Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Presidio County Final Budget 2016 Estimated General Fund Revenues; Consolidated Budget

Presidio County FY 2016 Final Budget pp 37-40 - Airports, Interest & Sinking, Jail Budget

Presidio County FY 2016 Budget pp 31-36- Emergency Mgmnt, DPS, Road & Bridge, Capital Projects, Courthouse Security/Bailiff I, Courthouse Annex Security/Bailiff II

Presidio County FY 2016 Final budget pp 22--30 Parks N (golf & Vizcaino), Parks S, Redford Center, Sheriff's Dept, LEOSE, Dispatch, Constable Pct 1, Constable Pct 2, County Ag Agent

Presidio County FY 2016 final budget pp 13-21- County Atty, District Court, District Atty, Treasurer, Office of Mgmnt & Budget, Tax Assessor, County Auditor, County Courthouse, County Annex

Presidio County Final FY 2016 pp 5-12- Abandoned motor vehicle fund, VA Officer, Non-Departmental Expense, Law Library, JP 2 Presidio, JP 2 Tech Fund, JP 1 Marfa, JP 1 Tech Fund

Presidio County Final FY 2016 Budget as approved - cover sheet, contents, pp 1-4 County Judge, County & District Clerk, Records Mgmnt, County Commissioners

Here are the scans of the approved budget approved 9/28/2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting 9/28/2015, tax rate and budget approval, more

Hi everyone,

Here are my notes from the meeting held in Marfa on 9/28 at 9 AM. I will scan and publish an updated final draft of the Presidio County FY 2016 budget pages to this blog within the next 24 hours. Following that I'll be writing an analysis of the budget, all its parts, and where I think things are headed for the County at this point.

This was an interesting meeting on many levels, and I believe there was much more personality displayed by officials than is reflected in this account I wrote.

Incidentally, I was informed this morning by Judge Guevara that the City of Presidio gave its employees a three percent raise. The County's direct contribution to the City of Presidio's cash flow exceeds 122,500 dollars in the FY 2016 county budget passed yesterday. Presidio County employees did not receive a raise and over four hundred fifteen thousand dollars to fund this budget is coming from reserve funds. This is not sustainable.

Notes from the meeting:

