a quick overview of a couple of topics pertinent to the situation.

The PIPA was formed about 9 months ago as a partnership between the City of Presidio and Presidio County to help facilitate the auto/truck/pedestrian bridge expansion at Presidio/Ojinaga. Years in the making, the effort to improve the bridge through expansion and other upgrades is about to pay off. Like many other things, the path has been long and the road to success is tricky. The primary stated goal of bridge expansion has been to improve border commerce on the commercial (trucking) side of things first and foremost. The auxiliary purpose is to lessen wait times for tourists and shoppers. Increased quality and efficiency of security are another focus.

Negotiations between two countries, their governmental agencies, regulations,  their cultures of doing business and everything that goes with all that make any progress tricky and also somewhat fragile. PIPA has been a step in the right direction, in my opinion, to increase communication and show solidarity on the part of the County and City in favor of port improvements.

Without going into a long dissertation that I am not even qualified to write, given my knowledge level of the extensive complexity of what has occurred on this project over the last 7-10 years, I will try to explain where it is now.
The Texas Dept of Transportation, who is the owner of the current bridge, has, after a long while of not expressing much interest, decided that they want to be the agency that owns, operates, and maintains the  bridge. Prior to this revelation, the County was going to build, operate and maintain a toll bridge next to the existing bridge. Now that TXDOT will be operating it, there will be no toll and PIPA's role is transforming more into an advocacy group to maximize local input towards the outcome of the project, especially operations-wise with regard to commercial trade, port inspection hours, and the like.

Referenced in the notes from the meeting yesterday is a CBP program referred to as "559" that allows for public/private port of entry development projects and for certain reimbursements of expenses under Section 559 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. PIPA is looking to participate in this program in order to achieve goals of increased port commercial inspection hours and/or staffing.

The government web page that describes this program can be viewed

Other than that, I'd like to issue a reminder that my accounts of any meetings I take notes at for this blog are subject to my not so great hearing (rock and roll- it was totally worth it, by the way), my possible lack of knowledge on last names, spellings of names, etc, and the fact that I do not re-write or revise my live notes later. Comments by readers are always welcome and will be posted whether I agree with them or not. Comments may not be anonymous, however, as this journal is not anonymous.

Thanks again for reading- please be involved in the governmental process!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting 12/8/2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court, 12/8/2015, 9AM, Marfa.

All present including County Attorney John Fowlkes.

No public comments

Judge's announcements: TCBG (block grant) awarded. 
Letter from TX Dept of Agriculture. Have questions regarding grants from 2011-2013. Mismatch in numbers between money awarded and money spent. Auditor is working on this. May take some time. Did not have an effect on current grants.
Texas Historical Commission sent a letter stating that monitoring for clearing of Redford canal should have an archeological monitor. Instructions on how to do that included.
Winter weather planning meetings coming up next week, Nov 15th. Department heads to meet regarding same on Nov 16th. South county area does not have warming centers in case of power outages. Lorenzo Hernandez says the Sheriff's Dept and Road and Bridge crew help support winter operations when needed in the past.
Lorenzo Hernandez says City of Presidio has some generators that PMDD bought and can be deployed. Jim White mentions that County needs to be prepared to pre-wire water wells, etc with generators before the weather gets bad. Judge Guevara is concerned about people who are on oxygen. Judge wants to implement a 211 program with the cities to help people in need. Cities would be able to check on people, already have people at risk identified. Questions about how to get the pre-wire for Candelaria well done. Who is in charge of it now? Unknown. County going to contact Mr Bloomberg for initial help, advice. 
Judge says that Mrs Arias from Presidio was injuring about Food Bank building in Presidio. She is a volunteer with West Texas Food Bank. Wants to know if they could use that building since it is not being used. Lorenzo Hernandez says that's a good idea, he will help facilitate that. Mrs Arias can contact him and he will assist. The people who had been trying to get it going before were not able to get it done for various reasons. West TX Food Bank is ready to step in. Next food distribution will be Dec 15. 
Open house this Friday 1-3; open house at the courthouse. 

Commissioners announcements:
Eloy Aranda says that rains have created concerns about potholes in City of Presidio. Would like to help out the City to assist with material or other things with regard to road repairs. There is an inter-local agreement to share some equipment, etc.
Judge Guevara has been asking for a copy of the City of Presidio's budget for weeks and was told "it's not ready" copy will be $25.00. Perhaps the City of Presidio could help out with that. Unsure of how a budget could be passed without it being complete. City of Presidio has not yet filed their budget as required by law, nor is it posted on their website, as required by law. Unsure of why this is, but County would like to help them despite this. However, a copy of their budget is needed. 
Chris Webber from TXDOT will be contacted to try to get some support for Presidio streets. Always helpful.

Big Bend Telephone company presentation by Russell Moore:
Aaron Rodriguez presenting in his place.
Proposal for telephone and other services. 
Hosted PBX system: hosted through the web, cloud. Can be maintained and modified off-site. Hosted IP PBX lines. Every phone is a line, as many lines as you want. As many phone numbers as you want. 
BBTC would install, train, provide equipment and support. Fiber to every building, buildings would be interconnected. Computing and phones. 
Providing services already in Presidio. Would link Presidio and Marfa together. Shared 100mb/s internet speed. Unlimited local and long distance calls. Keep same phone numbers for all lines. 
Phones are Cisco 4 line business phones; conference, three way, transfer, etc.
Better sound quality. Network buildout would be aerial or underground. Patch panels where fiber terminates, optical terminal where there is a backup generator of some sort, like at the jail. Keeps network up in case of power failure.
Provide remote location phones/ internet at Redford school, etc. 
Proposal also provided to Jeff Davis County. Brewster County already on system, City of Alpine. Can separate billing by department.
Firewall provided. Main firewall for County, can be shut.
One time buildout costs, then monthly recurring costs. If county opts for this, fiber will be able to be used around Marfa. Buildout includes access for city.
Photocopiers could be networked, could reduce the number of copier rentals.
Computers could print to any printer within network. 
Time frame for installation is minimum of 90 days, probably more like 120 days. 
Judge says that 911 was down on the ATT network last month and calls were re-routed to Alpine. This could help us avoid that problem. Aaron says that 911 routing all goes through ATT now and when ATT trunks are down all 911 networks are currently down. Rio Grande Council of Governments wants redundancy, looking at linking into BBT system regardless of which provider counties go with.
Ray Ellis from BBT is here, can help address technical issues, if there are questions.
Proposal today is incomplete as details on numbers of lines, etc are not included. 
Current ATT speeds average around 6mb/s, BBT up to 100mb/s. More modern system, fiber directly up to businesses. Alpine already experiencing this. 
Dedicated fiber line for courthouse system would be actual 100mb/s. Would not be shared with other businesses along the fiber line. Would work with Nectar Computers to identify where current points of contact are for existing lines. Work with Sam Cobos, facilities manager. Gary Mitschke asks if a fiber cut could shut down all the counties. Aaron says theoretically it could, but Ray Ellis says by the first of next year there will be additional redundancies; they are working and building them out now. 

Skip to Item #10- Big Bend Telephone request to obtain easement for buried cable across Presidio County property in Ruidosa. 20 foot wide easement request. BBT buying a lot from Bloomberg, want to place a pole there, access point. Jim White makes motion to approve. Hernandez seconds. Unanimous.

Back to item #7- presentation from David Quin of Public Power Tool with follow up pricing estimates for power purchasing for Presidio County in comparison to current pricing rates.
Power used over last 12 months was used for basis of pricing. Estimated pricing at 3.4257 cents/kW. Public Power Tool is a non-profit created by Texas Leg to save public entities money by negotiating power deals in bulk contracts.
Plus modal is 3.875 cents. John Fowlkes asks about how Public Power Tool purchases long term contracts in the face of dropping prices. Quin says they are looking at different ways to purchase power forward. Currently look to lock in a rate for the near future, through approx 2019, for County. Quin confirms that each County's contracts are individual, but they negotiate in bulk when they can. This contract discussed here would be a bridge contract unique to Presidio County.
Loretto Vasquez asks if the numbers here reflect all county buildings consumption. Yes, all 43 accounts, according to Quin.
Current provider is WTU. Highest we currently pay is 6.78/kW 
Patty Roach asks if proposal includes an analysis on current costs vs proposed. Quin says no, since he does not know what we are currently paying per account.
Discussion only item. Concluded. 

Item #8- discussion with action as appropriate to require all elected officials to complete, sign and turn in conflict of interest forms to Treasurer by Jan 4, 2016. Item clarifies procedure on previous agenda item creating and requiring forms. Lorenzo Hernandez asks to move it to the 12th, next Commissioners a Court meeting.
Judge has no problem with that. Hernandez makes motion, seconded by Vasquez, unanimous.

