Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Notes on Presidio County Commissoners Court Regular Meeting, Wednesday, May 9th, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

Here are my notes for today’s meeting. Sorry I am currently unable to load up the agendas. My scanner is not working. Agendas are available at the County website,

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 9:30 AM, Main Courtroom, Presidio County Courthouse

Present: Judge Cinderela Guevara, Loretto Vasquez, Eloy Aranda.

Meeting convened at 9:39 AM

Citizen Comments:
Patty Roach: says that next payroll will have a comp time payout, 9,900 dollars plus. Persons who are exceeding the cap, still work for County.

County Judge announcements:
Saturday Judge went to airport to see how emergency area at airport operates. Pretty amazing. Gary Mitschke is asked to give a short update on fires.
Gary leaves some maps and incident action plans with Commissioners. 19,000 acres, mostly contained. He thinks the6 will demobilize and leave out this weekend. Approx four million dollars spent, four hundred personnel.
Helibase out there is impressive. Gary advocates to provide this on a long term basis.
TXDOT has been assisting, doing an excellent job to control the dust around the copters.
Airport staff worked overtime to accommodate the relocation of the helibase from Alpine Thursday night and Friday morning.
Aranda would like to see the base after the meeting.
Four type 1 tankers here. Can carry up to 1000 gallons of water.
Gary would like to have an area prepared for them to be able to show up on short notice, including electrical power at the zone of the airport where they are based.
Aranda thanks Gary and the County employees for helping and doing a good job for everything in this fire.
Sam Cobos thanks Gary for the training on cost tracking; he knew exactly how to track County costs for reimbursements. Training was key.
Gary says that there will be reimbursements for some of the costs of the fire to the County.

Judge says that Appraisal District hacking incident is being addressed. Board will pay more money to software company to get records back instead of paying ransom. Going to be a long road to rebuild data system.
Judge says we will need some type of assurance that our server is being regularly backed up.
Anti-virus software is needed in each office. We need to be sure we are using it.
Perhaps training on security and emails for county employees.
Other counties and districts have been hacked, Aranda says. Judge says PCAD purchased disaster recovery insurance. She remembers earthquake tremors in Marfa back in 1998. You can never know what can happen.

Judge thanks OMB and county clerk for assisting with meeting copies since her clerk is out of the office sick. Her last day in the office otherwise is Friday.

Aranda asks if there is an update on the bridge construction on the International Bridge. Staging down there but no actual construction. People arrested asking when it will start.
Judge says that she will have Jake give an update at the meeting next Presidio.
PIPA did receive funds from County. Confirmation from Jim White, treasurer of PIPA.

Item 6- minutes approval
Vasquez motions to approve. Second by Aranda. Unanimous.

Item 7- US 67 corridor master plan presentation by Ramon Carrasco.
Kleinmann Consultants.
PowerPoint presentation.
Project started fall of 2017.primary project manager is Rebecca Reyes.
Public meetings next week in fort Stockton, alpine, Marfa and Presidio.
Comprehensive plan for corridor from TXDOT.
Rare opportunity for our communities to get together and voice preference for how this highway will look in the future.
Seven firms involved. Main firm has 5000 engineers employed.
This is the time to ask for something we need within or near the corridor.
Main purpose of the study is to create a corridor master plan.
Been collecting data on current conditions during the holidays.
TXDOT began collecting data in this area in 2006.
Public meetings are for input from citizens. Want as much data as possible.
Solitaire mobile homes will be expanding their production. Pedestrian issues. Bicycle traffic.
Project has not been funded, only study has been funded. Will function as a guide for the entities can go for funding.
Ponton says that TXDOT usually does not pay for right of way purchases. Cities and counties can ask for TxDOT help on this. Cities and county need to be on the same page on this, very important.
Ramon says it’s the county’s responsibility to get the right of way but feds or state may assist if there is a real need and unity.
Corridor master plan will identify short, medium and long term issues for corridor. Thirty year window.
Anything that does not make it into this plan will be much more difficult to be funded down the line.
Judge asks audience about a potential bypass for Marfa. Room agrees. Ramon says this is why this meeting is so important, to get sentiments like this from the general public.
Short term window projects would be optimally addressed within two years.
Improving traffic flow, quality of life and safety issues are front and center. Additional economic benefits as well.
Another bus tour for officials will happen this summer.
Study will be completed next fall. Two year window. Fall of 2019.
Website: takes public comments.
GIS map at where accident sites data has been posted and can be viewed. Comments can be received there as well.
TxDOT website also has a link to this study, has links to other sites related to this project.
Meetings are the chance to voice opinion. Ponton says that some people are in fear about this turning into a giant freeway through the Big Bend. Going to the meetings can get their viewpoint heard and find solutions, such as bypasses around Marfa and Alpine.
Aranda says that the steep hills and curves on the Presidio highway make for challenges in the trucking business. All three cities should have bypasses.
Talk of a Rest Stop, where would be best on the Presidio highway?
Ramon says nobody wants a four lane highway inside their city, but people want the roads to be safe. This is the way to show TxDOT how the community feels about this.
Meetings will have an Open House format.
Aranda asks if there has already been a lot of input. Carrasco says yes, but not everyone who signed up to attend did.
End of presentation.