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting 9/28/2015
All present
Public Comments:
Eva Gonzales, taxpayer and owner of Block R in East Heights, no services
Talked to grant manager, wants to get burnt to get city services, road access, etc.
References statute for Counties to provide roads on private property. Advocates for same.
Carlos Nieto: on behalf of City of Presidio. Brings up 567,682.67 in County tax revenues from citizens of Presidio. Talks about value of County services. Are we getting a good value? Accountability...
Travel time to Marfa difficult.
County Clerk services not accessible, hard for elderly and poor.
Feels it is an obligation for County to provide Clerk services at Annex in Presidio.
Thanks court for support of first responders in Presidio. Lastly, it is important we have access to services. Transparency is important.
Sheriff Danny Dominguez: understands the County has financial problems. References jail account, wants commissioners to know that he is willing to help, wants County to know.
Constable Coker: Steve Coker. Thanks commissioners for willingness to consider courthouse security in Presidio annex. Thinks it's fair, equitable.
Commissioners and Judge announcements: none from judge, none from commissioners. Item 6 on agenda is moved up since 4H students need to get back to school.
Item 6- Jessie Lea Schneider and students: some gifts to commissioners and proclamation of national 4H week. October 10th 4 H day. Planting tree on courthouse lawn. Picture with commissioners
Budget workshop:
Judge says that shortfall is worse, no money budgeted in workman's comp and vacation payout. Needs to be done, money will be spent regardless.
Aranda says Katie found some money in an account that has not been used. Judge asks what it is. Katie says it was some unused funds in M&O and it amounts to about $15,000.
Whites says he is very disappointed in this budget, criticizes cuts in the courthouse operations and still county has to go into reserves, cities of Marfa and Presidio EMS services contributions should be reduced and used for county purposes.
Worthy causes but there is not enough money to go around. Wants to reduce to last year's level. Not popular, he acknowledges.
Aranda says that he knows county does not offer overtime but comp time instead. Employees need to use their comp time, the county has no money to compensate for comp time hours. Dept heads need to be responsible for keeping comp time hours down.
Aranda says cutting emergency services is hard, we don't have money, it's tough.
Judge remains commissioners that no money has been budgeted for comp time or vacation time. Courthouse annex underfunded, needs major repairs, has mold, etc.
Sam Cobos says leeks are repaired around walls, needs roof repairs in courthouse back building.
Building needs to be painted as well.
Says budget is insufficient, only at $9000. Will pull out carpets and leave plain concrete floors. New doors to keep out rain will be more like storm doors. Roof bolt washers are rotted out, leaking.
Ceiling tiles need to be replaced.
Food bank building still not complete., more work to do.
Restrooms in food bank and not working. AC units in main building still not working properly all the time.
Aranda asks about money costs for work. Sam wants $13,000, currently at $6000. Judge wants to move $10,000 from ESD research, COG will help, not needed.
Corrected number is $5000, judge wants mold remediation to be a priority, doesn't want anyone to get sick in that building.
Hernandez asks for clarification of budget lines.
Sam says it is underfunded, commissioners agree it's important. Sam says total repairs will come to probably more that $15,000. Will do it in stages, do what we can for progress.
Vasquez advocates for making this a priority. White says money has to come from EMS contribtions to pay for County services. Money spent this year has to be budgeted since we have an auditor. Wants to reduce Presidio and Marfa EMS budgets to EMS. Says that is the last place that has money. Vasquez asks about services, coverage levels. Judge says they have only upped Presidio EMS, not Marfa. No data from City of Presidio. City of Marfa goes to Presidio, will not go that far anymore if funding is not equitable. Judge says city of Marfa has backed up Presidio over 73 times. Marfa is not asking for more $. Where is data from Presidio?
Judge wants equitable funding for both agencies.white says that there is not any money there. Need to start on ESD immediately.
We cannot afford to help them, want to but can't.
Aranda says he understands. It's been hard this year as we found so many inaccuracies from the 2015 budget and have to deal with it. City of Presidio has been asking for help for many years and we have helped, but one day they are going to make us service EMS if we don't help fund them.
Judge talks ant hoe every in county budget has zero dollars for contingencies, emergency funding needs, unpredictable expenses.
Hernandez says that county judge budget and clerks budget went up, as did many departments. We did not really cut, we have exceeded last year in most departments. We have not really cut budget in most places, we have increased.
Biggest concern is that we may be overstuffed for the size of the County. County has 89 employees, too many possibly. We need to have a hiring freeze for the next ten years and then maybe we can catch up.
We need to be cutting bigger numbers, five thousand here and there won't do it. Aranda wants to clear up funding on comp and vacation time.
Next year we will be getting more money, it will be better but this yer we need to do what we have to. Leave budget the way it is.
Judge wants to go over very budget page.
$174,000 budget deficit.
Katie says it is $140,000
White says that one agenda item is trash disposal for Shafter, at about $5000/yr. no point on passing the resolution without money.
Aranda says that little things we did this year added a lot cumulatively.
Vision coverage for employees is a new benefit, nice but it's an extra expense.
Advocates for leaving this budget exactly how it is, deal with extra monies next year. Judge wants extra funding for Annex repairs.
White says that vision coverage etc is a benefit in lieu of a raise for employees.
$5000 extra for courthouse annex proposed.
Add ten thousand for vacation and workman's comp. Katie says workman's comp is budgeted but you can't really budget for it. Comp time payments add up, cap for vacation is around fifteen days plus one week, essentially 120 hours. Comp time capped at 70 hours.
Law enforcement is capped at 240 hours comp time.
Hernandez says we should not be paying for any excess over that but we still have people who are over the cap. Aranda says this has been an issue.
Hernandez wants to know why ex allow people to go over the cap.
Katie says we have a shortage of law enforcement employees, people have to cover for hours.
Talk of spending the "extra" $15,000. Has already been deducted from deficit total. Add it back in and deficit is $155,000
Judge wants to know from every dept head if they have concerns for their budgets.
Calls on Gracie
Sheriff says he wishes he didn't have a cut but he can deal with it.
Around the room most folks are relatively OK.
Clerk is not happy about commissioners helping county internally before helping other budgets outside of County. Hernandez says they added to Clerk's budget and she shouldn't complain. Clerk bites back a bit and says that extra funding was mandated. Aranda says that cities need the money,
Nieto says that County needs to help stakeholders of whole County. Clerk says she doesn't have a big problem helping the cities but help County first. White bites back at Nieto. County is broke. Nieto raises his voice. Back and forth. Judge calls to order.
County Attorney and Judge clarify that their increases in budget come from state supplemental funding.
Hernandez still says we are overstuffed. He will do some analysis.
Clerk brings up that OMB is a new office, new expense. Says she is not overstuffed, we are busy and definitely not overstaffed.
Aranda says that next year we need to start with a bare bones budget and not add a lot. Wants to leave it alone this year. county is growing, we will move ahead. Wants to move forward with approving budget.
Only changes thus far are cutting ESD to zero and moving money to County Annex, that is the only budget amendment proposed at this point.
Hernandez says that balancing this budget by using reserves costs us What? 440,131.00 says Katie Sanchez
Monies come from jail and M&O reserves.
Fowlkes bring up that inmate count is down,me need to plan for fewer, we have no control over number went from Feds. This got us into trouble before; this is a big gamble. Patty says these reserves in jail fund are there now, not projected reserves.
Patty Roach takes the podium to clarify presentation on reserves funding.
Hernandez brings up jail AC situation.
Fowlkes says that that jail can start losing money fast if inmate count is down below about 88. Gracie says that if we down to below 40 w are in trouble.
Patty says that we are basing jail revenue on 90 prisoners. Fowlkes says this is dangerous since we have 67 in there today. Keep a close eye on this.
Hernandez says that he is not too worried about inmate count.
Whites says he is still leery of taking this money out of reserves. Asks Gracie about numbers. Gracie says we have been low for the last 2 1/2 months. Katie says this is a yearly trend. Hernandez wants to know how to keep the numbers stable (inmate count). Fowlkes says projected revenue for next year is average of 88 per day, says this could be different and could really hurt County if jail starts losing money instead of making money.
Fowlkes says Feds are aware that jail survival depends on their prisoners and want to keep the numbers up; they need this jail.
Vasquez wants to know if US Marshals use Brewster County jail much. No, says Gracie. Fowlkes says that more immigrants cross and get cohabit in cooler months.
Aranda repeats that next year is the yer to make changes, this year ex need to just move forward with it as is.
Patty Roach confirms that nearly $450,000 coming out of reserves; last year was $350,000.
Hernandez says the County has over expanded.
Frances Garcia wants to know which offices Hernandez thinks are overstaffed.
Hernandez asks "where are the 85 employees?"
Jail has 25, says Katie.
Virgie Pallarez recommends dissolving the unit system, going back to old system of precinct maintenance. Aranda says they have put too much effort into making improvements to stop now. Virgie says the unit system is for much bigger counties.
White and Hernandez agree that we are providing better service overall.
Judge says she agrees with Carlos Nieto that clerks going to Presidio would be great, Virgie says she can send someone sometimes, but records are here in Marfa.
Hernandez wants to know where the $200,000 in reduced capital outlay for jail goes. Patty Roach always that it will go back into jail fund reserves.
Hernandez says that the jail fund will be funding the cities from now on. Who is going to tell them no? White says he will. $32,500 extra budgeted to go to the City of Presidio this year. Hernandez says that the County has hired two more people this year for courthouse security this year.
Constables agree that they understand it is a trial basis. Hernandez wants to know if that's what they're going to say in 2 years when the money is out. Coker says they will understand.
Talk about vision and airlift benefit for employees - great for employees since no raise this year.
Hernandez says we're still $140,000 down, what do we do.
Vasquez says that next year we need to replenish reserves, go for this budget this year. We can't cut any further without handicapping services.
Aranda agrees.
Hernandez says the increases year to year are too great. Next year's budget is it starts with this budget will already be over budgeted.
Judge reminds commissioners that the numbers re accurate for the first time.
Hernandez says it's sad that even with this deficit budget departments are cut to the bone. Concerned for next year. Pipeline will help but it won't do us any good if every yer. Go up 300-400 thousand dollars. Judge reminds that employees have not had a raise coming up on three years.
"Anything else?" Asks Judge.
White says he is still not comfortable with deficit budget.
Hernandez is unhappy bat cathouse security; " we're having two babies."
Aranda asks dept heads to try to not spend the money, conserve resources. Hernandez says there is no room, we have already cut departments to the bone. Aranda insists that we do not have to spend all this money.
White is asking what happened back when the jail was not functioning, county had no money. Judge says commissioners used to do the precinct work, things were cheaper.