Item 9- fireworks restrictions. Prohibits certain fireworks in Presidio County. Hernandez asks about burn ban. Gary M says burn ban expired and we are not under a burn ban. This is a lesser restriction, but gives us some control. Gary says State allows more days this year to sell fireworks. Judge says that this prohibits the sale of skyrockets and sticks. White asks about time frame. Aranda asks about fireworks displays. Crystal Funks called City of Presidio to see if they wanted to designate an area and nobody got back to her. Designated area in Marfa would be Vizcaino Park. This regulation would only apply to this current holiday season. Having yearlong burn ban would make this a longer term regulation. Gary says State sets deadlines regarding creating these fireworks restrictions. This restricts the sale of these items and the ignition of these items. More discussion regarding generals of fireworks and burn bans, etc. Hernandez says we have bigger problems than this. Recommends no action, no action taken.

Item 11- Nominees for Presidio County Appraisal District Board. Unanimous to repeat last year's appointees.

Item 12- executive session.
Item 13- executive session.
Convene into executive session at 10:25 AM.

Reconvene into open session at 11:45. I re-entered the room at 11:52, was assisting a customer in my office.

County Auditor's Report: all treasurer managed bank accounts have been reconciled through Sept. Independent audit info shod be timely this year. Has a sheet for potential use in tracking agencies that receive funds from County. Presents that to commissioners and recommends they use it or something similar. 

Treasurer's Report: Frances Garcia. Presents receipts from tax office for over one million dollars. Reflects two weeks of collections. Good rate of collections. 

Office of Management and Budget: Katie Sanchez: has some bills to present. Presents countywide vacation and comp time liability totals at end of FY 2015.  States re: $163.000 CSVT award. Commissioners need to create a budget page for that award. 
Discussion regarding employee(s) with too much comp time accumulated. Hernandez says commissioners should send a letter to dept heads who need to make their employees take their comp time. White says that following that commissioners need to refuse payment. County is currently liable for $62,000 in comp time. 
$120,000 plus or minus including vacation time, etc. Judge says that commissioners need to send a letter to dept heads and inform that payment will not be made. Commissioners begin to discuss revising the policy to limit the possible liability of the County in the case of someone quitting and collecting pay for comp time. 

County/District Court: Accepted, no discussion.

Presidential Permit Report: discussion regarding additional members to PIPA. Meeting later today at 4 in Presidio and may appoint 2 more members on top of two already added. (I plan on attending this meeting)

Jail Report: White says federal prosecutor says he will be prosecuting all OTM's, keeping the jail full. OTM stands for Other Than Mexicans. Hernandez wants to see how the County can get a figure on what the jail is spending on a monthly basis, semi-annually. Katie Sanchez says she can generate numbers. Nobody from Sheriff's Office or Jail here to report or answer questions. Loretto Vasquez wants details on facility repairs, condition with every report.
White says this is even more important now that it appears the jail will be near capacity for the near future. Gracie's father passed away and she had to take off work, she probably had to miss this meeting to catch up. Commissioners are happy with performance, and the report.

No probation dept report.

Water District: Rudy Garcia. For month of Nov one drilling permit approved. Collected seven water samples in Nov. Good quality of water generally. Two wells tested off HWY 169 in near proximity were dramatically distant. Thinks one may be slightly polluted, as water smelled. Will try to get board to give him permission to test. 14 well samples reported to State. Ruidosa community well tested and had a high level of particulate. Thinks well may be getting some water from the Chinati volcanic material nearby. 

Capital Projects/Road and Bridge: Ruben Carrasco

Emergency Management: Gary Mitschke- last week there was a structure fire near Ruidosa. Total loss, but issue is Presidio Fire/EMS dispatch system, which is still not integrated into radio. Being notified by County dispatch by text. Probably a 30 minute delay in notification to volunteers since a group text was not sent, although that is how it is usually done. Estimated that may have cost additional 30 minutes for response. Not a good situation. Deputy was dispatched and then fire dept was dispatched after confirmation of fire. Extra lag time. Dispatch system really needs to be integrated. Everything is ready but County needs to make the call to the State to implement delivery and installation of the system upgrades. 
Weather planning meeting next week: moving forward with installation of switch gear for generators. Installation at school in Marfa will happen. Electrician will give estimate next week. Ruidosa, Candelaria, Redford- we need to look at those places and what systems they are on. Fortunately for Presidio there is the battery (BOB) as a backup, but Candelaria and Ruidosa lines are very isolated and usually are the last lines to be repaired during a major outage given the low population levels. Very rough terrain to get through to repair lines. Rio Grande Electric Coop in charge.
Want to keep water wells powered, Gary wants to know if the County is interested in paying for those wells to be fitted for backup. White says there's no budget. Hernandez says that these communities are out on the county and other areas are in cities, priority for county may be outside the cities. White points out that those areas are also the last to be repaired and may need help for longer periods of time, possibly exacerbating a bad situation. Hernandez says he is most concerned about Candelaria and Ruidosa. Further discussion about all the different places within the county that could be impacted in a major power outage. Water systems power paramount in discussion. Hernandez says he will contact the Presidio MDD about the generators they have in their possession, possibly ten or so, and see if access could be shared if need be. Discussion about Quonset hut near Candelaria owned by the GLO, possible access to use since it's abandoned. End of report

White makes motion to approve all other reports without discussion. Unanimous. (Reports were submitted in advance on paper to commissioners.)

Line item transfers:
Tires for emergency Management truck (judge's truck)
Equipment lease on copier.
Some other small items. 

Bills and expenses: 
Tire repair on old water truck in Presidio- $100 to Tom's Texaco. Hernandez says we overpaid. Ruben says there are extra parts, different for that truck, new tube, new collar. Old Ford truck with old tech tires. Usually road and bridge does their own repairs. Hernandez would like to see new tires, rims, etc for that truck. 

Judge makes motion to approve. Airport fuel bills mentioned. 
Water bills, Florcita Saenz for clerk's professional  services. 
Chase asks about TXDOT bill for emergency runway repairs. Not in packet, looking for Bill. $1727.47 


Minutes of previous meetings:
Hernandez asks Virgie Pallarez if she could, in the future, email minutes in advance. Virgie says no problem. 
Unanimously approved.

Meeting adjourned at 12:54 PM

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Applying for and obtaining a Texas Occupational Driver's License

Writing as Judge Beebe, with regard to JP Court business:

I have been the Presidio County Justice of the the Peace for Northern Presidio County for 11 full months  now, and one of the more confusing processes I have dealt with deals with Occupational Licenses.

An Occupational License, or ODL, is a form of provisional temporary permit to drive legally for drivers whose license has been revoked or suspended. Applicants have to show a genuine need for an ODL related to school, work and/or "essential household duties". The process of applying for an ODL and is complicated and the Texas DPS web site does a very poor job of explaining how it all works.

This past week I had had four potential applicants come in to see if they could get an order for an ODL, and given the spotty success rate of a few prior people who wanted to get them from me the last few months, I decided to do some research on my own to clarify the steps one would need to take to apply for and successfully receive an occupational license.

First of all, the way I see it, an occupational license is a last resort at receiving permission to drive. It could also be a temporary emergency resort for someone who may have recently gotten a new job or something similar to that which would require one to be able to drive legally immediately. I do not believe an occupational license is a wise way to try to get around paying old tickets or DPS surcharges in the surcharge program (a whole 'nother chapter for a later time on this journal). The time, effort and money involved in trying to avoid the inevitability of paying traffic tickets and/or surcharges would be much better spent in working towards solving the underlying tickets/surcharges. The only way around paying all those fines/fees is to be truly indigent and unable to pay and to then go through the process of declaring indigency and having fines/fees reduced as a result of that. I believe that approach would be a much more reasonable and efficient way to get back to being able to drive legally in Texas for the vast majority of those cases.

The more common way for people to become in the position of applying for an occupational license is to have been arrested for a DWI or other drug/alcohol related driving offense. In Texas, most of the time when someone is detained for DWI or suspicion of DWI, their Texas DL is not returned to them and is suspended. Later there will be a DPS administrative hearing determining what becomes of that license, but in the meantime, the person arrested has no way to drive legally. Often they will come to my office a day or two following the arrest to attempt to get an ODL so they can go to work, etc.

Regardless of why someone is applying for a ODL, here are some of the things an ODL is and some of the things it isn't.
An ODL is a temporary permit to drive and this permit is conditional on terms outlined by the Judge's granting the issuance of an ODL. Terms may include alcohol counseling, restrictions on geographical areas, on vehicles an ODL holder may drive (may be limited to vehicles equipped with an Ignition Interlock System or other provisions) and will definitely have defined times of day (not more than 12 hours out of any 24 hour period). An ODL is usually issued for one year or less. Anything beyond that must be specifically authorized by the Judge's order and the maximum is two years. An ODL holder is required to carry a load of paperwork with him or her at all times when driving and may also be required to keep a driving log that can be investigated at any time by law enforcement or the court. There also may be other provisions beyond those mentioned here.
An ODL is not a regular driver's license. An ODL cannot be used as a CDL replacement. An ODL holder's paperwork and driving activities are subject to the scrutiny of the court. Any violation of any provision of the ODL order results in the possible immediate termination of an ODL.