Item 8- Sam Cobos asks to hire Justin Steffy as part time hire for Facilities Management Dept position.
Sam says he was been working for two weeks as a contract employee. Doing a good job.
Aranda motions to approve. Second by Vasquez. Unanimous

Item 9- Courthouse alarm system contract. Requiring has been completed. Active. Final inspection not possible because the regulations have changed and now must have a remote monitoring system. Now this firm has quoted $480 per year for off site monitoring. Going rate, dedicated phone included. State inspection sticker will follow.
Vasquez motions to accept. Aranda seconds. Unanimous.

Item 10- county credit card for use with businesses that do not accept purchase orders. Requesting to use. Brought up in last weeks meeting that some vendors do not accept POs . Equipment for baseball field, Sears lawn mower parts. Currently using his own credit card. Ruben Carrasco from road and bridge sometimes has the same problem.
Aranda thinks it’s a good idea, but asks Patty Roach about her opinion. Says he is interested in transparency.
Patty says there is no process in place. We will need to develop processes for this system. Tracking, purchasing policy rules must be followed. This is different from a travel card.
Concept could be approved today, but Court will need to decide on a multitude of issues regarding the use of this card.
Judge says airports manager has same issue as well.
Judge says many years ago Mario Rivera had a card and inspected items when they arrived after being charged but before paying the bill.
Judge motions to accept and have Treasurer and auditor obtain a card for purchases and to return to commissioners court with a process for future approval .

Item 11- support for City of Presidio to build a micro-hospital in Presidio. Rod Ponton presents. Jose Rodriguez rote a letter to
Richard Lange of Texas Tech medical school in El Paso and mr Patel, affiliated with Tenet health care.
This morning he got an email from Patel from Tenet health care expressing support.
Asking commissioners to provide a resolution of support.
Vasquez and Aranda say it’s a no brainer
Vasquez says this is big for Candelaria, Redford and even Lajitas areas.
Aranda says the new hospital can displace much of the EMS transport money spent. City of Presidio spends a million dollars per year on EMS services. Ca support the hospital without raising taxes from these same revenues savings, save lives. Housing would also be built for employees. Financing is in place, says Ponton.
Current Presidio clinic sees 500 patients per week.
Aranda remembers setting that up. Over the years there have been good doctors but often have trouble keeping them. Right now good doctors and nurses, good service.
Ponton says it’s very hard to figure out how many people live in Presidio. Approx 2600 water taps, and based on stats, likely 3.6 people per tap.
Vasquez makes motion to approve. Unanimous.

Item 12- waive golf course fees for girls softball league on June 9, 2018.
Judge says committee for golf course met last week and at some point there will be an announcement that we will no longer waive those fees. Aranda and Vasquez support waiving the fees.
Beebe speaks about how giving the golf course fees away hurts the golf course.

Judge says that there are good points on both sides but the regulations we were unaware of prohibit us from giving it away. We have been doing it, unknown. We gave it away for the band, which has both the Judges and commissioner Bentley’s daughters in it. Not giving it away to other groups makes it look like we’re playing favorites. We need to get the golf course board together and make some solid decisions.
More discussion. Aranda agrees with both sides.
He says that people in Presidio want the county out of the golf business, we really need to lease it out.
Judge says that once the committee takes off that she thinks they will find a good answer to this.
Still trying to get credit card terminal at the golf course.
Vasquez agrees that the court needs to take committees advice.
In the meantime were caught between a rock and a hard place. Judge makes motion to waive the fee .
Second by Vasquez.

Item 13- TAP grant engineering projects. Katie Sanchez says we do not yet have state approved rating sheet. Judge motions to postpone item. Unanimous.

Item 14- budget amendments- Auditor
Proceeds from sale of stray animals. Cattle. Stray expenses can be covered. $3400 in proceeds. Auditor wants to transfer then to to Estray budget.
Water District funding budget amendment.
District court funds to pay for indigent defense training.
Funds for fire alarm work.
Tax office education and travel.
JP 1 - installation of computers from education.
Jail for fuel into office supplies
JP 2 from fuel to education.
Several other small ones (missed them)
Aranda motions to approve

Item 16- Treasurers Report and Bills
Frances Garcia
Reports for previous month for departments will be next meeting.
Meeting in Presidio courtroom at 9 AM next Wednesday the 16th.
Aranda motions to approve

Item 17- update on projects. Waiting on TAP grant forms.
Property transfers- one chair trashed from courthouse.
Cheap rolling chair.
Aranda motions to accept OMB report and transfers.

Item 18
Adjourn at 12:02 PM

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