Fowlkes says that inmate count at the jail is the most important factor. Inmate count dropped dramatically in 2008, broke the County. He says the County management is much better than in the past, has come a long way. Things that were happening before are not happening, and things are more transparent. County is doing a good job of being efficient. Serving 8000 with a tiny budget.
There is room for improvement, but we are on the right track.
Judge wants to end discussion,
Discussion over. Item 7 is to approve budget and tax rate.
Hernandez asks Patty Roach as new county auditor for suggestions before they go forward.
Patty says monitoring jail is very important. Says that electrical contract savings potential is there, possible. Dept head should utilize BuyBoard for cheaper prices on purchases. She will distribute information to County.
Carlos Nieto raises his hand.
Hernandez asks Katie Sanchez for suggestions. She says they have already hashed out pretty much everything at this point.
Aranda asks about Larry Lunsford. Has he come back with a golf course proposal? He has not come with a presentation but was here last week. They are still interested. White says that would be horrible. Judge as she hopes they have the money.
Carlos Nieto advocates for using BuyBoard for buying power. PISD uses it, very effective. Savings are real.
Item 7- approve budget and tax rate.
.63804 tax rate, budget changed only by the $5000 from ESD to Courthouse Annex
Aranda moves to approve tax rate. White seconds. Unanimous.
FY 2016 budget as amended:
White votes against. Everyone else votes for. Aranda makes the motion. Vasquez seconds. Hernandez says he almost joined White. White says "almost"
Item 8-'scheduling meetings- Judge researched statutes and came across 81.005 of government code. Explains how county is only required to schedule one meeting per month, can schedule special meetings anywhere on an as needed basis.
Special meetings can be in a building providing access to the public. Also explains that regular meetings are all to held at courthouse or courthouse annex type of building. Must be located in the municipal limits of county seat.
So all regular meetings have to held in Marfa, special ones can be held in Presidio.
Commissioners can also select a new site to have meetings. Can have commissioners court in the interest of public safety. Statute never says they can meet outside of County seat unless it's a special meeting. Judge consulted attorney, he advised her not to conduct business outside of the county seat. Judge gives commissioners attorney's number.
Aranda says that there are two cities in this County, many counties only have one.
Judge says she does not want to conduct business outside of the County Seat. Aranda says that is only here in Marfa , that's what you mean. Fowlkes says that you can't "schedule a special meeting, can only call them" unallowed to schedule a special meeting, if you do it's a regular meeting. Hernandez says that he will call the attorney. Fowlkes says that Judge Hunt was scheduling a special meeting in Presidio for the last two years. Not civilly legal, meetings called could be voided if a citizen complained. Has not happened, not likely but still not legal.
Attorney is Jim Allison, a local government expert. Fowlkes agrees with him.
Hernandez wants two meetings per month, does not mind of they are in Marfa.
Can have multiple meetings at the County Seat, special meetings in Presidio.
Aranda does not like this at all. White says he does not necessarily agree either but we need to comply.
Hernandez says that the honest truth is that people don't want to go to Presidio anyway, let's be honest. Vocal disagreement throughout the room. Judge says this is the law, it's not about not wanting to go to Presidio.
Hernandez says he was just trying to speak about what he thinks is the truth.
Fowlkes says that any special meeting has to be called for a specific reason, thee commissioners must agree to meet, but cannot be regularly scheduled.
Hernandez asks if commissioners are voting on this. Judge says yes, we are trying to agree on meetings for scheduling next year.
Hernandez says he does not approve; let's vote. Nobody will admit what's going on, judge says that statement is uncalled for, this is the law.
Hernandez says this is not reasonable or fair for the people of Presidio County.
Judge and White say it's about following the law. Hernandez says that he wishes everyone would speak the truth. Aranda says yes, nothing has ever happened, what is this? Hernandez wants to table this issue. Judge says the law says we must schedule today, it's the law.
Hernandez says they didn't do this last year, we don't have to do it. Judge says this is the law, commissioners shall set the meeting dates on the last meeting day of the year.
Hernandez wants to table. Vasquez says we can schedule only one meeting. Judge says she will call lawyer right now so everyone can get clarification.
Aranda says that this essentially means that this is basically the end of meetings in Presidio. Hernandez says that this is really just about not going to Presidio. Judge disagrees.
Hernandez makes the motion to table this item.
Hernandez, Vasquez and Aranda vote to table, motion carries. Judge says it carries, but we just broke the law.
Fowlkes says they can designate the regular meeting now, it is required by the end of the month. They can add more later.
Hernandez asks what the consequence of this could be. Fowlkes says someone could get the District Judge to void all coming meetings since they are not legally scheduled.
Judge clarifies this has to be done today. Hernandez says he's sticking to his motion.
Aranda asks if they can regularly schedule a Presidio meeting and have to act on agenda items. Hernandez wants to go back to this year's schedule.
Fowlkes clarifies the difference between a special and regular meeting.
Says that they can pass something today, and can adjust it later if needed. Says y must pass this today. And also that regular meeting must be held in the county Seat. This is fact. You can still schedule special meetings as needed, but not in advance.
Hernandez still has doubts.
Fowlkes says you can still have a meeting in Presidio every month, nothing stops you.
Vasquez says the County can have a meeting monthly in Presidio but only have dept heads come to save the County money.
Hernandez says the problem here is the scheduling, right now we now when the Presidio meetings are. Judge reads statute to commissioners.
Vasquez still wants time to study this. Hernandez wants clarification as well about legality.
White says we must pass it today.
Hernandez wants to know consequences, judge says she will call atty general. Fowlkes says that the commissioners run a risk of a challenge, that is the weapon that could be used. White asks "what about the meetings over the last 2 years?"
Fowlkes says that technically they might be able to be challenged.
Judge says that Judge Agan used to have special meetings in Presidio.
Fowlkes says that all those special meetings were never called, that could be the challenge.
Virgie Pallarez says that Judge Hunt had changed the terminology to "Regular Special Meetings".
Aranda says that is the last they approved this, and it worked.
Hernandez says that there is still a problem since y cannot call a special meeting a yer in advance.
Vasquez says that we shod pass this and we could change it later.
Clerk says motion needs to be amended. Vasquez amends the motion to have all meetings in Marfa. Seconded by White. Aranda and Hernandez don't vote yes. Passes 3-2 to schedule. Carlos Nieto has his hand up. Fowlkes clarifies again.
Break at 11:49, 5 minute break. Break for lunch instead.
Back at 12:50PM
Have to go back and re-approve tax rate, divided into M&O and I&S broken down.
Item 9-
Delayed mailing of tax statements:
Patty Roach presents: tax statements going out late because MISD has a vote that affects something, delaying mailing.
Patty says she has down a cash flow analysis and County is fairly healthy regarding cash balance.
Delayed mailing should not cause a panic in collecting next year's taxes. Recommends departments maintain conservative cash out through Oct, wait until Nov to use capital outlay budget items, etc
Judge clarifies that motion will be for all dept heads to only do essential spending only through Oct. Virgie says that's not on agenda, commissioners can only approve the delayed mailing itself.
Item 10- action to include Treasurer and auditor on all checking accents. Patty recommends also including asst county auditor. Item not included on agenda, according to John Fowlkes.
Can bring back agenda item to add asst later. Approved.
Item 11- Treasurer and auditor assigned to all bank accounts as signatory authority. Hernandez moves to table because of working issue of resolution not matcha up to agenda item. Tabled.
Item 12- approve interlocal contract between Presidio County and Lubbock Co medical examiners office. DA recommends bodies for autopsy be take to Lubbock ME. Contract can be cancelled at any time.aranda moves to approve. White seconds. Unanimous
Item 13- return to tax rate issue, item 7.
Norma Arroyo presents proper forms.
Tax rate .583463 for M&O
.054577 for I&S
Amending earlier motion to include breakdown.
Item 13- approve appointment of Estevan Marquez to be courthouse security for Presidio County Courthouse. Motion to approve by White. Hernandez still wants to know what happens when this money runs out. What happens? Patty says there is money for one year for both offices. White amends his motion to approve for one year to the courthouse security position. Unanimous.
Item 14- Steve Coker for courthouse security for Annex in Presidio.
Pg 36 in budget.
Statutory county can spend 25% of funds on non-seat security. Budget does not reflect this. Budgeted $19,000. Katie Sanchez clarifies that one quarter of the fund's total can be used, not necessarily related to amount budgeted for main courthouse. Approved unanimous for one year.
Item 15- executive session airport personnel issue at 1:15
Back at 1:40
Item 16- action on airport personnel. Tabled
Item 17- approved
Item 18- 4H week presentation. Unanimous
Item 19- 4H collaboration letter. Unanimous
Item 20- medical air care and Vivian employee benefits. Approved unanimous
Item 21- require presentations by outside agencies receiving funding from Presidio County. Submit monthly detailed monthly reports. Funds will not be awarded if no presentation. White placed this on the agenda. Says County needs to be accountable for monies given out to entities.
Written report, does not have to be in person. Report would need to be approved.
Aranda says that he would like to see money issued out on a quarterly basis, not disbursed all at once.
White advocates for ESD creation and this information could greatly help pin down costs that will be associated with an ESD.
Hernandez asks if monies will be awarded quarterly or monthly. Has been quarterly. Gary Mitschke asks about activity reports- financial or activity? Judge says both.
Monies would not be awarded without an approved monthly reports. Katie Sanchez says that money can be disbursed quarterly and if you don't approve monthly reports you can divide the quarterly into thirds.
Judge says we can have monthly reports and quarterly payments.
White makes motion to require reports on a monthly basis but payments on a quarterly basis.
Judge seconds motion. Unanimous
Item 22- sanitation services with TDS for Shafter. No action, not in budget.
Item 23- Ford Taurus La PiƱata repairs. Crystal Funke says the money needs to come from Harlan Hardy's budget, maybe there is another vehicle available.
10 year old vehicle. No action taken.
Item 24- remove the Ford Taurus. Unanimous.
Item 25- accept Norma's offer to buy roll top desk on 2nd floor. $100. Has not been declared surplus, is historic. Not for sale, no action taken.
Item 26- HVAC contract bid. Sam Cobos presents.
White says this contract has been signed but wasn't approved by commissioners. Backtracking here to get it approved. Cobos says it's for general maintenance. Approved unanimous.
Administrative Session:
JP 2- total dollars: August
4082.41 sent to state
Total just over $10,000 total.
157,101.57 YTD totals.
Capital Projects: Ruben Carrasco. Submitted via email
Airports manager report:
All further reports accepted.
County bills and expenses:
White asks about repairs to Sheriffs Dept vehicle. Did insurance cover some of it. Yes, Frances Garcia says we have already received payment.
Bill from attorney for lawsuit from Sylvia Parker. Final bill, suit was dropped.
Jail- plumbing bills for toilet repair, prisoners stop up toilets.
White makes motion to accept bills. Unanimous
Adjourn at 2:13 PM.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Presidio County Commissioners Court tax rate hearing and budget workshop, 9/22/2015, 9 AM, Presidio, TX

