Commissioners present: Brenda Bentley, Loretto Vasquez, Jose Cabezuela, Judge Guevara, Eloy Aranda.
Convened at 9:45 AM
Citizen Comments: none
County Judge announcements: none
Commissioners: bus tour Sept 6 for US 67 corridor.
Judge asks if construction on the RR has started. Aranda says he has not seen any construction yet.
Aranda says that sales date for road and bridge excess equipment is forthcoming. Sealed bids on items will be accepted, announced.
FEMA trailers: unsure as to how the County got the two trailers we have.
Not allowed to sell them, Judge says.
Natalia says the County bought those trailers and owns them outright.
Judge says they are not in inventory.
Condition of one in Presidio is not good. The one on Marfa is at the golf course and is usable for office space. County may keep it for use as CBase office space for now.
Vasquez asks about employee sick leave pool sign ups, has anyone else signed up? It’s a no brainer. Wants to get a list of employees not participating and call them up to ask why not.
Treasurer will give commissioners the list.
Item 6: no action on minutes. No minutes.
Item 7: budget and tax rate public hearing
Open public hearing at 9:59 AM
Judge wants to look at increases and decreases first, summarize.
Katie Sanchez assists
Aranda asks about revenues. Wants to see that first.
M&O revenue increase is $358,649.00
Proposed revenue is based on 90% tax collection rate plus reliable receipts from other services.
Projection is based on rollback tax rate.
Discussion on Pre-trial diversions in County Court.
No convictions anymore, County Attorney places all cases into pre-trial diversion status where all pre-trial monies go into fund for County Atty office.
Much discussion as to whether justice is served by having no Class A or B misdemeanor charges resulting in convictions in Presidio County. After discussion, Judge Guevara says she will not longe sign PTDs without viewing all the documents related to a case. County Clerk’s office not taking in any fine revenue to be forwarded to general fund from fines in County Court. County Atty’s office keeps PTD funds for staffing and supplies dedicated to that office.
Other revenue increases include auto registration/ road and bridge funds.
County Judge budget:
Insurance payroll costs have increased for all departments.
Veterans service officer lost his landline, requesting cell phone.
Transfers from M&O to cover shortfalls: $377,157.79
Matching ten percent for airports runway grant discussed.
Good news is that the airport will not have to be closed during runway reconstruction.
Auditor says that she projects that at end of FY 2018 we should have approximately cash reserve of approximately five months for both jail funds and general fund expenses.
Vasquez asks about comp time obligations. Approximately $121,000 owed. Including vacation time obligations.
Vasquez is interested in having the sheriffs office adding more staff to reduce comp time.
Sheriff says that deputies are fully staffed at this point, three in Presidio and two in Marfa.
Aranda wants to budget for overtime and not have comp time.
Overtime budgeting to be completed by Sheriffs office for budget adjustment by next week. Most comp time and overtime hours are accrued by Sheriffs office and jail. Commissioners seem to be in favor of moving to overtime hours instead of comp time.
Vasquez feels that if somebody is sent to training they should be paid regular hours; any additional hours spent traveling or attending training should not be reimbursed.
Auditor says that TAC attorneys have said that the County needs to pay travel time.
Judge thinks that each department may need some overtime budgeted.
Discussion about budgeting overtime by Dept head.
Auditor says that for office staff overtime must be budgeted on a weekly basis, cannot transfer week to week.
Emergency budget amendments can be make in cases of actual emergency.
Judge asks about concerns from individual Dept heads.
Natalia Williams, tax assessor, says that although raises have not been proposed, she has two employees that have been there for a long time, very underpaid, and handle a lot of money. She would like to keep them.
Advocates for raises.
Aranda says that several years ago we were working towards a salary survey, have not yet been able to compare salaries with similar Counties.
Asks Katie Sanchez about status of survey. She says that some data has been collected, but not completed.
Judge says that longevity pay is something we need to add to the next personnel policy.
More staffing for tax office will be needed in Presidio if the trans-migrantes start coming for titles and registrations for vehicles crossing border.
Sheriff Dominguez says that dispatch proposed budget is not what he presented at his budget meeting. Salary adjustment for assistant Shanna Elmore not added into new budget doc.
Wages for jail staff are too low for recruitment purposes. At $13/hr he can’t get qualified applicants. Wants to start at $16, might be able to start at thirteen but once certified by state go to $16. Sergeants get $18/hr.
Judge says Brewster County is giving a substantial raise this year and most jailers in our jail live in Alpine.
Sheriff says that back in 2012 the wage rate was ok, but it’s not working properly now, have not kept up. The jail is keeping the county afloat as a moneymaker.
Sheriff says the scope camera truck we have needs to be fixed and he will have to take it to Florida , needs a PO for at least $2000 for estimate. The grant will pay for the repairs but not for the costs of the trip. Needs money for two trips to Florida plus lodging and meals for two people to drop off truck and pick it up once it’s fixed. Between $5000 and $5500. County is required to fix it since it is grant funded. Approximately $3500 non-reimbursable for expenses.
$275,000 piece of equipment.
