Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting 7/28/2015

These are my own notes from Commissioners Court meeting in Presidio, 4PM 7/28/15. They are likely somewhat incomplete and are not official minutes, merely my notes taken as fast as I can get them down and may reflect my own bias as I write.

P.C.C.C. 7/28/2015
Presidio (following meetings regarding RR bridge, port entry, cattle inspections, lunch in Ojinaga)
4:00 PM start.
All present
Public Comments:
Commissioners Court may not respond to comments not on agenda.
People advocating for Sheriff's Office-
Diana Hankins: advocating for more officers
Saul Pardo: wants to give his 3 min to chief Nunez. Shanna asks to give her 3 minutes to him as well. Numerous other people say the same. Judge as that's not the way it works, but will agree to let Joel speak.
Joel Presents statement, says it is long, wants to face accusers, set the record straight.
Accuses audit report of being sub-standard. "Proud of accomplishments"
Improved law enforcement, new vehicles equipped properly. Jail is great, PISD is great. He created PISD police, making a difference. Does not deny having 2 positions. Donates time, resources, does a great job.
Preserves our integrity by responding to accusations in public.
Concerned about Treasurer. Complains about Katie Sanchez's hiring since she was the loser of election vs. Frances. " What is the purpose of voting in this county?"
Has documentation of officers being licensed. Says was asked by auditor for random time sheets, confusing documents meant to confuse the issues.
Trying to protect County documents. Saw documents in an unlocked courthouse copy room unattended. Concerned about accountability. Has voluntary shared information with press. some elected officials have piled on to make themselves popular with the public. Offers to make monthly appearances in Commissioners Court. Welcomes any investigation from any agency. Nobody has taken the time to answer his questions.
Has great support from city of Presidio, border patrol.
Must have adequate personnel in Sheriffs Office. Grants were helping us save tax dollars. Yes, Surplus vehicles have been given to other entities. Gifted to help other entities, saving all of us money.
Federal monies used to get grant vehicles. Says that county officials are the checks and balances; "after 15 years am I all of a sudden now being questioned as to whether I can work here?" Claims Commissioners have gone against him and Sheriff's Office at every turn in this case, never asked for clarification. Not going to get in a social media battle with an elected official who is posting accusations on Facebook and blog to look good for his friends.
Asks for proper inventory system. Complains about "Mickey Mouse operation" by hiring RCI. Asks for Executive Session to be public.
Dina LaSoya- supports Sheriff's Dept. Caseload has gone down since deputies added. 40 cases 14 years ago, down to 4 cases now. Sheriff's Office helps with transportation.
Danny Dominguez- says in 2005 initiated grant programs. Ran grants with no problems. All of a sudden there is a problem. Don't take accusations lightly. Upset at officials. "You don't trust us?" "Mickey Mouse rumor on Facebook... A shame." Very disappointed. Wish and hope that current elected officials can get it together and fix this problem. Rumors from people who have no idea what's going on. Invited FBI and Rangers to do a full scale investigation on operations.
Uvaldo Acosta- gets great support from Sheriff's Office. Great work. Small accusations need proof.
Lorenzo asks whether the PISD officers are employees and whether audit says they weren't. Joel says they are not necessarily employees but are contracted and paid by Stonegarden. Auditor never asked us. Says auditor lied. Auditor saw time sheets, log, etc. Claims he was not grant administrator. Licenses are proof of being officers. Words mean different things, being hired, there are different levels, there are differences, words don't describe...
Brings up MISD hiring Z Hernandez; auditor wanted receipts for hotel gas etc for training. Unable to produce, auditor claims fraud, documents didn't exist.
Lorenzo asks of people are paid for training. Joel says yes, usually.
Aranda says he doesn't appreciate rumors from Sheriff's Office.
"Commissioners never went against you guys. This auditor has been hired to to a job, and the conclusions are there." Judge says public discussion over.
Lorenzo says that executive session should be in public as per Joel's request. Judge says no, there are other personnel matters to discuss.
Judge says that Sheriff's Office was given info prior to audit coming out about issues, chance to address before public release of audit. Sheriff declined to participate, "we won't be there."