I attended the tax rate hearing and the budget workshop today in Presidio.
The meeting lasted about 7 hours in total and featured a lot of back and forth about the budget.
I was dissatisfied with the outcome, but not mad about it, really.
I would like for the citizens to pay attention to what happens in the County this year and let your feelings be heard in time for next year's budget process, which should begin earlier and be less painful.

The long and short of today's action and inaction leave us with a deficit budget to the tune of about $450,000, which will be taken out of reserves from the jail fund and County M&O excess cash flow. Given that the County is raising an extra $415,000 this year in new tax revenues, this is a disappointment to many. No raises for employees and many contributions to governmental programs outside of the County's jurisdiction. Cuts in nearly every department based in the courthouse and law enforcement. The only bright spot is in getting ahold of our bookkeeping, which is happening and is the answer to our biggest problems.

Here's the transcript, typed as I sat. My hands are sore...

Presidio County Commissioners tax Rate hearing and Budget workshop
Proposed Tax Rate: .63804 per $100
Same as last year
Citizen Comments:
Carlos Nieto: represents City of Presidio, 5000 residents
Wants to ask court for service/ consideration to amend budget to provide County Clerk services in the courthouse annex. Elderly people have to drive 120 miles. This is overdue, it's a shame that these taxpayers have to suffer through driving that far.
2nd issue: while we value the golf course in N County we do not use it. County needs to get it right and contract out with someone to run it better. On behalf of the 5000 people in Presidio. We pay taxes, we ask for responsible government.
Paul Hunt: asks County Commissioners to consider stated goal of building tax base in order to reduce tax rates. Makes a point of tax rates being regressive. High tax rates tend to burden those who can least afford it. This year the County has chosen not to reduce the tax rate and he would like for commissioners to reconsider. The commissioners have started the budget process with a wish list instead of stewardship. Difficult at this late stage in the game to change it but he asks for commissioners to do so. Raises for County Judge, full supplement for County Atty, these are examples of losing sight of that goal. Please reconsider.
Commissioners comments: Judge says that the way the County has grown in the last four years there eat more expenses; airport manager, facilities manager, OMB, road and bridge director, etc. there are more salaries, the County is growing and these people are needed. To keep them we have to face that it's over $165,000 extra dollars added just there. We are not reducing salaries or benefits.
White says that accounting is getting better and better and actuals are more reflected. A lot of these better numbers reflect higher expenses than we thought we had. Still a significant deficit. Judge says in new additions to depts it's over $350,000 in that alone. Judge wishes we could give employees a raise. We will be working with bare bones next year.
Hunt asks for further discussion. Granted. None of the salaries that were mentioned are new to the budget; they were in the previous budget. Increases in some depts are expected. Place where the increases really are are in non-departmental expenses and parks. Dramatic increases. Says spending has grown there, commissioners should look at those places first, best place to look.
Judge says we actually looked at actuals and what they found is that actuals are way higher than previous budgets accounted for.
Aranda says that in previous years they reduced the tax rate by a bit. Yes, that was great. But how much did we use in reverse revs last year. Hunt says final 2015 budget used about $60,000 in reserves. Aranda says that right now they are looking at spending around $400,000 in reserves. Something is not right here, he is disturbed about this. Wishes we had started with 2015 budget and added new funds conservatively. He sees a slippery slope in tapping reserves. We need to focus on what we have and that's it. We have done this before, but were at least able to lower the tax rate. Something is not right; we could do better, we don't have to spend all this money. Everyone is asking for a lot of money and it's not there.
Hernandez asks about reserves again, Hunt makes a case that last year's budget ADDED $60,000 to reserves last year. Even with that they were able to reduce tax rates.
Hunt says that what he has seen this year is a a lack of attention to revenues. Frances asks which revenue sheet he is referring to with regard to 2015 budget. Where is the reserve line? Hunt says that budget spending was $60,000 less than expenses budgeted. Policy had been stated before budget process started. Estimated 10% reduction in departmental spending and contribute to savings and reduce tax rate. Not every budget had to go down by 10% and we were able to keep salaries in line plus reduce tax rate and contribute to reserves.
Hunt says focusing on parks and non-departmental expenses could balance this budget. Portion of revenue sheet are missing; e.g. State road lateral funds. You should have more money here than you do, and the spending outside of those two depts is not that different.
Hernandez says they were trying to give Presidio EMS $37,000, more to fire dept. Parks went up by about $80,000, road and bridge more or less than same. They were being optimistic, now it looks a little different. Unsure of revenue lines, he is a little worried. Has talked to Katie and Patty and is unsure.
Hunt says he believes that revenue lines are not complete, attention to revenues was addressed late in the game.
Hernandez says we budgeted for that but we never got it. Hunt disagrees, it was awarded but never spent, could be claimed and paid for reimbursement for projects. Specific one time program, possibly available again. Things are a little different now. Might be passing this up, did not take advantage of it last year.
Hunt says it's hard to separate the tax rate and budgeting in discussion.
Aranda asks if there is a list of budgets they can reduce or work with. Asks Patty Roach what she suggests for this commissioners court to do. Time is running out.
Patty says that she emailed an analysis to them; an apples to apples comparison of last year's budget with this new one. Highlighted budgets that increased over ten percent. Options are to cut budget or tap reserves or a combination of both. She thinks there is about $600,000 in M&O reserves with another approx $650,000 in jail reserves. Makes her nervous, not that much. Says state salary supplements are for those depts, not really negotiable.
Hernandez says he has a really big problem with using reserves to balance budget.
Patty says 354,000 was withdrawn from jail reserves to balance budget in 2015.
Aranda wants to know how much revenue we got if we used 354,000 out of reserves. We are getting an extra $415,000 this year on tax dollars. Patty says we have to go on what we know we have now; based on what we actually see collected. Some revenue projections from 2015 were high, actuals reflect lower numbers. Want to be a little conservative on these numbers. She feels good about the numbers we have now, thinks they are conservative, reasonable.
Some grants we might get are not in this budget but right now we have no grants, could be added later.
Aranda asks if reimbursable monies from Stonegarden of $245,000 has been accounted for. Patty says this has been reimbursed, not new money, it has been reimbursements from previous expenses, budgets.
Judge calls order, says one more comment and try to close hearing.
Hunt says that the Stonegarden reimbursements actually come out of reserves. Reimbursements re-funded to reserves. Hunt still says that revenue attention is lacking. Says that he dealt with this as well. A lot of times County does not look into why some monies don't come in. We pay our bills but sometimes don't collect on our own accounts receivable. Need to pay more attention. As for the salary supplements, those go to the County and not paid directly to the official. State recognizes that some departments are burdened by the State.
Judge asks whether Hunt has received full supplement. Hunt says he received a salary, included parts of both, but amount was determined by commissioners , not determined by State of Texas.
Nieto says Judge and commissioners need to keep in mind the public safety, preservation of human life, dignity of residents in the County when figuring budget. This should be a priority, the future is bright for the County but right now we're waiting on it. Resources will eventually be available. Commissioners should take every resident into account, not just people in the 2 most populated areas.
Motion to adjourn at 9:56. Unanimous.
5 minute break.
Reconvene at 10:04.
Announcement from Judge:
Public comments may be made now, there will not be any more comments after Public Comments period. No more during Commissioners Court; discussion only between commissioners and called upon department heads.
Otherwise we will never finish the meeting.
At this time public comments are to be made
AG Agent Jessie Lea Schneider.
Addressing car allowance line item reduction. Going through original contract from 2008. Indicating provisions from State and Presidio County. Terms are. Part of acceptance of position and have never been raised. Usage of car allowance; in county site visits, transporting 4H students. Gives a list of programs that have been offered and completed in Presidio a County. Includes programs offered to Presidio.
Numerous programs on the list.
Says she revised her budget to reflect a 3% reduction since last meeting. $1200 reduction. Please reinstate car allowance, she is dependent on it, uses her own car, has never exceeded a budget. Thank you. Provides copy of presentation.
Rod Ponton: DA 83rd District.
Pecos County budget is much reduced. Requesting more assistance from Presidio County. Cut his budget by $126,000. Cut by about 40%. Brewster County has agreed to raise their contribution by $30,000. Asking for are from Presidio County. Will have to lay off an employee in Alpine if Presidio County does not raise rate from $41,000 to $71,000.
Alpine office handles Presidio, Jeff Davis and Brewster Counties. Would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Carlos Nieto: again, representing City of Presidio. $567,682.67 was citizens inside Presidio City Limit contribution to Presidio County budget. Requesting 26% of contribution to be returned in services (EMS, library, fire, parks, etc). when you have to shoulder what we have to shoulder in Presidio with no help from the federal government it is very difficult. We also need a clerk's representative here; we have to travel 120 miles. For those of us who can afford to travel, no problem. For elders and indigent it is not a possibility. Please remember that we need it and we need it now.
No other public comments:
No announcements from Judge.
Commissioners announcements: training in Study Butte was great, says White. Learned a lot, Aranda and White were there; wishes they could go to more
schools. So educational, and we need more training.
Budget workshop:
Judge calls for AG extension agent budget review. Pg 27