OK, that covers the basics of what all this is and who it is for.

If you've gotten this far along reading this and would like a paper handout from our JP Court walking you through steps, please come to my office in the Presidio County Courthouse, 3rd Floor, SW corner M-F 8-5 and we will happily give you a 6 page handout with tips and general procedures to follow. Below is a slightly shorter version of what we have compiled in-house, with some of my observations and opinions added.

Now, if you or someone you know has been told to look into applying for an Occupational Driver's License, here are the steps this Court requires. These are steps that are comply with current rules as of 2015. Some courts may issue orders granting an ODL with slightly different parameters or steps. This journal attempts to inform the readers of how to go about applying for one in this JP Court.

First Step: Determine your true driver's license status with DPS. It is possible that you may only need to reinstate your license in some cases. The surprisingly easy website to use is 

Second Step: Print proper Court forms for both the Petition for Occupational Driver's License asking the Court to issue an order and also the Order for Occupational Driver's License. These forms are available at
 Fill out the Petition as completely as possible before scheduling a hearing with the Judge. Provide some proof of essential need to drive like a letter from employer, school schedule, other affidavits.

Third Step: Go to  to purchase a copy of your Certified Abstract Driving Record. The cost is $22.00. You will need you DPS Audit number (the really long number at the bottom of your TDL) to use the online service. If your license has been picked up and you no longer have it, you will need to try to find a photocopy of your license somewhere or request a photocopy for the trooper who arrested you. If none of this works out, you will have to follow the instructions on getting your driving record through the mail, which will take 3-4 weeks and cost $20.
This step is super frustrating since DPS requires your driving record to apply for an Occupational License and most people no longer have their physical license in their possession once the need for an ODL arises. Requiring the DPS audit number (which nobody knows) instead of other more accessible information such as a SS# or other vital stats is another example of needless governmental red tape, and I hope they change their policy eventually.

Fourth Step:  Acquire SR-22 INSURANCE. This is a special, very expensive form of insurance that is now REQUIRED for ODLs. Unlike regular car liability insurance that covers specific vehicles, this insurance cover you, the individual (now classified as high-risk since your license was revoked or suspended). If you allow this insurance to lapse at any time during which you hold an ODL, the ODL will automatically be revoked by DPS as the insurance companies are required to report any lapse in coverage immediately. Some insurance companies will cancel your policy if you let them know you are now going to have to go to SR-22 coverage. there are insurance companies that specialize in SR-22 policies and there is a last-resort state insurance pool. Either way, your payments on an SR-22 policy are probably going to be similar in size to a car payment every month.

Fifth Step: File you papers with the Court and make an appointment for a hearing date. My policy is generally to try to push your application through as quickly as possible to get your situation resolved. If you comply with the terms set above and provide reasonable proof of needing to drive, I will almost certainly issue the Court Order for an ODL. Be sure to bring the $41.00 Court Cost Fee. Cash or money order made out to Presidio County Justice of the Peace. Bring everything required above with you. Incomplete applications will not be approved. If you are not satisfied with the conditions, you have the option to file paperwork in County Court or District Court. If you reside and/or your infraction was in another County, you have the option to try to get an ODL in that County as well. If you neither reside or had your incident that led to your suspension/revocation in Presidio County, you will need to file it in the respective County with jurisdiction.

Sixth Step: Come to your hearing ON TIME and be prepared to answer questions. If your petition is approved by the Judge, you will receive TWO Certified Copies of your ODL paperwork from the Court. One of those sets of copies will be submitted BY YOU to DPS and one of those sets of copies will serve as your temporary ODL permit until DPS processes the order. The entire set of papers and anything else required by the Court such as a driving log MUST be carried in any vehicle at any time the approved petiitoner is driving and must be surrendered to law enforcement or the Court upon demand.

Seventh Step: MAIL IN YOUR PAPERWORK to DPS, Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested with a check made out to DPS for $10.00 for the Occupational License Fee and a check for a DPS Reinstatement Fee you will owe (usually $125.00). find out what you owe at
Mail all items together to Texas DPS Enforcement and Compliance Service P.O. Box 4087, Austin, TX 78773-0320.  DPS processing can take more than 45 days and your paperwork which allows you to drive without a DPS issued ODL Card is only good for 45 days from issuance. This is why it's the best idea to immediately mail in your paperwork as soon as you receive it. If it takes longer than 45 days to get it back, you may not drive until you have received it. Violations of ODL rules are Class B Misdemeanors and you will go to jail if caught. After you receive everything back from DPS, you still must keep your original paperwork with you at all times you drive. I find this to be somewhat redundant, but these are the rules.

Still sound OK? Not so fast- people with previous arrests (not including an arrest that may have just occurred and resulted in this situation on its own) will have a 90 day waiting period before being eligible to receive an ODL. For previous DWI convictions, the waiting period is 180 days. For multiple convictions the waiting period is one year. Also, if your license was suspended or revoked for Failure to Pay Child Support, you are not eligible for an ODL. Same with people whose licenses became invalid for physical or mental issues.

Lastly, I find that the vast majority of people who are sent to jail in Presidio County are in jail for one of two things; Possession of Marijuana, less than 2oz (Class B MIS) or Driving While License Invalid (Class B MIS). Most of the DWLI charges are a result of failing to comply/pay DPS Surcharge Program Fees. I have always thought this program and its onerous fees assessed after the resolution of tickets exemplify the worst of "no new taxes" State Policy by tacking on fees (not "taxes", Texas!) to everyday procedures. These types of policies inordinately affect the lower and lower income working classes who cannot afford the extra financial burden. The added insult of making failure to pay these fees result in jailable offenses creates a de facto debtors prison situation for those affected. It's shameful and unproductive, I believe, and clogs our jails and prisons with people who really don't belong there. Right now, so many are behind the eight ball or have had a language/understanding barrier regarding the Surcharge Program that Legislators are beginning to talk seriously about a program overhaul. Don't hold your breath, though, as the mountain of "free money" that goes into the General Fund from this program will discourage meaningful reform.

That being said, if you are behind or underwater on surcharges in the DPS Surcharge Program, educate yourself on potential options by reading about the Surcharge Indigency/Incentive Program at

Best of luck, and I hope you found this article informative. Feel free to share this information or provide feedback by leaving a comment. Any non-anonymous relevant comments, positive or negative, will be published. Anonymous comments will not be published.

D. Beebe

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting 11/10/2015 Agenda and notes from meeting

