Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Late post- Notes from Commissioners Court meeting April 12, 2016

Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting 4/12/2016 9 AM, Marfa, Presidio County Courthouse

Commissioners from Presidio are running late...

Convene at 9:17 AM.

All present 

Public comments: 
Richard Petree, appraiser. Carlos Nieto wishes to have commissioners find a way to reduce burden on local taxpayers. Petree has a recommendation and a handout. Says that homestead exemptions can be set by taxing entities between 1% and 20% available. He has prepared presentation. Says that county can raise overall tax rate to offset an increased exemption. Shifts burden to wealthier taxpayers and business entities. Aranda asks if that is the only exemption available to the entities. Petree says that pretty much, yes. Schools can make certain exemptions. Cities and Counties have this particular option. Vasquez says he recognizes the Impact on the citizens, especially for elderly. Encourages Petree to help commissioners move forward with this. Requests guidance. Petree says he will provide numbers to judge this afternoon. Aranda asks how much time they have for this year's taxes. Petree says that within the next month would reflect this year's notices. After that notices would not be affected but actual bill would be in the fall. Judge Guevara thanks Petree and Nieto. Encourages commissioners to consider this. 1,110 homesteads in Presidio County. Seven hundred plus are elderly or disabled. 
Agree to set special meeting next Friday. Judge says she will call it. 
Carlos Nieto thanks judge, encourages court to act. Affects City of Marfa residents more than anyone else.
End of public comments.

Item 5- announcements from Judge and commissioners . 
Judge met with Tex Historical commission. Want to restore the Sacred Heart Church in Ruidosa. Want to ask Catholic Church to deed property to county or take on restoration on their own. Church is falling down, open air. Judge wants to meet with diocese face to face. Wants to know commissioners thoughts to see if they might be interested. Texas Historical Commission could request grants if property was deeded to county. White and Vasquez support looking into pursuing it. 
Shows pictures of church when it was still in decent shape. 
Could help economy down there, White mentions. Vasquez would like to see it in the county's hands. 
Rural transportation improvement meeting coming up in Marfa at City Hall 4-6 PM Tuesday. Multiple Counties. 
Judge met with border patrol. Worked up an ops order to use Stonegarden grants in 2017. Has been turned in. Still answering audit issues from time before. They would like to see five different things that judge is still working on. Among them, mileage logs, vehicle policy. White says that TXDOT has a usable policy if she needs to refer to one. Judge was hoping that we were clear, but we are close. Most items have been remedied. Funds will be available 2017-19
Judge working with Larry Lunsford. Still talking about golf course. They are now interested in building homes. Lunsford met with Superintendent Peters regarding affordable housing. 
Investors are interested. Fits in with economic development plan commissioners approved in 2012. 
Veterans service officer is going to Presidio every other week. Has requested a laptop. Would like a line item transfer for that, on agenda today.
PIPA meeting March 22nd. No actions taken. Good meeting. Meeting in Mexico May 10th. In Mexico City. White may attend. Judge is attending. PIPA still working on bylaws. Judge asks PIPA president Commissioner Hernandez why bylaws are tricky. Hernandez says that they have to comply with State requirements. Consulting with Jesse Hereford  to get them done. White says there is a list of attorneys certified to do this work. Hereford is in contact with them. Should not be a problem. 
Rolling Thunder Chapter 2 is coming to Marfa setting up a virtual wall on courthouse lawn honoring soldiers from Texas who have died in Desert Storm up until present.
Judge says that commissioners will be gone 25-29 for training, so meeting will be next week instead of end of month.
No other announcements.

Item 6- discussion as presented from Bureau of Vital Statistics

Item 7- Presidio County Bank Accounts-
Closing unnecessary. White makes motion to close, says they have already discussed this enough.

Item 8- Dome visitation hours. Judge advocates opening the dome, cites hundreds of tourists visiting. 
White says it is still a security issue, says we should rely on courthouse security officer to make this decision. Constable Steve Marquez says that people come all day every week. Aranda wants to know if Steve is OK with this. Steve says that since city helped out with workers it worked out, but otherwise there are too many visitors. 
White says we are not a tourist center, we are here to take care of County business. 
Vasquez says that he feels that keeping hours is a better idea, add more hours. 
Judge says that is what she wants.
Hernandez asks how it was before. Judge says it was always open. White disagrees. Says Hunt opened it. Hernandez says that it used to be open 8-5 weekdays. Hernandez wants to know how many visitors. Steve says lots of families, up to 20 people per time frame. Lots of big groups coming through. Safety is concern. 
White says that it is also high ground, could be used as A gun turret. Aranda says that at one time there wee too many kids fooling around up there. Judge says during  summer it will be unbearably hot. Judge suggests talking with city about getting more workers. Sam Cobos says it is best to have a escort, steps are dangerous. If city continues to provide escorts, then it would be good. Hernandez reminds court that the city is not responsible for the courthouse. Vasquez prefers that if city provides a person, it would be preferential. Hernandez says he does not feel comfortable with someone from city, only feels comfortable with Steve Marquez. 
Aranda would like to adjust stairways with Historical Commission. 
Hernandez asks Steve Marquez if there is a good time for him on a daily basis. Steve says that he is open to suggestions as long as he is not in court. 
Judge makes motion to extend dome hours to at least two hours per day, based on his availability. Patty Roach asks that hours be consistent and at least let her know how to let people know. Crystal Funke mentions that she would suggest that dome stay open and Steve can make regular patrols. Hernandez still thinks people should be supervised. Motion and second on table. 
Aranda wants to be sure that a regular schedule is followed. Hernandez wants to know if extra hours can be arranged through Steve if he is available. Judge says that that is happening now. Many people are important to us and it is hard to say no. 
Unanimous on the motion. Motion was to extend dome hours and are coordinated with courthouse security. 