Will cut $600 from office supplies; cutting $600 from travel and training. Jessie says she goes to five required training so per year. Registration fees for each training.
Car allowance re-added at $9600. Total 32,420.39 for AG budget.
Aranda says that we got the 3% and it's fair.
District Attorney's budget: pg 11
White says we're going right back to what we were doing before. Unsure if this is the right way to do this. Judge says she is addressing these two budgets since the dept heads are here. Will go to do "what we need to do" after this.
Hernandez asks about the 3% cut and how that is calculated exactly. Katie says not every entity can cut 3%. Hernandez says does this reflect a 3% cut in budgeted or actual? Katie says this is hard because numbers from last year are not necessarily reflected in 2015 budget. Judge says this is a good point. They use AG agent's budget. An example. Real totals are represented, that means that actual budget numbers are higher despite the 3% cut. Judge says it's important to go by actuals even if there is not a cut. Overall AG budget went up $900 after cuts. Maybe it's too late to bring this up but this explains some of our problems. White suggests that we take Patty Roach's comments and start addressing what Patty Roach recommends.
Do all that and the go through non-departmental and cut, and the. Add back to these depts only if there is a surplus after big cuts. Doing it backwards right now.
Judge says yes, let's do that.
Patty Roach says she will help, cautions Commissioners that they will not be able to see the forest through the trees. Minutia will drive you crazy, won't make a difference.
Ponton asks if they can go through his budget first, Judge says no interjections, court will continue on without interruptions or public comments.
$323,000 deficit
Patty says that certain departments will cut M&O, other depts will not. Depts such as technology, courthouse security, abandoned vehicle fund donot affect M&O. Deficit is an M&O problem.
Aranda asks for assistance and suggestions on what changes they can do. Need help to get through this.
Patty says that she highlighted all budgets that exceeded ten thousand in increases.
Road and Bridge
Airports (not RAMP grant)
Jail (with regard to M&O contribution from reserves)
White brings up office expense in Sheriffs Dept. They also budgeted some items from dispatch fund and from abandoned vehicle fund.
Aranda wants to touch on highlights from Patty.
First up is County Judge budget
Salary supplement from State: $10,200. Office supplies up. Salary increase affects benefits, FICA, etc. communication up. 12,000 total increase. Hernandez wants to know if we asked her to cut three percent from 2015 or from real numbers. Judge says she took off 2000 for machinery and travel. 4000 less. Hernandez says it's still $12,000 extra. FICA and retirement contribution is from County. 1,163.00 county contribution. Hernandez gets clarification from Patty on county vs State numbers on salary. Can we do anything here? Aranda says if she's willing to share she can do that; there's nothing we can do.
County/District Clerk has increased $17,000. Slight increase in deputies and assistants. Insurance- adding two employees to insurance. Full time employees had not opted for County insurance. Opting in this year; no new employees.
Professional services (software for jury system and e-file is mandated; 2 new computers), communications. Aranda asks how much they have to pay for elections. Virgie says judges get $11/hr, clerks get $9.50. Amendment election in Nov, primaries in March, usually a runoff in elections during July. Next year this number can go down a bit. Patty says this fits the historical pattern. Virgie says that otherwise she has cut her budget. White has a question about equipment and software purchases. State statute e-filing mandate equipment. Virgie says she has no choice about this. Judge would like her to look at a cheaper software option in the future. More questions from Commissioner Hernandez about software, computers. Patty says some expenses in the past were not coded properly.
Aranda says it's time to move on since extra fees are required by State. Patty is asked for opinion, she says she agrees.
Non-departmental: White says to skip, come back to it since it will be dramatically cut.
County Auditor: budget set by District Judge, no changes. Patty says she will likely have only one assistant. Budget is court-ordered, so unsure if the budget can be changed on paper.
County Tax Office. Increased $16,000. Salaries for deputies and assistants. Plus FICA and medical. Communications. Travel and training-requesting more training at $11,000 from $6,000. Judge asks why. Norma says mandatory workshops for employees. Election related items account for some. Repairs and maintenance- what are actuals asked Judge. Actuals are $776 this year 500+ year before says Patty. Employees- one has been moved from part time to full time. Nowhere else to cut. Norma had cut $8000 from professional services, down to 27,000 from $35,000. Changing training to $6000 and fuel at $5000. Total stays the same.
Facilities manager/maintenance:
Pages 18,19,20,21
Courthouse , annex, parks north, parks south
White says number for courthouse should be reduced by 17,000+. Cobos says he wants to start off his office. Office supplies should be reduced to $500 says Judge. White reiterates reducing whole budget by $17,000 plus. If we don't start making cuts we're never going to get out of here. In reality we have to start making some good cuts.
Patty says utility budget for courthouse floats around $11,000 per year for the last three years. These are real numbers, consistent. Plus annex at about $10-14,000. Totals between 18,500 and 26,500 for two years prior respectively. Judge asks if. Should do $24,000. Yes.
Equipment lease has gone down. Repairs and maintenance. 24,000 this year, last year $17,000. Hernandez wants to know how much it costs to maintain Vizcaino and Roping arena/barn. Cobos says it's basically Sal's salary plus fuel and other expenses. Hernandez wants to know if anyone uses the park. Cobos explains that the soccer club uses it, baseball fund raisers sometimes, citizens use it for fun, etc.
Cobos says that $8000 worth of invoices have come in recently and have not yet been paid. Bringing total to $31,000 for courthouses maintenance. Hernandez says we have to start making cuts now, none have been made so far. White says we need to start right now, right from the bottom line. Hernandez says that everyone will have justification, without any exceptions. Judge says we can't cut utilities, but we have new equipment and expenses. Cobos says that with the $2500 budgeted for county courthouse air conditioning we are not expecting a major problem. Aranda says obviously we are having a hard time, wants to cut everything an extra percent to 4%. Patty says that amounts to $31,000 only. White says ten percent. Hernandez says the problem was cutting three percent over the wish list. Patty says one problem is that many departments have overspent their budget and cuts were based on three percent of actuals. Old budget numbers were just numbers, reality is applied differently.
Patty says parks has gone up $82,000. $23,000 is because Sal is now in Parks and not Road and Bridge, but everything else has gone up. Maintenance contract has gone up on courthouse AC. Capital Outlay machinery and equipment for courthouse. Referring to pumps for cooling system. Aranda says that maybe as we go through the year we can create budget amendments to move lines around, but for now we can remove it. Make adjustments as needed. Whits says we don't have enough money to budget for "what ifs". Hernandez says that for example Virgie's budget wish list came out with an extra $40,000. She cut from that and she's still $32,000 over last year. Virgie says she didn't have a wish list, she only budgeted what she needed to be compliant with State mandates. Hernandez says he is just suing her budget as an example, the three percent cut was based on the wrong set of numbers. Patty agrees.
Discussions involving earlier different budget ideas.
White says that at the end of the day all the added monies are going to have to be cut.
Judge says that we have to make the County work. Multiple conversations.
Judge says these are real numbers. Hernandez says that in his house if he wants to save money he cuts his expenses. Conserves resources.
White says that as we gain fiduciary responsibility we are going to have more resources, things will get better but this year is the hardest one. We have to cut everywhere now and things will improve.
Cobos says we have to budget for the two contracts we have for the HVAC contract and elevator contract. Patty reiterates that Parks, road and bridge and non-departmental have seen the biggest increases.
Multiple conversations. Cobos remains insistent that there is no room for cuts in his departments. Things will need repairs, replacement. Patty says Courthouse Annex budget has gone up much more than courthouse budget. Maintenance supplies, professional services, utilities up, equipment. Overall $14,000 on that budget as an increase. White says to cut $14,000.
Judge proposes courthouse budget cuts- cut $3500 from maintenance contracts. Cobos says that won't work. Frances says when they call here should she have them call Judge? Judges says yes. Maintenance supplies- machinery and equipment , zero it out. Utilities $24,000.
Contracts 6000 for HVAC, 3000 for elevator. Says he needs to talk about fire system contract. Estimates 1500. Judge says total is $9000. HVAC contract covers main courthouse only, not annex. 3 year contract. Total of 178,000
Annex cuts: maintenance supplies 4200 to 2000
Machinery and equipment: remove 5000 .
Utilities do not change
Repairs and maintenance. Nothing last year, Cobos says there was no budget. Patty odd not know what's been spent. Cobos is asked what has been spent. Has been charged to operating and maintenance supplies. 686 plus 2700 thus far for this year at annex. Patty asks about duplication possibly. Cobos says there's a lot to do. Roof repairs, water heater, food bank building, AC units.
Judge cuts repairs and maintenance to $6000. Carpets will need to be replaced, leaking water made carpets moldy says Cobos. Judge says $6000.
Total down to $66,016.46
Have cut $17,700 total from courthouses thus far.
Only budgets they have cut so far today.
Total cuts $9,300 to overall.
Need $314,000
Parks: pg 20-21,22
Includes parks south and Redford Center.
Redford Center is a new budget line.
Parks south did not increase by much with addition of Redford Center
Parks North is up $41,000. $23,000 is from moving employee from R&B to parks.
White says to cut parks north $18,000 and leave others alone.
Katie says that employee makes total increase by $35,000. Revenue projections are in question. Katie says that revenues were projected low. Collecting about 7000 in good months. Winter months are slower. Comfortable number is about $50,000 says Patty.
White says it also depends on how hard our golf workers work. Katie says MGA still owes county $6700 according to their books, which are the only books kept re golf course prior to this coming year. Revenue number is adjusted up from $25,000 to $45,000 proposed by Judge.