Judge says Joel and Danny could have gone to office to discuss this, anytime. Door was open. Judge says that we have an external auditor and his findings were requested. These are the findings.
Joel accuses Commissioners of hiring a "very poor auditor who does not do his job right"
Eloy says why do you not call and have this on the agenda? Anytime is fine. Joel says open session is the only way to do this.
Joel would like to have a workshop with individuals who have 7 months or less experience. Certain elected officials blowing this out of proportion because of their lack of experience and knowledge of our situation.
4) announcements from County Judge:
Post audit plan for corrective measures on each material weakness and deficiency.
Patty Roach, Katie Sanchez, Frances and Judge will coordinate.
James Forristal from Comptroller to straighten out unreported collected sales taxes from golf course and jail. Patty, Forristal and Sanchez are meeting now.
Hernandez says he has a problem with that group heading things up. He says Commissioners should not be excluded. He says Sheriffs Office criticizes Commissioners Court and since they do that Commissioners should create the solution. Judge offers her office to any Commissioners to work with Patty Roach on Wednesdays. Says that there is too much administrative work for Commissioners Court to have time to do on their own. Judge explains that all grants from now on will have a checklist that must be followed. Eloy says auditor gave report with recommendations on findings and that he, Eloy, asked for guidance from the auditor for solutions. Lorenzo repeats his request to be part of the plan if he is going to take the blame. Eloy says yes, we need to fix it, need precise advice, take steps to fix it all. Loretto says in house corrections are a good idea. Commends judge. Judge repeats offer for anyone to meet Wednesdays with Patty Roach.
Judge says she and TCEQ reps had a telephone conference and colonia water issues were discussed. They recommended hiring someone with a Class B license to maintain and operate systems in Pueblo Nuevo and Candelaria.
Insurance from TAC went up $26 or so per person. Commissioners could raise deductible, or not. Rep from TAC will be here Aug 11th. Contract up for renewal in Nov.
Commissioners announcements
Eloy discusses meeting earlier today, credits Carlos Nieto for putting it together.
Judge brings up communication between Commissioners open meetings prohibits email in case of sharing.
Executive Session:
Going to smaller office. Adjourn at 4:59 into executive session.
Reconvened into regular session at 6:24
Item 6) discussion only on property tax to certify appraisal rolls. Total appraised value, net taxable value. Must be presented to Commissioners by Aug 1 and is on agenda for that purpose. Confirms that MISD is now classified as a land rich district, lost $700,000 of revenue. County loses $41,000 worth of money. Re opening Redford School on the table since PISD receives $200,000 for running school. Half from state, half from MISD. Eloy states that County has put a lot of money into it. Peters knows it now belongs to the County. Could either reopen or bus kids to Marfa to get $. White mentions redrawing line. Nieto says that Gallego mediated a line and it was determined that the line would not be redrawn. Nieto blames MISD. Talks about future pipeline monies. White says that logically nobody should bus Redford kids to Marfa. Nieto says Big Bend Ranch property was in MISD turf when it was taxable. Now that it's not, nobody wants that area. PISD has 2 million dollar shortfall. Says local funding for PISD is at 9%. The Rest is at mercy of state and Feds. Says many years ago some County Judge made PISD deal with Riudosa, Candelaria. Not fair. Says that there is hopefulness that MISD and PISD can have a meeting of the minds and work out a solution. Says future of Marfa is strong, monies will flow more to Marfa. Judge Guevara asks what to do in the meantime? Approximately 16 kids from Redford in PISD currently. Judge says full appraised value at around 8.8 million. Net taxable value is around 4.7 million. Nieto says Commissioners can help MISD in affordable housing. Most serious issue in Marfa is property values going up, housing supply down, kids and families need affordable housing.