Item 9- payment in lieu of taxes for housing authority. Waive them for Marfa Housing Authority. Aranda makes motion to approve. Seconded by White. Unanimous.

Item 10- fixed rate 13 month contract with WTU at 4.445 cents per kilowatt.
Judge has question. Cheryl Calvert explains that these five meters have come up for contract. Advisor suggested that a 13 month contract would be best and all the meters  will come up for contract at the same time in 13 months. Unanimous.

Item 11- MISD and County tax collection agreement. $8,260 per quarter +/-
Raised 20% this time by Tax Assessor. Costs have risen. She has talked to school district. Hernandez moves to approve. Unanimous.

Item 12- Marfa airport landing fees
Chase says that the trend is an increase in jet traffic and a decrease in personal small plane traffic. 
Trend is also that airports are charging landing fees, currently we have waived them if they buy fuel. He intended the item to be for both airports. But airports are different. Marfa is a destination airport. He recommends that landing fee be extended to all jets of any size, two categories. Less than 27,000 pounds $150, more than 27,000 pounds, $350 unless fuel purchases made of those same amount of gallons. ($350 vs 350 gallons)
Also asks permission to waive fees in certain situations. Mentions that employees have to be trained, notice has to be published in federal register. These will take time. Says this will encourage fuel sales. Propeller planes would not have fees. 
Vasquez looks to move. Judge wonders about Chase being able to waive fees. 
Judge makes motion that includes allowing Chase to waive fees. Seconded by Hernandez. Vasquez brings up if plane already has a lot of fuel, does it still pay. Chase says that he does not want to force the fee, would use exemption. 

Item 13- Marfa airport television service. Has been paid for by Ron Lewis, now should be provided for waiting pilots, but needs to be paid for by airport, Chase says.
No cable out there. Direct TV is $72/mo with $200 installation charge. With 2 yr contract installation fee is waived and it is half the price. 
White says Chase should check with Big Canyon about Dish. 
Vasquez has no problem with 2 yr contract if it saves money. 
Chase asks if court is OK with contract. Aranda makes motion to have Chase decide on contract and provider. Unanimous.

Item 14- Executive Session for airport personnel matters. Convene at 11:15 AM

Item 15- reconvene into open session at 12:36 PM
Airport personnel matters: 
Judge makes motion to allow an employee to receive $20 of a $50 cell phone fee, that fuel sales at Marfa airport be incentivized to promote sales. (Did not catch exact details) unanimous

Item 16- Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Conrad Arriola presents on behalf of Frontier Casa. 
Proclaim April Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Frontier Casa works with the children. They serve 8 counties. Always need volunteers. Several cases have originated in Presidio County. Hernandez asks who the rep is if there is a case in Marfa or Presidio. Arriola says that if a child gets into the system, the District Judge will appoint a Casa volunteer to be their voice. John Fowlkes agrees a that it is a great service. Advocates for awareness of the program and the importance of their role in children's lives. 
Judge makes motion to approve. Unanimous.

Break for lunch at 12:42 PM.

Reconvene at 1:52 PM

Item 17- Sale of Presidio County equipment and materials approved as surplus at meeting 3/23. 
Aranda says that list has been approved, now want to go ahead and sell. Take bids. Motions to approve. Seconded by White. Unanimous.

Item 18- payment to Jesse Hereford for international bridge project for $8,000 for Section 559 Application to General Services Administration. Discussion as to whether the PIPA group will pay for it. For now since bylaws for PIPA are not in place, county will pick up the tab. White motions to do so.  Katie Sanchez means tomknow where the money is budgeted. Out of PIPA page (16,500) within budget. Presidio County Commissioners Court Special Meeting March 23rd, 2016, 9:30 AM, Presidio County Annex Food Pantry Building, Presidio, TX

Present: Jim White, Loretto Vasquez, Eloy Aranda, Cinderela Guevara, Lorenzo Hernandez

Called to order at 9:43 AM

Public comments:

Judge and commissioners announcements:
Judge Guevara says that Larry Lunsford came to her after meeting to apologize for springing the purchase of the golf course on them. Says investors would like to meet directly with Judge. Says that they would build casitas on the property if land was sold to them. Housing shortage.
Aranda says that property would have to be auctioned, bids, etc. Get the County Attorney involved. If property is to be sold, the County needs to get a professional appraisal of the golf course. Golf course was built by hand by people in Marfa, we need to be really careful. Judge says that he is right, we need to be sure we protect the County first and look very carefully. There has been at least one other person interested in redoing the golf course. All this will have to be put out for bid, and we will have to be very careful. Commissioner Vasquez says he has gotten a lot of calls against sale of land. 
Jim White says that he has gotten complaints about children running around the Marfa airport, all along the runways et al, and commissioners court will need to deal with this. 
Hernandez says that we have heard about this before and done nothing, it is time for us to do something. White agrees, we really do not want to get anyone hurt. That is the main issue. Judge says that she can call them into her office and tell the kids themselves. Offers to take care of this with Chase today. Agreed between Chase and Judge that they will speak to the kids tomorrow and take care of this. 