Operating supplies: up $1700. Why asks Judge to Cobos. Cobos says that MGA was covering some of those, as was Ernest. Now is County's bill. Actuals were $8000+. Katie says it was for fertilizer. White wants to know why all the maintenance supplies etc are split between all the budget lines. Cobos says that Ernest will start keeping books for golf course, account for monies, all things MGA used to do. Needs a computer, programming, etc. Cobos wants to upgrade to automation. Budget does not include software. Ernest thinks he may need a new mower at $2500. Computer not budgeted unless it comes out of operating supplies. White says that Ernest can drive past Cobos office on the way to work and use his computer.
Virgie says that she can give Ernest a computer since she has to replace two. Questions as to compatibility. Katie says it will work as does Virgie.
Repairs and maintenance actuals reflect upwards of $6000. Budgeted $9400 in this proposed. Communications- zero experienced, now at $2000. Pick up phone bill, add credit card machines, internet.
Cannot cut.
Utilities: budgeted at $28,000. At $24,000 now without last bill.
Equipment maintenance. Same
Cut $3100 total but increased revenues by $20,000.
Parks South:
Labor at $10,000. What is it? Who is it? Hernandez was using a guy to maintain the fields. Patty does not know where he is paid out of. Hernandez says it was about 6000-7000 charged to Redford. Leaving budget the same
Redford- new budget, 18,900 total. In total south parks spent about 18,000. This year totals are $20,000 plus $18,900.
38,900 totals. No cuts. Hernandez says some of the monies and supplies came from road and bridge, some were reimbursed.
Hernandez questions north parks spending again. Patty goes over it again with commissioners, brief recap of expenses.
Total increase of $36,000 in parks total even after revenue additions, $3100 cuts.
Hernandez says he would rather cut some parks than EMS, etc.
White says we need to make all cuts possible.
Hernandez would rather have $10,000 extra for EMS than for South parks. Asking to cut $10,000 from south parks in exchange for fewer cuts for Presidio EMS, fire, sheriff, etc. Wait until we talk about non-departmental. Judge says we should cut all we can, the. See what we need to cut insofar as contributions to agencies.
Vasquez agrees.
Sheriff's Office Budget:
$20,000 for south reserves is included. Put in reserves line. Added to personnel costs.
Reserves will be Contract Labor, not subject to benefits, etc.
Patty advises regarding contract labor and definitions of contract labor. Amount of control over duties, etc, use of tools, supplies, equipment, etc. she thinks that these workers for Sheriff may be required to be part time employees.
White says this is temporary measure until we get things straightened out. Patty recommends budgeting for benefits, etc. judge wants to take reserves out of Sheriffs office and put it in non-departmental. Patty says that non-departmental should be for things that cannot be assigned to a department.
Aranda says this is not too much money, Stonegarden kicks back in, this situation changes.
Office supplies: cut to $1500
Operating supplies: actual 21,068 used this year; Judge asks what it is. Joel says flashlights, batteries, etc. does not include fuel. Anything they might use in the field. Traffic cones, etc. actual 21,000 for 2015. 2014 $8,000. 2013 $21,000. Joel says this includes some things for the offices in Presidio and Marfa. Katie says some items for administrating Stonegarden may be included. Joel agrees. Hernandez asks of the city of Marfa provides money for some of this. Danny says yes.
Aranda asks about Stonegarden supplies; Joel says things are changing with Stonegarden, unsure of what could be covered in the future but some things have been in the past. Aranda asks of the Sheriff anticipates spending all the money on operating supplies. Sheriff says he can't predict the future, unsure. Judge asks what the City of Marfa contract provides for. Sheriff says he has not received it, does not know. Patty says that $117,000 is budgeted. Joel asks if Stonegarden is in this budget or if it can or will be added later. Patty says it's not in there but if it comes up it will be added.
Aranda asks about fuel. Last year actuals $16,000. Proposing $35,000. Aranda says that's fine. Communication at around $33,000 actual 2015. Travel and training $2700, actuals $2900. Judge would like to cut it to $3000. Yes.
Repairs and maintenance: $5400 for 2015, $13,000 2014. Judge says $5500.
Equipment lease: actual $1300. Last year $2000. Accurate number at around $1900.
Capital Outlay: machinery and equipment: computers, one for south and north. Computers are very old- around ten years old. Judge says a good computer is about $1800 each. Sheriff asks about installation, etc. need printers too. Judge says numbers look accurate in that case. Leave it there at $4000 with $500 in professional services.
Dispatch: White asks about revenue. How did ex come up with $12,744 for dispatch? Who set that rate. How was it determined and when is it due to be reviewed? Mentions pay raise for dispatch that was given, should try to pass on charges to other entities. Has there been a adjustment? Sheriff says not really. Judge says contracts will be reviewed next month and can be reviewed. White advocates for raising costs to reflect greater expenses.
Judge goes through other line items. Patty says expenditures have remained fairly constant.
Judge says that Sheriff wants $10,000 out of dispatch budget to use and should say where and what it is for. Sheriff says he can't say for now, but if he doesn't use it it goes back to dispatch. White says that's not the way it works. Patty says these monies are budgeted out of general fund despite having separate bank accounts.
Last Sheriff fund is abandoned vehicles, which is separate from general and balance can carry over year to year. No affect on bottom line.
Break for lunch at 12:30; return at 1:15.
Reconvene at 1:33
Road and Bridge, pg 30
Revenues at $330,000.
Deputies and assistants should still be the same as last year.
Katie says figures based on actuals. Some departments actuals were greater than budgeted; some departments gave small raises.
Aranda says that road and bridge would like to lease/purchase a dump truck and a water truck. Dump trucks we have are from the early 1970's and worn out. Water truck is the same. Aranda says we want to purchase new equipment incrementally, spread out payments over e next 4-5 years.
White says that Ruben and Eloy are interested in selling the old stuff for a few dollars, can offset some of the cost. Some of these are salvage value, others may be able to get a little more.
Budgeted $40,000 in line 6 for down payments on truck equipment.
White says that road and bridge gets the most calls, most complaints, most compliments. Hernandez says that 6-7 years ago road and bridge kept the County afloat and money from TXDOT paid for regular bills. No equipment purchased, utility bills had to be paid first.
Aranda says this is a long term project, try to make some progress every year.
Judge asks how much down payment would be. Aranda says that the $40,000 includes some payments, not just down payment.
Ruben Carrasco enters meeting (head of road and bridge and capital projects)
White says this is not the area in which to cut road and bridge. Patty says that operating supplies actuals are lower than budgeted. Katie says that doesn't reflect everything, some added later. Says his budget is close to actuals.
Actuals for utilities is $896. Anything missing? Ruben says new yard in So County will add to budget, new building, security lighting.
Equipment maintenance: went up. Using more money to maintain equipment. Might go down if new equipment purchased. Most money is going towards fixing very old equipment.
Judge says there's nowhere to cut if everyone agrees on the $40,000 toward down payments. Patty asks how much new vehicles (Aranda clarifies it would be used equipment but newer) would offset maintenance costs. Discussion about worn out equipment.
Leaving budget as is.
Capital Projects:
Ruben is dept head.
Budget went down this year by $17,000. Judge wants to know who is labor in Cap Projects. One part time welder named David Serrano from Presidio. Finishing barn at So County lot. Operating supplies budgeted at $4000. Basically zero actuals.
$22,000 in capital outlay for new yard. Building materials, etc.
Aranda says once this is done this cost basically goes away.
Airports budget:
Increase of over $10,000 does not include RAMP grant funds. County subsidizes airports to the tune of $121,000 from general fund. Whits asks Chase of fuel numbers are solid. Chase says it's conservative but we don't have enough years of numbers to get a really good idea. White says that the changes we are making should make a positive impact on sales. There is a person in the budget to sell fuel. Current attendant is paid on a per gallon commission. Most people will hustle, this person does not really hustle. Working on adjustments to system. So far no change to that work situation.
Patty asks about the match for the Capital Improvement Project. Is that the max level? Chase says not necessarily but that TXDOT likes to get close enough to not go over.
Both projects will be completed this year. LED option for lights is more expensive but still comes in under budget. Cheaper long term option for energy and maintenance costs. 10% match. County's match is $80,000. odd not spend all CIP money from last year, City of Marfa paid $25,000, Presidio MDD contribution as well.
Chase added monies for RAMP grants- $10,000. Hangar doors included. White wants to know whee he can cut $20,000 from budget. Chase says that utilities can maybe be adjusted since actuals are unknown and runway lights should have it go down. Marfa utility number could drop to $9000 from 11,000. Patty provided numbers. Chase says that in his view we may be able to drop a few lines down a bit but actuals are unknown since things are not being charged to correct budget lines. Chase wants to still maximize RAMP grants since every dollar spent gets one from the State and the items it covers helps increase traffic by increasing airport quality.
Chase says he could probably cut $20,000 if he knows actual numbers.
Hernandez wants to cut $10,000 from Marfa airport RAMP grant. Chase says he would prefer not, but it would still result in a new increase for Marfa airport RAMP funds over last year. Presidio MDD chipped in $25,000 for maintenance.
City of Marfa chipped in monies for CIP.
Travel and training: judge wants to cut to $2000. Cut to $3000 from $4000 last year Chase says. OK.
Hernandez says he wants to change RAMP for Marfa from $50,000 to $40,000. Chase says that he can probably still do hangar doors with that, will lose a few other things but that's Ok. Maybe City of Marfa will come through with some HOT money again.
Total RAMP adjusted from $100,000 to $90,000. Vasquez wants Chase to look into security cameras for both airports. Chase says he will, prices are going down RAMP monies can pay for that.
After cuts overall deficit is now $276,000
Pg 35
Jail has increased by $35,000 on expense side. Last year jail transferred $350,000, this year budgeted to transfer $300,000.
As Budgeted, even with transfer there will still be a surplus of around $125,000 for this year.
White asks about transfers and head count. Head count seems to be trending downwards. Asks Gracie about head count. Today is 58. White wants to know about trends. Gracie says everywhere is trending down. From 100 head to 50 head is about half revenues; we need to be cautious.
Aranda wants to clarify that we are taking $300,000 from jail reserves and still short $276,000.