This was a frustrating meeting for me. Several agenda items were deemed timely and, frankly, the same items have been on other agendas in slightly different working and if decisions are made, working is vague. I feel like because of the Sheriff's lack of willingness to participate in the process of working with anyone not working under him in his office, the recent meetings have been marginally productive. Anyway, the following notes are merely notes and not opinions. Opinions above and beyond this paragraph will come in a different post. Thanks for reading. Presidio County Commissioners Court 11/10/2015 9AM, regular meeting, Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa. Convene meeting at 9:10 AM, everyone present including County Atty. Item 6 first- Approval of advisory board for Marfa Golf Course. David Walker Doug Cook Mario Ontiveros Manny Baeza Eddie Pallarez Approved unanimously, sworn in. Eddie thanks John Fowlkes for help in bylaws and organization. David Walker once managed a golf course in Harper, TX. Has also helped build 4 golf courses, including 2 of the top 10 in TX. Doug Cook is superintendent of Valentine schools, interested in promoting to students. Mario Ontiveros works at golf course as a Presidio County employee. Aranda asks if someone has spoken to the golf group interested in taking over the golf course about a potential course for Presidio. Eddie P says no conversations have taken place on that yet. Aranda asks for help in getting more Presidio folks involved. Hernandez asks if he needs to become a member to be in the golf association. Eddie answers yes. Twice a month playing golf saves money in greens fees if you are a member. $53.13 for single membership, days greens fees is $34. Hernandez offers to help with recruiting. Carpooling is an option, getting people in the habit of using the golf course. Item 4: public comments: Marjo Skiles, idea re: Marfa Rotary Club grant for benches around the courthouse. Finally grant has been approved. Marfa Rotary Club and Rotary district will place 6 benches around courthouse. Placement of benches worked out with Sam Cobos. Benches will say donated by Marfa Rotary. Marfa Rotary will be pursuing more grants in the future. Commissioner White says thanks for the hard work. Mrs. Eva Gonzales asking for help with maintaining and grading the road to her property in East Heights lots 1 and 7, Block R. (Avenue A and Texas- potential problem with right of way ownership) Item 5- announcements from judge and commissioners. Judge: informing commissioners regarding documentation for TAC grant finished and grants should be forthcoming. Had a telephone conference with a firm for making mass notifications during emergencies. 3,600 dollars plus or minus to implement. Not in the budget but it would be a great service. Firm is called Asher Group. Hernandez wants to know how the warnings would go out. Sheriff's Office would be in charge. Texas Dept of Agriculture wants us to find a Candelaria water system manager. Asks commissioners to help find someone. This is an urgent need. Aranda says we can contract with City of Presidio. Hernandez asks about budget. Possible collaboration with Ruidosa water group... Texas Dept of Public Safety sent letter that we are suspended from Homeland Security until our corrective action plan for our audit is implemented. All grants suspended and although we are in compliance we are not lifted from suspension. December is earliest until grants could be reimplemented. Judge needs to do more research on this, working this out. "Harvester" grant program at issue. Katie S says they were contacting us to ask us on our own status as to what we are planning on doing. Treasurer attended Jeff Davis commissioners court to hear a presentation from Big Bend Telephone. Possible switch from very expensive AT&T after a quote. Hernandez and Guevara went to seminar on commercial vehicles, inspections on new bridges yesterday. Informational. Railroad was also discussed. Hernandez says it was good, and good news in general. Information about how much business has been lost to delays at the port and also lack of railroad. Nov 19th 6 PM EMS district meeting in Marfa. Judge asked to have it in Presidio and initially it was approved by state rep's office, but moved to Marfa for travel purposes for people in Austin. Judge thanks commissioner Vasquez for his $500 donation for a new Christmas tree for courthouse to replace 12 year old tree with missing limbs. Asks commissioners for more donations towards courthouse open house celebration for Christmas. Hernandez says all County officials should donate. Judge agrees. Item 7: Executive Session regarding County Treasurer duties and responsibilities. Executive session at 9:47. Reconvene into regular session at 10:35AM Item 8- tabled county treasurer duty item. Item 9- Community Development Block Grant- Jerry Carvajal from Grantworks presents. Improvements to Redford water system. Approved in Oct. 2 year period. Completion schedule includes that county must begin contracted construction within one year. White makes motion to approve contract for grant. Citizen (?) Carrasco asks commissioners to consider section regarding road improvements and subbing it out for chlorination safety measures. Looked at Marfa water system in comparison to Redford system. Says Marfa system has safety measures in place. Jerry says grant can be modified to change that. Can be amended to have the $13,000 for road back into water project as long as county grades road one time. Aranda says he would prefer. White wants to amend motion to reflect this. Jerry says amending not necessary. Ok, everyone says. Mr Carrasco satisfied with answer. Patty Roach says that she would like to point out that the bidding process has to go through OMB and budget page must be added to overall budget. Vote unanimous. Item 10- discussion with action to approve interlocal between Lubbock county and Presidio County for public defender services. Presented by rep Elaine Bauer(?) from Lubbock public defenders office. Explains that TX leg amended extra money for death penalty eligible cases for defense. County still responsible for expert fees, some other fees. John Fowlkes says this is a no-brainer. We need to enter into it. Hernandez moves to approve, second by White. Unanimous. Item 11- discussion only to revise Co Treasurers asset inventory list. Frances Garcia at podium. Judge wants to know what vehicles we have and where they are. Frances says there are three vehicles that have Presidio County titles but vehicles are in other people's hands. Presidio people. Names on sheet. Sheriff says he does not know where these vehicles are or how they got into these people's hands. Vehicles have been re-titled to other people. White says there should be a record of who signed the titles over to other people. Frances says she has the original titles but tax office reflects other owners. Sheriff should know through auctions. PISD has two vehicles that the Sheriff signed the titles over to. Fowlkes says the Sheriff does not have authority to sign over titles, apparent authority versus actual authority. Says it's civilly wrong but not necessarily criminally. White asks if this should or can be corrected. Fowlkes says it's up to commissioners court. Frances ya she does not know if these vehicles were purchased through Stonegarden. 2001, 2006 vehicles. PISD vehicles are likely Stonegarden. Fowlkes says inventory transfers must be made by commissioners court. Says Sheriff could go get them if he wants to but otherwise someone else should go get them. Says easiest way to do it is to ask for return of vehicles. Vasquez says that they should get Joel Nunez to ask for vehicles back. Fowlkes says it doesn't matter if vehicles were titled to Sheriff's Office or County as commissioners court is the custodian of all county assets. Hernandez asks about City of Presidio's trucks from Sheriff and Judge Hunt made the decision to loan it to them. Frances says a 2012 Chevy Tahoe was donated by Judge Hunt to the Presidio Police Dept. Hernandez says that vehicle was never in physical possession of the vehicle. Asking if that makes a difference. Fowlkes reiterates that despite any title differences, the only custodian of county properly is commissioners court. 2012 Tahoe was titled to County. There are 2 additional vehicles that are loaned to the City of Presidio police department. Titled to Presidio County with no permission from commissioners court. Road and Bridge equipment list has been confirmed to be accurate. 1999 GMC Yukon also in question. Unsure if it still exists, could be at fire station as per Gary Mitschke by permission of commissioners court. Still being used. Judge confirms this is discussion only, no action permitted. Next agenda may deal with this. Item 12- potential reassignment of vehicles. Judge says that we have to determine inventory first, then determine if we have any vehicles for other departments. White mentions the vehicle not bought with Stonegarden funds that the Sheriff's office bought last year out of jail reserves. That is not necessarily a law enforcement vehicle. Questions about Stonegarden participation in the future and possibility of Sheriff not cooperating and having Homeland Security repossess the vehicles. Sheriff wrote a letter requesting to Homeland Security not to participate but wrote a letter to commissioners saying he does want to participate. Judge says she has explained to the Sheriff that the county wants him to participate on the law enforcement side but not on the paperwork side. Has submitted many contacts and documents to facilitate this. Aranda recommends that constables participate if Sheriff will not. Judge says that constables force is too small. Hernandez says that in Sheriff's email to him he is willing to participate on the law enforcement side. White asks Hernandez to go get Sheriff to come to this meeting (nobody from Sheriff's office is here today) and confirm one way or another. Hernandez balks. Says he has had a conversation with Sheriff and he wants to participate. Vasquez says we need to put it on the agenda for next time. Katie and Judge say that time is running out, no time left until next time. White says the grants lay the rules out for administering Stonegarden and Sheriff is not in charge of making them. Hernandez wants to know what commissioners need from Sheriff. Judge and Katie says Sheriff himself must contact Homeland Security and say he is willing to participate and also name any friendly forces. Judge says she and Sheriff are not agreeing on how to participate. At issue is loss of pre-allocated funds that must be spent by Feb 2016. Homeland Security wants to know by Monday if we are on board. Aranda says the issue has been communication between Sheriff's office and OMB but by hiring someone else there should be no problems. White talks about involving Parks and Wildlife and said that Sheriff had called them and asked them not to step on his toes as chief law enforcement so they refused. Katie says game wardens were happy to help but Sheriff said no and now we may lose $300,000 of extra revenue already allocated. Hernandez asks again what does the Sheriff need to do. Hernandez refuses to believe the Sheriff will not participate and continues asking the same questions. Judge gives him more information. Hernandez questions timing of emails, etc. Vasquez says he should be here today, we should call him right now. Commissioners vote to table until later on in the meeting to see if they can get Sheriff to come to the meeting to give information. Aranda asks questions about vehicles and which are Stonegarden. White says we need to get there. Items 12 and 13 left open until later Item 14- State Homeland Security grant program reimbursements for dispatch console. Just over $54,964.00 spent on dispatch board. White asks about suspension and Gary Mitschke says we can't access the money until we're off suspension but we can request it. Says this is the final step in integrating dispatch countywide. Aranda makes motion to approve. Katie says we also need to approve making a budget page for this. Restated motion, approved unanimously. Item 15- Marfa Airport hangar lease between county and Steve Parker. Chase Snodgrass, airports manager, presents. TXDOT has a model hangar contract. Used it, made a few small modifications. Parker wanted to park other vehicles besides aircraft in hangar, not permitted by TXDOT. $1000/month lease. Existing leases are for private hangars and are land leases at 6 cents per sq ft. This is for a county owned hangar. Land leases can be raised each year by CPI. Would amount to a few hundred dollars per year in increased revenue. Our county's lease rate is very low, but contributed to people locating their hangars here with long term leases. Aranda asking about leases in general. Most land leases are 20 year leases, very poor record keeping in the past. Eventually county will need to deal with this and review current leases re dates and amounts and made changes if need be. Hernandez asks who is keeping track of lease payments. Currently nobody, most leaseholders come in and pay their own. Nobody really keeping track, but the work involved is difficult and the money amounts are not substantial. Commissioners had been unaware, now realize that something ought to be done. Judge says that between Chase, OMB, treasurer and auditor it can be worked out. White makes motion to approve contract. Judge has question about contract. Question regarding rate. Approved at $1000/ month. Item 12- Sheriff is on standby available to be called to talk on speakerphone, ready to answer questions. Jim has number, Sheriff would not give it to Crystal. Number not going through at first. Sheriff answers. Judge asks him to come, he says it's an inconvenient time. Hernandez asks Sheriff if he is willing to work the law enforcement side of Stonegarden grants. Sheriff says he is willing to work the law enforcement side with only Sheriff's Office. As long as they do it his way. Does not want to work with OMB. Says he will work with someone outside to do the paperwork but he has to run it himself. White asks him if he wants to do what's right for Presidio County he should work with commissioners court. Sheriff says he is willing to but only on his terms. Sheriff says that he is willing to wait on a decision from commissioners court a to whom they could hire to work with him on paperwork outside of County government. Judge says we are running out of time, asks Sheriff to call Homeland Security agents to confirm his intentions to work with them to complete granted funds for grant reimbursements already approved. Sheriff agrees to meet with Judge tomorrow afternoon and says he can make calls. Aranda asks about vehicles for road and bridge. Would like to know which vehicles are surplus that can be allocated to road and bridge. Since their vehicles are worn out. Asks for list of potentially available vehicles. Sheriff says he will get back to you on that. White says for the record he this it's wrong for a dept head to tell