Evidence room and jail is too full. Been there since 1993. Need funding for Dave Duncan, reserve deputy to research and eliminate closed case files, etc. Needs to take care of that, requesting $5000.
Ten thousand budgeted in reserves for S County, this would be in addition to this.
Dispatch side of budget not updated from last year. Asking for $3000 in office expense. Bentley brings up the fact that since commissioners weren’t present for the budget workshops and did not receive any advance info on what departments are asking for means that this is the first time they are seeing these numbers and unless they ask for what departments want at the public meetings they would not know.
$3650 of dispatch service fees no longer going to be covered by the RGCOG.
$1500 for new furnishings.
Sheriffs office budget: assistants salary increase from this year not added in.
Dues and memberships increase by $705. TCLETS for TCOLE certification.
Inmate head counties down right now because of replacement of HVAC system. Exhaust fans will need replacement, not compliant. Going to be about $114,000 to replace. Inspection will come next month.
County Atty is researching whether that was part of the original HVAC contract.
Discussion about that cost.
Judge says jail is 25 years old and is falling apart. We need to decide to spend the money and fix it correctly. Hot in summer, cold in the winter. It makes us money, we need to spend money keep it working properly for us.
Jail is grandfathered in at older standards, but if shut down will be forced to comply with all the new standards. We are not there. Cant get shut down or we will really lose out.
Vasquez asks about why Jeff Davis County is to using us for jail and dispatch services. Sheriff says that they think they can save money using Hudspeth County, but it doesn’t make sense. That’s their decision.
Gracie Parras says that adding a cell within the transport van could save on staffing and wear and tear. Male and female prisoners cannot be transported in the same van at this time. With a segregation unit/ van increased safety and less supervision, plus fewer trips would be needed. Judge saw demonstration and agrees.
No grant funds available for this at this time.
About $25,000 for cell. Gracie will get a quote.
Cooks in the jail have been there for years, still make $11.50per hour. Short one cook, need a third. Need to start at $12.50, wants to give current cooks $13.50 per hour. Vasquez agrees.
County Clerk Virgie Pallarez asks for raises for the girls. Needs desks for district clerk office.
Approximately $4000 for two desks.
Her clerks make about $13/hr. Been there for years.
JP 2 Judge Bishop says that DPS will have a new program for ticket integration that will cost money, maybe $1500. Hill Country Software Systems has switched to become LGS. New system, a lot of unknowns. Otherwise she is not asking for much.
JP 1 Judge Beebe says that he is spending massive amounts of time on bookkeeping and that if the County wants to continue to move towards a complete system of checks and balances on the financial side they will have to hire more employees and move to a blind drop system in offices such as his.
More discussion about this.
Nothing but software/ cloud updates requested by County Treasurer
Road and Bridge director Ruben Carrasco asks for slight increase for salary for office worker. Was told that salary increases would be discussed separately from budget item requests. His secretary has been there for over ten years and still makes $11.15/hr
Discussion about employees getting discouraged with low pay rates, retention issues.
Judge says that County benefits are unmatched by other employers. Agrees that longevity pay is something we should look at.
Ruben asks commissioners to consider a yearly cost of living increase to salaries, every year. County has good employees, everyone discusses this and agrees that County’s employees work hard and help our County be better than it otherwise would be.
Discussion about the insurance costs for the Juvenile probation officer, who is an employee of Brewster County.
Who makes the decision as to who pays this?
Judge says juvenile probation board made the decision as to who pays the health insurance on their end last year but tabled it this year but commissioners court can make this decision . Bentley brings up that anyone who is not an employee of this County could affect our liability. Continuing coverage for insurance after twenty years as a county policy could apply as well.
Discussion. Judge offers to call Judge Ferguson about this issue on speaker phone if commissioners want to. Says these decisions were made prior to her tenure. Three counties share various costs.
County Auditor budget: wants a $1600 increase to take finance software to the cloud. Will go down next year. May need an increase for a new computer as hard drive crashed. May be able to be repaired, in the shop now.May be able to pay for it within her existing budget.
Commissioners budget: funding two trainings per year per commissioner.
Bentley would like a budget analysis for each Dept on actuals. Judge says they will get the. For Wednesday meeting.
Salaries for employees: discussion about salary comparisons with other counties. OMB office and auditor will do some research with the Judge.
Vasquez mentions longevity pay. Judge would like to have a committee look at that. Probably not enough time this year but could start on it this year and implement something next year.
Auditor will prepare percentage increase options plus other options for raises.
Potential to set aside money for a pay equalization fund.
Tax rate: proposed rate is .61475
Uncertain at this point if that proposed rate will generate enough revenue for M&O and I&S. That is rollback rate.
Rate is four cents less than last year.
Two years ago the tax rate was .67804
Judge motions to close the public hearing at 12:47 pm
County Atty Ponton says that the jail air conditioning contract should be postponed because negotiations are ongoing.
Item 10: auditors report:
Line item transfers
Report approved unanimously
Item 11: bills from Treasurer
Item 12: OMB report: none
Adjourn at 12:52 PM