White brings up cooling system at jail, investigating costs associated with replacing and upgrading that to refrigerated air.
Hernandez asks about capital outlay cuts. This new budget already reflects cuts of around $200,000 in capital outlay. Not replacing air conditioning this year.
Training costs of $10,000. Gracie and Sgt Fox go to training and costs per person is about $5000 for the year each; more than one training, required, updates, etc.
Judge wants a better breakdown of training. Gracie gives some numbers. Aranda clarifies numbers with Gracie. $10,000 covers four trainings for each. Judge wants to know about required trainings. Gracie says that all four sergeants have to go to classification trainings. In Corpus Christi.
Hernandez asks about additional costs for insurance. Has gone up, extra staffing as jail was understaffed. Insurance was under budgeted last year as well.
21 employees including Gracie.
Hernandez says that Pecos County is having employees pay part of their insurance. This is where counties are moving towards.
Medical waste disposal is zeroed out as contract with Marfa Clinic covers it already.
Prisoner board: actual $177,895 through Sept 1st.
Discussion about jail tax note. 2019 is when jail is paid off, County is 600,000-700,000 away from being finished. Then can apply for new bond for interest and Sinking fund.
Leases: software for booking. Xerox, security cameras, etc.
jail is paying Sheriffs utility bills, adds $3000 to jail budget.
Operating supplies includes repairing things. Lots of repairs says Gracie and cleaning supplies, shower curtains, mats, etc. Actuals for 2015 were approx $30,636. Projected to be 60,000 for next year, why? Judge recommends $40,000, Vasquez says $35,000. Ok.
Vasquez wants to get the estimate for air conditioning, does not want for the jail to get shut down, could be detrimental to County.
Total surplus added after transfer to M&O this year= $151,000 as per budget.
Jail population being lower does not substantially impact costs since jail still needs to be fully staffed. Jail population fluctuates.
Gracie says that she has to have 2 jailers for pop under 98, 3 if over. 24 hour service. Jail has ten jailers total. Work 12 hour shifts. Have to watch overtime issues as well. Not a lot of room for error.
End of discussion.
"That's where the problem is" says Patty.
Judge says non-departmental has gone up quite a bit. Unemployment and worker's comp have been moved from individual budgets into non-departmental. Had been double posted. Actually comes out of non-departmental.
Patty says if you take that out the increase is $212,000 over last year. Actuals. Many of these expenses had not been accounted for.
Katie says professional services included RCI asset analysis people.
Indigent defense: actual $45,386. A couple of big cases. Attorneys charged a lot.
$15,000 grant from State included in revenues already. Number can fluctuate.
Virgie says there is a big jury trial scheduled for November.
Includes County Court cases. Judge Ferguson often denies applicants. Hernandez wants to change it to $35,000. Changed.
White takes $7000 off of water district.
Utilities: $3000 in question included lights.
Auditor expense: auditor says he may charge a bit less this year because of OMB. Leaving number at $40,000
Juries: $6000
Autopsies: actual at $33,000. One still not paid for. $22,000 in 2014, $26,000 in 2015. Judge says that DA office advised judges if there should be a question to contact DA's office. White cuts it to $30,000. Some discussion regarding jurisdiction, responsibilities.
White says it's time to cut everything outside of the Courthouse. Can come back and adjust it later. Marfa EMS- cut in half to $18,000.
Vasquez says he would rather not cut either EMS. Aranda doesn't want to change either Marfa or Presidio EMS. We go back and forth but should not cut it.
White mentions deficit. Vasquez says he would rather take it out of reserves than cut. He sees it not to be fair that cities have the full burden. White says let's keep going and see what we have. Put that $36,000 back on.
Probation service: requested extra $12,000. Judge told them it will stay the same, they have to let someone go, reduce expenses.
Appraisal District: judge wants to know what we have to ascertain we approved for them. Judge says she is sorry we approved a raise as part of appraisal district budget, does not approve of it now.
Aranda and Hernandez says that they asked for it because they thought County employees were going to get a raise. Judge says Marfa ISD did not approve their budget. Nieto says every entity except for Marfa ISD approved budget.
Aranda says he has regrets. Hernandez says we already approved it, let's move on.
Insurance: general liability. Patty says the actual number is smaller. Commissioners raised employee vision and ambulance service benefit. 89 employees, cost less than $14,000 total for some really good benefits according to White. Katie says it's just shy of $15,000.
Katie says to reduce number by $10,000.
State Comptroller: Katie says we can lower it, probably to $160,000 based on actuals.
Presidio library at $5000. Leave it in, says Judge
ESD consulting at $10,000. White says to cut to nothing. Aranda says do not cut it at all, we need to do something now about this. White agrees but he says when he went to school TAC will help do the ESD for free. Multiple conversations going on.
Aranda says that he still wants to leave it there. Judge says take it out or reduce it to three. Aranda brings up travel and consulting. Judge says she thinks she can get companies to come to us to set it up, run it. Hernandez says if we don't use it the money will still be there. Judge says that she had calls at the beginning of the year from a utility consultant and he came from far away to present and hoe him to help. Judge says make it $5000, we need to make cuts. Aranda still says that this person is going to be spending a lot of money on travel. $5000 going to gone just like that. How much was S&B? Judge says about a million dollars but it was reimbursed by grant. Vasquez says he would lie, to put it at five. Judge puts it at five.
Presidio EMS at $100,000. Vasquez and Aranda say leave it.
Marfa and Presidio fire depts at $22,500. Leave it
Food pantries, historical commission.
PIPA at $16,500.
Going down list, no cuts...
Patty says we still have a 204,000 deficit left to go.
White says we're nearly there (joking).
Hernandez asks Patty what she thinks about non-departmental. She says you increased Presidio EMS by 33,000, fire depts by $15,000, historical commission, pipa, more.
Judge says that part of payments to EMS organizations will include data for ESD setup.
White says that there should be financial reports from any organization that gets County funds. Needs to happen going forward.
Vasquez asks about pauper burials- cremations, policy. Beebe answers.
Whits says "Now what? There's nothing more to cut.."
Aranda asks about law library fund.
Multiple conversations.
Patty and Katie consulting with each other on side. Judge discussing with Hernandez. White and Aranda discussing problems.
White says after this year things will straighten out but this year it's going to be painful to get it straight.
Aranda talking about reserves. White says he doesn't think you can spend it, only 58 prisoners in jail, losing half the income right now. Guy into reserves is bad business.
Hernandez asks Patty about revenues, are ex seeing all of them? What about tomato plant leases? Aranda asks same. Katie says they go into airport funds.
Annual payments for rent at $1295.95 monthly. Goes into airport fund.
$1000 month from border patrol for shooting range.
$15,541 yearly into airport funds from tomato farm. Patty says Chase is on top of this.
Can we raise the rent? Asks Hernandez.
White says that FAA requires airport money to be reinvested in airports to get grants.
$204,000 still needs to be cut.
White says he's into larger cuts than $500 here and there. Hernandez says "but nobody's listening to you"
Patty says that 5% additional cuts can make it work. Aranda says "Really?"
Judge says budgets in the courthouse are down to the bone. Patty says 5% could be very hard to do given that some departments have cut everything they can.
Patty says that there are some options, can go back if projected revenues are low, and re-state but that may not work.
Katie says non-departmental is still up substantially.
Hernandez wants to cut high budgets additional 10%.
Patty crunches some numbers.
White brings up DA budget; We never went back to cover that.
Judge crunches her own budget. Cuts her own supplies down a bit, says that that's about it.
Hernandez says that by cutting what he says we can get to $60,000 and that is workable.
Katie says that $200,000 increase is in non-departmental. You all have not made cuts there.
Patty says if you take 7% out of highlighted high budgets you can get there. Judge says most of these are already cut out.
Katie says cut all outside departments by 8% and you get there. All county departments cut their budgets, outside agencies did not cut. Not fair to employees and dept heads.
Hernandez says really? 8% to EMS and fire dept.
Judge says if everyone can just hang on for one more year we'll be OK next year. Hernandez wants to know if no increases for outside agencies over last year will that make it?
Katie consults with Patty, gets us down to $90,000. Hernandez asks Presidio EMS if they can live with $67,500, same as last year. Marco Baeza says maybe for one more year...
Aranda says let's take more from reserves.
White says that if they keep doing this it will break the County.
Judge asked Presidio employees if they will get raise. Projected 3% raise. Judge asks if we can wait.
Hernandez says he does not want to wait.
Patty as it's not fair to cut 5% across the board. Other people have cut all the way down, it's not right to punish the departments who gave you the real thing the first time around where some did not.
Hernandez asks if she feels that way even about the highlighted departments. Yes says Patty.
Aranda still wants to cut the additional 5% across the board. Hernandez wants to know where Patty thinks the cuts should be.
White says that the responsibility for this by law is with the Commissioners. The excess spending is in non-departmental.
Patty says the outside funding sources back to 2015 levels brings you back down $56,500, leaving you with $147,000 deficit. That's kind of it, guys.
Vasquez says we should tap reserves beyond that.
Judge calls to order as multiple conversations are being held.
Judge clarifies how much money we need to make up for. Still $147,000+.
Patty says reserves will be approx $600,000 at end of year estimated.
Hernandez still says we need to cut 200,000 as cuts have not been made yet.
White says we are not showing good fiduciary responsibility.
Multiple conversations.
White says we're hurting our own people and saving those who do not have anything to do with courthouse operations.
Aranda says he has regrets about how this budget period started.
Patty says there were inaccuracies last year that made things look better last year than they were.
Hernandez asks White what he thinks. White says Hernandez is the one squirming, not him. White says that you're going to have to do more than the 5% on EMS and fire.
Aranda and Hernandez want 5% across the board and 3% on non-departmental.
Katie says why not just cut 8% on the non-departmental on the bottom line.
Multiple discussions