commissioners court what to do with County grants and county assets. Sheriff says he ha no problem as long as it's something he can approve of and will wait on commissioners court to give him a recommendation on outside people he can work with. Judge says she has already contacted some experts on this, and they are already busy working with other clients; the one who may be available wants $6000 per month to do it. Aranda asks if commissioners court may appoint a grant administrator. Will he be OK with it. Sheriff says yes, as long as it's someone he approves of. Aranda says OK, everything is all right. Katie asks why OMB can't do it, We don't have the budget for it and it is not budgeted. More discussion. Sheriff says goodbye, will talk tomorrow at dedication ceremony for Veterans Memorial at jail. White says we're back where we started. Judge says we can't work on any of the agenda items that have anything to do with county assets without some more information from Sheriff. Hernandez asks Katie (again) about Stonegarden vehicles. Judge says she is working on a disposition policy for assets that will avoid this issue in the future. White says you can read the law and it's his understanding that commissioners court, after two years, can declare the vehicles surplus and reallocate them. Aranda makes a motion to approve county vehicles to be declared surplus and available to county departments and prioritize the reassignment of vehicles to county departments in need. Unanimous. Item 13- transfer 2 vehicles from sheriff's office to road and bridge. Question as to whether to take action. Unknown at this point is which vehicles might be available. Waiting on list promised from Sheriff. Aranda says we should take action and when we get the list to transfer. White says we have a list of vehicles, and they all belong to the County, and we should choose. Some discussion. Motion from Aranda to transfer two sheriff's vehicles to road and bridge dept. unanimous. Item 16- discussion with action to increase jail budget by declaring emergency action to replace jail intercom system as per jail inspection findings. $27,000 cost to replace. Jail budget has it in it for other items but could be transferred from reserves. Patty Roach recommends declaring emergency transfer and fund it our of reserve account by $27,000. Hernandez moves so. Aranda asks about existing budget, roof project. Patty clarifies. Unanimous. Break at 11:52, reconvene at 1:00 PM An aside- around 12:10 PM phone and Internet service went out in Marfa. Still not restored by 1:10 PM at this time of writing. Reconvene into meeting at 1:15 PM Item 17- discussion with action to approve County Treasurer to submit payroll every first and third Friday of the month. Cheryl Calvert explains that insurance companies have us on a 24 pay period schedule. We have been at 26 pay periods. This will even out insurance payments. Nobody has a problem with this. Approved unanimously. Item 18- nominees to submit to Presidio County Appraisal District Board. Two resolutions- one with commissioner Aranda and one with two blanks. Hernandez mentions that their board appointees had been the Judge and Aranda. White makes motion to submit the Judge and Aranda. Unanimous. Item 19- Related item to approve resolution to submit nominees to Board. Approved unanimously. Item 20- Presidio County child welfare board presentation by Ann Dunlap, treasurer for the board. Addressing role of board and relation to the County. References statutes holding county somewhat responsible for monies when CPS has to remove a child from a home. Child Welfare Board handles that rolls of paying for costs between removal from home and placement in foster care. Discusses reasons for child removal, role of CPS. No foster homes in Presidio County, mostly children relocated to El Paso foster care homes. Border counties also deal with children being used in possible smuggling operations in vehicles. Child Welfare Board deals with caring for that child until placement, including clothing. Records of child welfare are confidential except for age, gender and an ID number for privacy purposes. Child Welfare Board provides the bridge between the county and CPS services. All board members are volunteers. Judge Guevara thanks her for her service and presentation. Ann Dunlap brings back up that budgeting for this service is difficult and planning on numbers is nearly impossible as it is responsive in real time. Commissioner Vasquez thanks Ann for coming and their work, would like quarterly updates on situations. Item 21- Satellite phones and their location. Satellite phones are currently missing, need to be returned to Treasurer's office for inventory and possible turn to provider. Frances says Sheriff's office has five on his bill but can only account for two or three. Satellite phones were ordered by Judge Agan in 2006. Contracted with Big Canyon TV and anything we can't account for will cost us $1200. Previous county treasurer had asked everyone to turn theirs in, and some dept heads did but they cannot be located at the current time. Road and bridge has three and sheriff can account for two. Bills show that we have six allotted to road and bridge. Sheriff was allotted five. Gary Mitschke says he remembers about 20 in total. Ruben Carrasco says the ones they have in road and bridge are new and work great. The older ones that were returned to the treasurers office were very heavy and did not work. Frances says we are paying monthly on each one we supposedly have (not a lot of money per month). Frances called Sheriff to find out which phones he is using and got no cooperation. Agreements were signed in 2006, murky details. County wants to cancel contracts but may face substantial fees. White says new phones are so much better, we should turn in all the phones and if we need them to order new ones that are improved. The Sheriff does not want to have his phones replaced, according to Frances. $1200 per phone if we can't produce the phones. Big Canyon says they will waive the fees, possible keep a f for road and bridge and two for Sheriff's. Motion to cancel all phones but the road and bridge and Sheriff's office phones. Unanimous. Item 22- Administrative Session- County Auditor- 2014 audit reports being corrected, inmate trust funds and jail reports received from jail. JP and tax office accounts being reconciled. Sales tax getting straight. Receivables on US Marshals receivables. Purchasing policy still needs to be refined. Inter-fund transfers still need some work. Capital asset procedure being finalized. All bank accounts except for payroll clearing are reconciled through Sept. Grant reimbursements being worked on by OMB. Single audit issue being addressed by new monthly and end of year procedures to make submission to outside auditor timely. Approved. County Treasurer Report- Frances Garcia. Receipts presented. Vasquez asks about payments for Presidio EMS and reports turned in. Discussion about report due dates and whether submissions made in a timely fashion. First payments to be made in January for end of first quarter. Marco Baeza from City of Presidio wants to address quarterly payments. Threatens to cut service to County if county does not work harder to help City of Presidio. Aranda wants to have reports every month, allow them to have the money since they need it, when they ask for it. Judge clarifies that that is not the way it was passed. Minutes reflect that payments are made once reports are submitted. Hernandez asks them if the City of Presidio is asking for advance payment. Marco Baeza complains about the timing of the funding. White and judge clarify that city of Presidio was here for the meetings and the payment plan was communicated in those meetings. Judge reads minutes after Marco Baeza protests about having to pay city bills without funds from County. Minutes seem to reflect monthly payments once reports are made. Katie says reports are monthly, payments are quarterly. Judge wants to revisit this when Presidio EMS report is given. Approved OMB report- Katie Sanchez. Invoices. Need approval on some invoices from commissioners court. Reimbursements on grants current. Jail US Marshals is not up to date through August 1. Working on road and bridge to get grant reimbursements on road grants. Hernandez asks about Stonegarden dates for potential continuation. Katie says that she has to wait on procedure, can't act until decisions are made. Approved District and county clerk- money totals. Question as to who writes clerk reports. Florcita generates these, new automated reports will come once software is updated in clerk's office. Hernandez asks why we are paying for outsourcing. Judge says that she has asked for an automated report from clerk's office. Frances says that once new software is in place we won't be paying extra for contact labor on this report. $166 per month cost to county. Judge wants to call IDocket and get a better report. Software very expensive, should be able to have a report able to generate. Hernandez does not understand why this is the only county dept to not do their own report. Skip to letter O- Presidio EMS report. Erick Hernandez speaking for EMS. Reports submitted, asks if there are questions. White wants to ask auditor if this report is the type of report that can help us. Patty Roach takes a look and says that financial part of the report reflects salaries generally and then benefits, etc, bills, supplies. No revenue sheets provided. Hernandez wants to look at City of Marfa report to compare. Patty also says that commissioners court has not yet set defined parameters on what reports should cover. White says it is really important that we get all financial information in order to go forward with a new plan for the future. October report for Presidio EMS is run report, not able to be accessed. Hernandez wants the same format for reports as City of Marfa. Patty Roach clarifies that the county can request a detailed transaction report, activity report, etc from each entity. Formats can be different if info is the same. City of Marfa has detailed revenue and expenditure report for Sept, none yet for October. Marco Baeza makes another comment saying they will get the county what they need but the county needs to work with them. We appreciate the allocation but there is a perceived lack of will to help out the City of Presidio. Hernandez asks would the city prefer payments monthly or quarterly payments. Clarifies payment schedule. Baeza says no real difference, would prefer to make it easy for county. Commissioners reflect that they do not understand the controversy, county will pay allotment once reports are submitted. Marco suggests advance quarterly payments with any penalty coming out of future quarters. Aranda says that they will pay the bills, and will approve all the reports, the money is already allocated and it's taxpayer dollars. Hernandez agrees, we will pay just because you are providing the service. Hernandez still wants a recommended format. Patty Roach says she will prepare one, possibly applicable to all outside agencies. Motion to accept by Judge. Unanimous. Facilities Management Report: Sam Cobos presents. Judge asks where Ari was yesterday, doors were unlocked at end of day. Ari didn't show up for work, Steve was sick. Need to call Sam when this happens and will not happen again. Sam contacted jail AC people, including Honeywell people. Friday rep will show up to present some options about the method to replace a system like this one. Engineering services will be needed to analyze what type of approach it will take to convert to refrigerated air from evaporative. Could be difficult to select a service based on jail standards requirements, differing areas of expertise. Honeywell would present a project management plan to select all firms to do all work, select options, full package. Also line up potential financing. Lease option available as well. Hernandez says that the county will wind up paying for all these services, going to be very expensive to pay all these people. Figures thrown around look like around a quarter million. Question as to whether current evaporative system could be improved or must be retrofitted into refrigerated. Hernandez wants to know potential difference in energy costs. Refrigeration will be more expensive. Vasquez says regardless of costs, refrigerated is going to be better, less risk as to effectiveness. White says that regardless of anything, as long as jail standards is ok with it we are ok. If they are not, we are in big trouble. Might be worth it regardless of cost to go with more effective cooling with a refrigerated air system. Sam contacted jail standards guy out of Austin to help county be sure to be in compliance. Lots of ventilation eccentricities involved in fire prevention safety as far as jail standards go. Could impact ducting requirements. Judge wants to know if roof at jail is still leaking. Sam says no response yet from jail. Vasquez wants to know if he has communicated with jail admin and/or sheriff. Sam says that thus far nothing, but soon it will be important to have everyone communicating about the future there. County Annex bids have been received for different roofing options, amounts. Still getting a few more. No jail maintenance employee hired yet by jail. Alfredo Mediano still doing work at jail, ordering supplies including new showerheads. Vasquez requests that jail admin Gracie Parras come to next commissioners meeting for more jail information. Jail kitchen drain lard buildup. Jail hired a contractor to unclog drains. Needs regular maintenance, possible service contract. Found out that drain for kitchen is not draining into grease trap, bypassed it. Suggested to have someone clean it monthly. Fire alarm system went out at courthouse. Approved. Capital Projects manager Ruben Carrasco. Report submitted via email. Judge asks about airport fire breaks. Gary says that Willie Hernandez could use a grader at airport build fire breaks. Ruben says yes, he will get one there. Need to haul caliche. Ruben says we can use surplus asphalt that is already there. Chase Snodgrass says he recommends caliche. Some discussion. White says we should take airport manager's recommendation. Airport manager wants to use the asphalt material for other upgrades. More information will be gotten on uses, materials. Approved Airports manager- Chase Snodgrass submitted by email. Approved. Tax Assessor Report: Katie delivers, says tax office was working all the time to get taxes out. They are now out. Some already collected. JP 1 and 2 reports presented by D Beebe. Lots of fireworks here regarding Sheriff's Office not writing any tickets for JP Court I. More on this later in an opinion column here... Emergency Management Report: Gary Mitschke, coordinator. Rope rescue class held Oct 24,25 at Marfa airport. Border patrol allowed use. Rappelling towers still in pretty good shape. SHSP grant discussed. Met with Sen Rodriguez re infrastructure issues. At this point I had to leave the meeting to address some timely work. Apologies. David