Item 6- 2015 TCDBG proposals. Commissioners have had packets to rank and score. Tabled for a bit while Commissioner Vasquez completes his survey.

Issue with tape recorder. It turned off. Virgie resets it. 

Item 7- 
Maximum lodging and meal rates for Presidio County Employees (training sessions, etc)
Patty Roach explained that we are currently at $42, maximum is $46. After that it is taxable to the County. Katie Sanchez gives clarity on advances versus reimbursements. This is for advances. Reimbursements can be made on real receipts. Hernandez recommends reimbursements only, that would solve this issue. Katie agrees. Reimbursements do not include tips or alcohol. Katie says some people need advances, cannot rely on reimbursements. Aranda says advances are good. White says that receipts need to be required either way. Judge says that if you get an advance and you spend more, then you can be reimbursed the difference. France's Garcia agrees that it is. Katie says though that if you spend less, you do not have to reimburse the County. White says there is nothing wrong with paying taxes. Hernandez says that when he attends a conference, he would at least like to have the lodging paid in advance. Ketzia says that II is all up to the commissioners. She knows that we have given advances before and a few people need to reimburse the County for money that was not spent. Aranda talks about going up to $46. White says he prefers to encourage people to just rely on bringing receipts back. Judge asks if they really want to eliminate advances. Virgie says that some employees cannot afford to go somewhere without an advance. More discussion. 
Aranda talks about requiring receipts, if people do not spend the money would have to bring the receipts back and refund any excess. 
Wants to bring it up to $46, still allow advances, allow for extra reimbursement if employee goes over. Receipts required. Maximum meal per dime would be $46. 
Katie says that they need to clarify if it's for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Hernandez asks if they would have to bring back receipts if they go over or regardless. Wants to retire receipts regardless. Vasquez says he is against reimbursement if meals go over $46. Hernandez agrees. Does not apply for hotel fees, just meals. No receipts would be required. White agrees that reimbursement over $46 leaves room for abuse. Discussion about receipt requirements. 
Some questions about fairness. Agreed that reimbursement rate and advance rate will both be set at $46 maximum. Special trips to places like Washington DC could be considered on an as needed basis. Judge says that sometimes those important trips come up at the last minute and there would not be time to schedule. Katie says that they could go by the GSA recommendations and guidelines on that. Judge says that she really believes this should be studied more, and that maybe to day just raise it up $4 and come to revisit this. Hernandez says he agrees, but would rather not even raise it today. Instead come back and tackle it all at once. White says we could do trips on a more open ended deal based on where the trip would be. Chase says why not go with the GSA rates. White says we don't yet know those rates. More general discussion.
Aranda wants to study this more. White agrees. 
Judge says she doesn't see anything wrong with the $4 increase today. Vasquez agrees. Judge makes motion. Aranda seconded. Lunch is now $14 instead of ten. Approved.

Item 8- Surplus equipment: attached list. (I do not have the list, but Aranda supplied it)
Aranda says it is mostly old equipment in the way, taking up yard space. 
Ruben Carrasco presents. He and Chase went through equipment.
Made a list and where it all is
Half ton Chevy pickup, Marfa airport, very old. Trash in the back
Lots of parts, materials, been there for a long time.
Some of these things are on the RCI asset list.
Oil tank at golf course
Hernandez moves to approve the list.
White seconds. Unanimous

Item 6- TXCDBG
Admin and engineering services for Block Grant. Redford Water Supply
Scored applicants.
Katie Sanchez has tallied the points.
Will be posted on County website
Grantworks: Admin, beat out Grant Management
Engineering: Kleinman engineering beats out Frank Spencer and two others. 
Motions follow to adopt as recommended. 
Barbara Baskin has two questions. Who got this information together for the RFPs 
Also, why is the scoring the way it is, unclear as to whether it has been done before. Hernandez says that the engineer we chose as most qualified will be price negotiated with first. Baskin wants to be sure everything is covered, water has not been up to standards for quite a while. White recommends she reads the proposals. She says she has never seen that, wants to know if the contract award have anything to do with the specs of this project. Jerry Carvahal says that the grant proposal is designed around prior engineering findings (by Ramon Carrasco of Kleinman). Baskin protests a bit that the information from prior projects has never been disclosed. End of discussion.

Item 9- line item transfers
Operating supplies to uniforms for Sheriff's Dept. correction from last time, more uniform pants. Approved

Item 10-
Bills and expenses
White makes motion to accept. Seconded by Hernandez. 

Item 11- Adjourn
Adjourned at 10:41 AM

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