7) Diana H. Discussion only regarding Road and Bridge Dept and Unit System. Operates Chinati Hot Springs. Cites statue number 252.301 of government code. Asks if that is what we are operating under. Judge Guevara reads- unit system has to be voted on via ballot in an official election. Says no vote occurred, unit system is invalid. Complaining about roads, people getting stuck on road washouts. People have to pay out of pocket for repairs and service due to County neglect. 3 flats in less than a week. Rocks sticking up in road. Says under old system roads were regraded every 2 weeks. 7 miles from Riudosa to Hot Springs. Pinto Canyon is 22 miles. Aranda asks Ruben why the roads washboard so quickly. Ruben says people drive too fast. Diana says no way to even drive the speed limit. Aranda says no other place complains about roads. Diana says yes, her roads are not maintained but others are. Has petition going around since roads are not being worked on. Complains about taxes without services.
Aranda asks Ruben about road schedules. Ruben says rain is to blame, county trying to provide cut outs for water diversions. Working on a progressive basis. Signs that say watch for high water and washouts are being installed. Aranda says that County will not be out there every 2 weeks, but we can schedule a worker on a regular basis. Diana clarifies that Hot Springs Rd, not Pinto Canyon, is the issue. Pinto Canyon has gotten better. Complains about drugs running up nod down a better maintained Chispa Rd. Angry that Commissioner Hernandez can't get a call and make A precinct worker fix road on demand, as it was prior to unit management.
Judge Guevara says will refer unit system question to County Attorney.
8) Discussion putting Sheriffs Office be responsible for courthouse security. M motions to table, wants to discuss with Sheriff. Tabled unanimous.
9) Discussion with action to make Aug 20 and 21 asset day at County. Judge cites auditors findings. County needs to count and appraise assets. Needs to be done by Sept 30. White makes motion. One day for Marfa assets, one day for Presidio assets. Notify dept heads, have them cooperate. Sheriff says he turned it in today, does he have to do it again. Judge clarifies that purchase requisition and audit inventory is different. Sheriff agrees to cooperate.
10) jail contract between Jeff Davis County and Presidio County for jail service. White makes motion to approve contract, judge and county atty have no problem. $55 per day reimbursement. Neighborly rate cited by Sheriff and Judge, local cooperation with fire and more taken into account. Approved.
11) action item to adopt a budget policy. Judge tables, is not ready to present. White seconds. Approved.
12) Discussion with action for West Heights addition property to the City of Marfa. Perdue not here to present, Judge motions to table. Accepted.
13) Hiring someone for Road and Bridge as employee. Edward Martin. Recommended by Ruben. Has been working as a temporary employee. Willing to do multiple types of work. Approved.
14) administrative Session- all approved unless otherwise noted
A) Judge Bishop. Retained 10,696, total 17,702.53
B) Capital Projects- reports on roads, etc. hot Springs rd comes back up as issue. July 4 two girls got stuck. Putting cones out? Diana requesting cones. Needs at least 8. Joel Nunez offers cones.
C) airports manager- not submitted.
D) presidential permit- tabled
E) tax assessor report- 73,116.21 received for county. Other entities received additional funds.
F) adopt Treasurer's Report, asset inventory, county financial status. Frances says that County has total of 665,928.18 with projected revenue of just over $200,000 and additional funds of about a half million. Expenses around 850,000. So County should make it until end of the year without trouble paying bills. Homeland security grant reimbursements are around 240,000 received, will be deposited in general. Judge wants to know what cutoff date for previous year's expenses is. Says it's Aug 31st. Also, Frances event to bank to check on dormant accounts. Several. Aranda says to bring them in so Commissioners Court can close them.
G) Line item transfers: Redford School repairs from road and bridge to Redford school.
H) Bills and expenses. Questions:
Harper hardware for Road and Bridge. For shop. $11,020 +/-
DPS HP Officejet. In budget for DPS, charged to County. No longer in courthouse. County will have to decide whether to include them in budget next year. About $4,500 in budget.
John Deere Dozer rental at $606 monthly.
Joe Pineda for $3000.00
Ben E. Keith for jail- $672.76
15) Adjourn. Carlos Nieto addresses Court under public comments for today's support at earlier meetings during the day. Big progress with officials he believes. Many issues, complicated, great show of support from officials. High level Mexican officials and US officials were impressed. Far more in attendance than expected.
Adjourned at 7:34 PM

1 comment:

Burt Compton said...

David, Thank you for your excellent notes. I really appreciate your extra work to attend these meetings.
Burt Compton, Marfa.