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Joint meeting Presidio County Commissioners Court, Presidio City Council, Marfa City Council re EMS service

Meeting 10/28/2015, 6 PM.
Hello everyone,

I am sorry my notes here are late to post; I had trouble with my charger and was unable to get this up before now.

The meeting went fast and it was a bit hard to hear since we were in the main courtroom for the Presidio County Courthouse. I was took as complete notes as I could. I think the important thing here is that a good dialogue between entities has been started regarding EMS and the potential for forming a countywide Emergency Services District (ESD). I definitely think the meeting was productive and I was impressed with the professionalism of the elected officials from all three political entities.

ESD workshop

City of Marfa, City of Presidio, Presidio County Commissioners Court joint meeting

6:07 PM All commissioners present.
Presidio City Council. Garcia, Tavares, mayor and 1 councilman present.
City of Marfa- all present

Jeff Stokes with Poncho Nevarez officer.
Border Patrol EMS here
Sixto Rey, DPS
Many many people present representing multiple agencies from within and beyond the County.

Judge Guevara makes overview comments.

City of Presidio plans to cease emergency services to the County in the next fiscal year.

Emergency Services District: judge wants to know how people feel ant it. 3-4 year timeline on beginning service if adopted.

Mayor Ferguson: says that immediate help can be addressed by finding out how to help Marfa back up Presidio. Dan Dunlap says that the city of Marfa has applied for a grant through the hospital district for a new ambulance. Meeting Nov 12 the in Marfa to discuss. New ambulance would be helpful towards restoring backup service but City of Presidio needs money and a new ambulance does not help that.
City of Presidio has two ambulances, city of Marfa has one. Marfa has four paramedics. Marfa's backup ambulance has no air conditioning.

Carlos Nieto says that we're talking about badly needed resources. Wants to pin some funding on the hospital district and the federal government. South acuity has federal properties with no payments in lieu of taxes and yet services are received.
We should consider approaching the hospital district for money.

L. Hernandez says that if both cities are in agreement of forming an ESD then we should move forward. Are both cities in favor? Dunlap says that it has not yet been on an agenda, but city manager Mustard favors it. J. Ferguson says that city of Presidio needs more education and information before they can make a decision as to whether to support it or not.Jim White asks about the 2012 effort to create a south county ESD service. Ferguson says he is not sure, but he thinks the legislature either rejected it or it never quite got there.
Marco Baeza says that in the past an ESD would have raised about $200,000. Dunlap says that current max rate would generate about $400,000. Hernandez says that cities would need to help. Dunlap suggests that an ESD could contract with each city's EMS service. The problem is how to keep Presidio City going until then at the least. 

Judge Guevara asks for solid numbers on overall costs for city EMS services. presidio says $525,000. Marfa says about $400,000.

Josie Simpson says that the city of Marfa has had to absorb the costs and raise water rates to pay for EMS services and everything else. Dr Billings asks about collection rates for City of Marfa. Dunlap says that Medicare and Medicaid have revamped their processes and it has made collections slower this year. Collections delay has cut it in half, basically.
More talk about collections, billing difficulties...

White says issue is clearly funding first. Suggests reaching out to Congressman and representatives to get some Fed help. Need to find revenue sources. Judge says that there are no interlocal agreements in place. In the near term we should try to crate some. 
Marco Baeza says the old way worked well for years, there was never a problem. We could go back if possible. Mayor Dunlap says city would like to sit down and hammer out a mutual services agreement. 
Mayor Ferguson says that we are in crisis. Judge Guevara says that the Health and Safety code discusses mutual aid agreements. They are needed for day to day operations. Hernandez asks City of Marfa if the lack of an agreement or the lack of a good ambulance is keeping Marfa from backing up Presidio. Simpson and Dunlap say it's mostly equipment but also that City of Marfa residents have suffered when ambulance is serving Presidio; deaths have occurred.
Dimitri Garcia mentions that there has been some miscommunication, he would like to help City of Marfa and the City of Presidio to come together. Challenging situation. 