Hernandez asks for clarification.
Katie says that they still have not cut outside organizations. Katie says to roll back all those to 2015 and then take 8% after that.
Hernandez now understands that you go back to 2015 and then cut further, just like all other departments.
Hernandez says that fire and EMS is taking care of County.
Marco Baeza says Presidio EMS budget is over $500,000. No room to cut.
Virgie says you're getting a 3% raise! that's not a cut.
Marco says they're not sure about a raise, they may cut water and sewer. Judge wants to leave Presidio EMS at $100,000 and cut everyone else except for Marfa EMS. Vasquez says yes. Patty says that if you leave EMS where it is you have a $24,000 cut. Judge says this is unless you really do want to cut the 8%.
Marco Baeza asks how much deficit is. Judge says $204,000. All departments cut.
Nieto says that utilities and fuel can be reduced by using pool buying power. Shop out communication costs for bids.
Judge says we're working on this, Patty and Judge talked about it a lunch. More discussion.
White says we have an immediate problem that need to be addressed by next Monday.
Judge wants to go through non-departmental line by line again. Nieto brings up golf course, finding an operator. Find it by Monday? Katie asks. Nieto says it's not fair.
Patty says if you shave another 8% off what you've already done that gets you to $128,000.
Hernandez still says where to take it out is a problem. Patty agrees.
"Where do you get it, if not out of every line." Hernandez says. Patty says you've already cut a few that don't have any room left.
Hernandez still says "where?"
Patty says you can make unrealistic cuts, but y're just playing with numbers if you do that, fooling yourself.
White says there are going to be extra expenses here and there that they haven't even thought about that they have to pay. Silence.
Aranda wants to cut 3% from the highlighted departments.
White is looking at Hernandez.
Hernandez wants to go back to Parks.
Judge asks Aranda if the old trucks can last one more year. Aranda says if we have to do it with the old ones we will, but EMS is more important. Hernandez says maybe not $40,000 but $20,000. Ok, we can do that. Down to $20,000 on capital outlay for new truck.
White says we need to cut parks as well.
Patty says cuts were already made in parks but still has a $56,000 increase not counting employee, who was classified elsewhere.
Hernandez wants to take $30,000 out of parks. Hernandez says out of Vizcaino budget. Take $20,000 out of parks north and $5,000 from Redford and $5,000 for Parks South. Judge says Redford Center is also for emergencies. It is designated as emergency shelter. $8000 from south parks, $2000 from Redford.
Hernandez says Jim can decide where north parks cuts come in, but it's $20,000 to cut. Jim says to cut it and department head can figure it out. Katie says ere's not a lot of space to cut after utilities and communications.
Virgie says that we all cut and that the DA did not cut. Aranda says he doesn't think DA will mind cutting 3% since we all cut. Some in the room disagree. Moving on...
Patty says that there really isn't room in north parks to cut after the basic bills. Hernandez says to cut ten percent from facilities and ten from parks north. Judge says that will get us into trouble with our bills. Judge says we should cut a little bit from all non- departmental lines.
White says to cut south parks to zero.
Judge calls for five minute break at 4:11 PM.
Reconvene at 4:33. Presidio Mayor John Ferguson has entered the meeting.
Judge says that when commissioners cut monies from the $60,000 in operating supplies, the shower curtains, mats are old, shoes wear out.
Patty says that federal jail commissary funds can cover some of those items. Frances asks if there sold be a budget sheet for that. Patty says probably yes, but has not yet been reconciled. Possibly around $30,000 in that fund.
Patty says that if we cut all depts listed earlier by 3% that gives you 130,000+.
Non-departmental at 6% would be around $194,000. Gets you out of red.
Would leave us balanced.
Judge says where are we going to do it.
Patty says we already have ten thousand from parks.
Have deficit of $174,000 right now.
Patty says if we returned non-county funding donations to 2015 levels it gives you 54,000+.
Patty: the 6% off non- departmental has not yet been assigned.
Judge says Sheriff has not cut 3% off budget. Equals $21,000 if we cut.
Judge says to go to Sheriff's budget. Aranda mentions they have increased his budget with the $20,000. Five hundred was cut earlier today.
Virgie asks where she is going to get another 3%?
White says he doesn't know but she has to do it.
Hernandez says department heads should make cuts and get them to commissioners by Friday. Katie says there has to be time to prepare it, must be done, turned in my tomorrow by Noon.
Hernandez wants to cut total dept numbers and let them worry about it later.
Judge says that she and Virgie are out of cuts.
Aranda wants to know what the options really are- are we going to have to get the reserves? Patty says that dept heads are not going to be able to go over anymore. That is the job of the County Auditor. There will be no exceptions. If commissioners cut real expenses that are actual, it does not serve a purpose to the County other than hurting it.
Patty gives updated budgets:
Non departmental is now $953,769.
Facilities maint: $246,380
Sheriff's office :739,193
County agent: 32,420
Parks: $169,808 increased golf revenue by $20,000
Road and Bridge: $467,878
Airports: $663,150, RAMP is $90,000
Jail: $1,477,558
M&O deficit of $174,000+
Hernandez wants to cut $74,000 more and take another $100,000 from reserves.
Get $20,000 extra from parks north.
Katie says there's no more to cut from north parks, must cut from south parks, as north has expenses relating to golf.
Hernandez wants to find twenty thousand between parks and facilities.
Hernandez says he needs to leave.
Patty reiterates what Lorenzo H has said.
Aranda says that they are going to have to work with the reserves at some level.
Patty says there are two types of reserves.
Jail reserves- about six hundred thousand total. Took 350,000 last year, have 300,000 budgeted so far.
Aranda says there are things we cannot cut, we have to wait on that pipeline to come in and things will be easier.
Aranda says take out $100,000 in reserves, Vasquez agrees.
Still have $74,000 in cuts to make even if you do this.
White says we have not cut the district court budget nor the district atty's budget. Judge says you can't touch district court.
Judge says to go to page 11, district attorney. Page 13. 3% cut is $1000.
White says to cut from $41,000 to $31,000. Aranda says that's a lot. Judge asks Virgie what she thinks.
Frances says that Rod has tried one jury trial in the last year.
Virgie says not much activity.
Judge says $35,000.
White says he is amazed that we will cut our own operations but not other outside operations.
Cut to $36,200.
Judge says that Hernandez has a good point that some budgets are being cut from the wish list and not the previous budget. County agent cut from wish list. Katie says she added from misc to line items. Judge wants to cut supplies. Eleven hundred dollars difference in supplies. Cut $800 in supplies.
Travel and training is high, judge wants to cut to $2000 like everyone else.
Aranda points out that she has car allowance and training budgets, wants to reduce training budget. Total additional cut $1200 since she had cut some earlier.
Judge wants to go to non-departmental to get $10,000 in cuts rather than out of north parks.
Page 6. Judges takes us there. Let's cut one thousand off of autopsies.
Patty recommends looking for law library funds dedicated in some other account.
Going to take some research. Unknown at this point. Law library is budgeted at $10,000. Katie says we have to spend it to be in compliance, must be available to public.
Cut DPS to $1500. Jeff Davis did the same. Judge says she is wrong sorry, can't cut DPS.
Autopsies down to $20,000.
Pauper burials reflect actuals.
Aranda wants to bring it down. Judge and Katie say there's no way to really do that.
Child welfare/advocacy - cut $500 each.
Food pantries- cut $500 each. White says the food pantry in Presidio is not active. White says nearly fifty thousand was spent. Judge says cut one thousand so if they start back up they still have $3500.
Marfa food pantry is very active, judge says we should cut
Aranda asks about county motor pool. Norma is using minivan. The GMC Terrain and the Taurus are both broken. Using van.
Aranda says it should be in her budget if she is using the van all the time.
Judge says Norma has five thousand for fuel in her budget, nothing for repairs and maintenance on a vehicle.
Judge says that on the $16,500 for PIPA there is still CBI funds. White points out that is a different budget. Ok, moving on, says Judge.
Vasquez wants to take $156,000 out of reserves and call it a day so that everyone can function.
Aranda says we have done all we can.
Aranda wants Patty's recommendation. She says she would take $50,000 out of jail and $104,000 out of M&O. Last year $350,000 was taken from jail.
Last year's budget was a deficit budget of $166,000. Would result in a lower deficit budget than the year before.
Patty reiterates that it is risky.
Commissioners seem to agree, at least Vasquez and Aranda. Hernandez has left meeting. White is not happy. Judge seems to be resigned.
Commissioners plan to fix it next year, do a better job, start earlier.
Katie says numbers were off last year to the tune of who knows; it hurt budget planning this year.
Take $350,000 from jail reserves and 104,000 from M&O reserves.
Judge Guevara says that tomorrow is deadline for agenda items for Monday meeting.
Aranda asks if there will be an adjustments workshop before adoption. Yes, says Judge.
Constable Coker has something to say.
Wants recording where request was made using Constable in Marfa for courthouse security where three commissioners voted against funding for south County annex security.
Finds it offensive especially since he trusted them and then vote was made in Marfa to exclude him and Courthouse Annex.
At least Hernandez voted against both. North Constable deserves more funding supposedly, may be a violation of law. Looking into it.
Stated for the record.
Everything will be above board, as a law enforcement officer he will make sure. If it needs to go to Court he will be there. He was not a big advocate of this, but when you turn around and give me a big slap in the face, it's an affront.
Aranda says meeting is not over, we have not finished, that's why I asked you to speak.
Aranda states that nobody else was getting a raise, looking for additional duties, work, could not justify in S County. Could still make a change, do it.
Judge clarifies that she was trying to be fair, made offer to commissioners about funding both offices.
Confusion on Aranda's part with regard to separate funds on this issue. Katie and Patty trying to explain. Says we need to be fair with Coker.
Aranda wants to be fair.
Judge brings up that his proposed budget was set for the maximum mandated number (25%). Vasquez says he was for it, Hernandez voted against both. Aranda reiterates that he wants to be fair.
Patty says that commissioners court has the power to do that, can fund it for only one year if it goes that way.
Aranda tells Coker to bring it to commissioners court Monday.
White motions to adjourn at 5:33 PM