Dr Billings has some info regarding the Medicaid 1115 waiver program. Way to use state funding to expand health care opportunities. Open to governmental and non-profit entities. Has been used in City of Houston with this program. 
Perhaps a regional EMS system? With state funding...
He thinks the problem is financial and also training. Need more EMT basics, intermediates, paramedics, etc because of distances traveled. 
Perhaps approach Sul Ross to see if a program can be developed.
Carlos Nieto: agrees with Billings. Cost of operations is huge because of trained staff. 
We sold grow our own if possible. Distances and terrain make things difficult. 
Officials need to do their part as leaders. People of City of Presidio have always been resilient, can do much with little. If the highest calling of public service is not to preserve human life then he does not know what it could be.
Dimitri says he agrees but let's look at timeline, brass tacks. City of Marfa need an ambulance, City of Presidio needs money. Let's find some answers. ESD is years away, let's look at now. What can we do for each other to fix our problems?
Aranda says we should look at a countywide answer with an ESD. What are we looking at there? Judge goes through the legal process of forming an ESD. Petition, special public meeting of commissioners, unanimous vote would result in calling an election. If an election passes, then take it to Legislature.
Dunlap says both cities would have to pass a resolution to be in this ESD.
Billings asks if there would be any benefit to including Alpine, Brewster County. Dunlap clarifies that we are already in a bind with Alpine on the Hospital District issues. 
White says in the short term the cities need to get together and find some short term solutions. Dimitri agrees. Marco Baeza asks how can we pay for the personnel. Dimitri says we need to look past that for now and look for the benefit of cooperation and find a way to do it. White says there will have to be some outside funding. Tavares agrees but it is not easy. Advocates working together. 
Dimitri says that if this is a County priority then for next year the budgets need to reflect this.
Tavares says both cities are in the same boat.
Dunlap says that it seems as if the City of Presidio has a bigger hole to dig out of that Marfa. Tavares reluctantly agrees. Aranda says it doesn't matter, we're talking about communication. City of Presidio has no Paramedics and Marfa has four. Presidio has seven people who can go on an ambulance. 
Judge asks about ambulance grant. When is it expected? Mayor Dunlap says he is going to Dallas to look at equipment in Nov. regardless of grant status. Will pursue a new ambulance regardless. Does not know how long between ordering and receiving new ambulance would take. 
Marco Baeza asks if Marfa would back up City of Presidio if a new ambulance is obtained. Mayor says yes, with agreement in place. 
Ferguson asks about Presidio's extra ambulance. Yes, it is in good working order. 
Hernandez wants to know how County can assist with two cities cooperating. 
Dunlap suggests that the County next year allocate money into an account that both cities can bill from for extra jurisdictional service. Thinks it is the best way and there should be an agreement on how it should work. Hernandez says that the only problem is that that still does not cover the cost of offering service. Marco Baeza agrees that just having the ambulance available is the real cost with staffing, insurance, etc. 
Manny Baeza points out that the fixed costs are the same for both cities.

Judge asks if people are agreeable to pursuing an ESD in the long run. Basic agreement that nobody is vehemently opposed in exploring it. Marco Baeza says there are "concerns". White says that there's not really another long term option. 
Mayor Ferguson says that educating ourselves is necessary, we need to learn mor. Dimitri agrees, says we are currently ignorant, need to learn more. White says that the fixed costs are huge, we need some outside source of funding, there's no current funding. An ESD is a possible solution. Brings up federal reimbursements, non-profits not contributing tax monies. 
Carlos Nieto encourages the State of Texas to contribute as well. Big Bend Ranch State Park and other properties do not contribute dollars. We need to encourage the  State to participate as well. 
Jeff Davis County ESD formation included info from an ESD organization called Safety. Can help with education, information, a great resource. Recommends that they give a presentation.
Judge thanks everyone for sharing this information. She is open for suggestions, asks if they would like to have joint meetings. Manny Baeza requests an ESD workshop as soon as possible, preferably before the holidays. 
Dimitri Garcia echoes that sentiment of cooperation. Dr Billings suggests including Hospital District folks. John Ferguson asks of we should try to pursue the Feds for funding opportunities. White says yes, we need to reach out. 
Carlos Nieto suggests researching other Texas border counties and what they have done. References DPS being sent here, try to pressure agencies to give us more attention to help preserve officers at risk. 
Commissioner Vasquez would like to meet again, more often, regardless of location. 
White suggests meeting in ten days. Others recommend coordinating the next meeting with an ESD education session. Ferguson thanks everyone for a productive session. Judge invites everyone to have food, thank you all. 
Adjourn at 7:27 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting regarding TAP Grant 10/14/2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court
Special Meeting on Transportation Alternatives Program Grant. 1:45 PM October 14, 2015

Special grant program from State of Texas to encourage pedestrian, cycling and non motorized vehicle transportation.

Presenter: Ramon Carrasco, engineer, Kleinman Consultants.

TXDOT reps Blanca Serrano and Becky Reyes present.

Marco Baeza, city manager of Presidio invited by Judge to sit at table to hear better. 

Ramon says that TXDOT is requesting revisions to project. TXDOT reps here for guidance on revisions. 
26 million dollars available, only 32 million received before deadline, so funding is likely. 
TXDOT wants county and city to front money if use own contractors, if TXDOT builds, then no money has to be fronted. 20% match . City of Presidio gets larger subsidy.
Approx 77% plus 5%.
County projects amount to $250,000 match. County responsible for all engineering costs. Grant only for construction.
Match on Silver St project is $14,000. Talk of spacing payments to TXDOT if TXDOT builds for county. 
Talk of trying to figure out how to pay for engineering, possibly reduce project scopes.

TXDOT really liked the proposed Presidio city middle school sidewalk project.

Revised applications are due Oct 26. For Presidio County projects budgets need to be revised, one large project probably should be dropped. 
Ramon wants to focus on 2 top projects of four for County.
City of Marfa has a good project with different engineer.
Match for County on project 1 is $21,500 for engineering, $7200 for build match. Project total is $276,000. "Track field" project. Silver St at Wilson sidewalks and lighting in Presidio on streets around football field. Some grading, drainage help.
2nd priority project is rebuild bridge to school in Marfa on Columbia St.
County only has $30,000 budgeted total for projects (based on estimates for engineering provided by Ramon several months ago)
County basically pays 8 cents on the dollar for construction.
Engineering extra. 
Federally backed funding. Lots of paperwork. If TXDOT does the construction they take care of paperwork and inspection.
County and city can combine projects to save a bit of money.
More money for same projects will be available in 2016 and 2017 for more projects, or projects that we may not do right now.
White asks about timing of construction. It is determined that construction would not start until September. Budget for 2017. 
Judge Guevara says that priority for Marfa is school bridges. TXDOT says that those school bridges don't qualify as bridges, they are more like sidewalks. If the were bridges TXDOT would likely fix them for free.
TXDOT says that projects on their roads can be done for a small administration fee with no construction fee.
Hernandez wants to look at a bike route down FM 170 to Candelaria for next year.
TXDOT is going to look at sidewalk project from Cordero's to El Cosmico since it is on 67 and 67 is a TXDOT road. Possible just a small admin fee to build that sidewalk. 
(County Priority #4)
Bridge project is $220,000 total cost- rebuild Columbia, add handicap ramps to Lincoln St bridge in Marfa where there are now stairs on pedestrian bridge. New Columbia bridge will be a pre-fab bridge. Steel and plastic, mostly.
Presidio track/field project is $276,000
TXDOT questioning price of bridge replacement. Ramon says he used TXDOT average and added 20%- Plus mobilization and 10% contingencies. 
Now commissioners are saying that they may not do the track/field project but instead do Priority #3 in Presidio. That is walkway between Elementary School and Hurd St.
Can combine forces on that one with City of Presidio project on engineering since City project is adjacent. Discussion. Possible savings on mobilization and environmental costs; combine into one joint project. Aranda, Hernandez and Baeza discuss, seem to be in favor. Some question by TXDOT reps as to savings and using two entities. Agreement to go with Priority 3. City of Presidio Bledsoe Blvd connector project would be in conjunction, to connect school pedestrian loop between campuses.
Priority 3 cost match is a bit less than Priority 1. $235,000 total construction cost. $7000 match plus engineering plus savings on environmental.
County asking about money payments. Three years from selection to complete project. Money can come back to TXDOT slowly. TXDOT can bid project materials for multiple projects all at once to be money on mobilization, competitive bidding, etc.
Discussion about putting on court agenda for revisions. Apparently not totally necessary. Ramon recommends, TXDOT doesn't have concern. 
Confirmed Priority 2 and 3, TXDOT will look into doing priority 4 (sidewalk to Cosmico) on their own.
Cities of Marfa and Presidio have their own projects, Presidio will have two. 
TXDOT says City of Presidio and Marfa projects have good chances, good qualifications for approval.
Ramon will revised and get to Judge to sign. Commissioners Court will re-approve at next meeting. Adjourn at 3:08 PM

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting 10/14/2015

Hello, everyone

Commissioners Court met for their regular meeting Wednesday Oct 14th at 9 AM at the courthouse in Marfa. The meeting was followed by another special workshop to discuss a TXDOT Transportation Alternatives Program Grant to fund pedestrian and/or bike route improvements (see newer post).

Presidio County Commissioners Court 10/14/2015
Marfa, TX, 9 AM

Present: White, Judge, Vasquez
Absent: Hernandez, Aranda

No public comments

Judge's comments: spoke with an electric contract provider. Cheaper rates available. Public power tool. Rate of 3.13. Some accounts are under contract until 2017. Currently paying between 2.12 and 6+ per account.
Met with mayors of Marfa and Presidio re emergency services. Exploring an ESD will be good for both cities. Need a petition with minimum 100 signatures. 

Commissioner Hernandez enters the room. 

White Asks what we can do to expedite the process. Judge says we have to go through proper steps in order. Petition is first. Commissioner Aranda enters meeting at 9:09 AM
Hernandez says that City of Presidio went through all that in 2007. Need 100 signatures. Health and Safety code explains the process. 
Mayor Ferguson wants to have a special meeting of commissioners and council to discuss. City of Presidio informs County that they will not serve County after 2016. City of Marfa says the same. ESD is the answer, need to get it together.
Hernandez wants to bring in a consultant. Judge Guevara wants to meet with Judge Duer in Jeff Davis County since they already have a ESD. Hernandez is insistent that he wants to bring in his consultant. White says procedure is not a mystery, it's more about timing. Legislature meets in 2 years, must have State approval. Judge Guevara would like to have an inter local meeting. ESD as soon as possible. Meet with both councils. Judge suggests meeting at Cibolo Creek Ranch.
Redford water system improvements: grant with TDA. Has grant contract in hand, has 30 days to review it and approve it. Block Grant with Texas Dept of Agriculture. Judge says she will review it and will share with commissioners if they want to see it.
Aranda brings conversation back to ESD. Concerned about educating people as to what an ESD is. White says explaining to voters and promoting formation of an ESD is crucial. Proposed meeting with cities for Oct 27th.
Judge had a meeting with Kloss Associates at Airport. Projects are more Bing forward for both airports. State gets Federal funding in April, construction at Marfa airport will commence in Spring. Presidio airport may be funded earlier. 
Steve Marquez constable began working yesterday as courthouse security. Tomorrow the new veterans memorial will be placed at the new jail. 

Item 6- discussion with action to put treasurer, auditor, assistant auditor and deputy treasurer in all bank accounts. Approved

Item 7- same resolution as item 6 with names. Approved.

Item 8- Engagement letter with External Auditor Doak Painter for FY 2015 audit. 2 options- 2 years at $35,000, 1 year at $40,000. Aranda makes the motion to engage for 2 years at $35,000 per year. Unanimous after some discussion. Commissioners agree that he has been the first auditor to be active in helping the County fix problems. Inventory day brought up. Katie says that in Presidio everything went well. Complete cooperation from all county employees and divisions. Judge says that Marfa side of the coin had good cooperation from all departments. Questions about Sheriff's inventory. Frances Garcia said Sheriff cooperated and they were able to count everything here and at the airport. Judge asks about vehicles that we have VIN numbers for but no vehicles in hand. White asks about what happened with the vehicles that the Sheriff gifted to other people. Don't know. Commissioners say that there needs to be progress on this. Frances Garcia says the Sheriff told her that there were vehicles missing from before his time, with VIN numbers in hand but no vehicles. Commissioner Hernandez takes a moment to publicly thank Katie Sanchez and Patty Roach for their help with the budget. Vasquez asks about Sheriff's Ezra vehicles and if one could be given to Sam Cobos to replace the Dakota that is blowing smoke. Judge clarifies that all vehicles are in control of County Commissioners court as of June. County needs a disposition policy to deal with vehicles and other assets that are either bend their lifespan. She is working on that. White would like to see that policy for next meeting. Judge says she has researched this and County needs a policy for all assets, even smaller stuff. Commissioners agree they need a policy. Hopefully next meeting.
Personnel Policy is on County website. County also has a Purchasing Policy. Frances Garcia asks about vehicles. Wants to know when we can surplus these vehicles. Hernandez says he thinks it is 3 years. Judge says it needs to be described in policy. Katie Sanchez says that the State has standards and they have to be followed. After that the vehicles can be surpluses and reassigned. Vehicles were bought for law enforcement purposes and then there is a process to reassign. Katie Sanchez clarifies a that the vehicles are under Commissioners Court control regardless. Hopefully can address next meeting because this is not on the agenda, mentions Judge Guevara.

Items 9 and 10Galveston County district judge is trying to assert supervisory control over Commissioners Court. Jim White wants to support Galveston County on this, protect Commissioners Court control over County business. Galveston asked for support. 
Decision in Galveston County could affect Commissioners Courts statewide. Judge confirms that district court has some control when commissioners overstep their bounds. Currently district judges have some control in the form of Auditor appointments. 

Item 11- Mindy Seahorn from Martin and Herring Insurance. Employee meetings regarding new vision plan and dental, health plans. Reviewing with Commissioners.

 5 minute break at 10:20

Reconvene at 10:32

12- Administrative Session

Internal Auditor: Patty Roach- introducing her assistant Marsha Nickell. Thinks that tax collections going out late is still OK. Everything stable.
Marsha Nickell will present bills.

Treasurer's Report- Frances Garcia- approved - over one million received since last meeting from various departments. Aranda wants to know if US Marshals paid. Yes, about $171,000 (jail monies). Judge says count at jail is 81 as of yesterday.

Office of Management and Budget- Katie Sanchez- end of year housekeeping... Bank reconciliations are up to date. Working on comp time and vacation liabilities. Estimated $62,000 

 Tax Assessor- (missed this)

County/District Clerk- Frances will present for Virgie. Collected total of 10,299.00. 406.96 to state from County. District 1479, 471 to state.

Facilities Manager- written report. Finishing up last year's projects. Starting this year's projects. Approximately 500 people at Vizcaino and 500 at golf course during Chavez fundraiser/El Cosmico weekend. Roping arena is being used a lot. Soccer games going on at Vizcaino as well. Judge asks about leaks at jail. Sam says that roofing company will be here tomorrow to look at it. 
Air conditioners at annex. Workman is out for a while, will come back to fix. Annex roof has been looked at. Front building roof screws have been compromised by weather or improper installation. All need replacement. Back building contractor says that a coating will suffice for lower part of roof. Other roofer recommends a metal roof for a permanent fix on the lower part. Lower part is composition roof. Upper roof is already metal.
What's asks about park gates- locked? Sam Cobos says that he had a person closing lock every night. Community service hours. Time is up on that. Sheriff used to do it, says he will no longer. White wants to know why Sam Cobos doesn't close it. Cobos says he is not always here. Currently unlocked a lot of the time. White says it is facilities manager's responsibility. Cobos says he is not always here. Hernandez says that users should lock it. That's what they do in Presidio. Judge suggests a schedule for duties. Vasquez recommends locking it and if anyone wants to use it they get the key and a responsible for locking it up. 
Presidio has a volunteer board that handles access to public spaces. Could be done in Marfa. Sam says roping arena has never been locked since he's been here. Sheriff has his horse there, how will he react to it being locked? Sheriff could have combination to gate lock. Sam Cobos says that everyone who has used the facilities has left it immaculate since he's been on the job. No problems at all. 
No progress on AC at jail. Possible to refurbish existing units for now, possibly go for financing for eventual replacement and conversion to refrigerated air. Vasquez would like progress on this as soon as possible.

Agrilife  report accepted.

Presidential Permit report tabled

Marfa EMS Report- Bert LaGarde. Several pages including request for funding, expense report, activity report. 
292 calls for 2014 budget year, 33% outside city limits. Includes a few Jeff Davis calls on top of that. Bert says that Davis is closer than Presidio so they get most of their backup from Davis. Marfa backs up Presidio. Two cities need to discuss these things. 
No mutual aid agreement with Presidio currently. Bert says that he would still provide emergency services in Presidio if necessary, but city council said no longer. Bert's report includes priority levels. 
Hernandez complimentary of report's completeness. Bert clarifies that they don't make any false runs, they have methods of prioritizing responses to patients using expertise. Says that City of Marfa has notified him that they will not respond south of end of 2810 and Casa Piedra. White compliments numbers, will help build the basis for ESD creation. Accepted.

Line item transfers:
Request from auditor to move $ from medical to machinery and equipment. Transportation to communication $ switched per request from OMB. 

Bills and expenses: 
Marsha Nickell presents: child welfare board submitted yearly report instead of quarterly. Marfa EMS report submitted but cannot be paid until end of quarter. White requests to see minutes. Minutes in packet.
Judge finds item. Discussion regarding when payments would be made. City of Marfa requesting payment for first quarter, Judge will let city know that payments will be made at end of quarter. Big Bend Vet Clinic bio for horse. Presidio police dept horse. Bill from Jan 2012. Discussion, bill denied. 

Minutes of previous meetings: approved

Adjourn at 12:42 PM

Capital Projects Manager- Ruben Carrasco. Pinto Canyon road- working on it after big rains. Hot springs lady called to thank them for the very first time. 

Airports Manager Report- executive session to discuss personnel matter at 11:06 AM.

Reconvene at 12:09 PM

JP 1 & 2 report given by Beebe.

Emergency Management Report. Judge says that she and Gary are meeting every other week on Tuesdays , 11 AM to discuss Emergency management. Presidio fire chief Muniz will attend meetings in November to coordinate full county emergency management. Gary is out of town until tomorrow. Report submitted, accepted.