Monday, September 17, 2018

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Meeting Tues Sept 11 2018, Marfa

Presidio County Commissioners Court Regular Meeting Tuesday Sept 11, 2018, 9:30 AM, Marfa

All Commissioners present other than Loretto Vasquez
Also present: County Atty Rod Ponton

I entered the meeting at 10:20 AM, had office work to do beforehand.

Item 7: Mindy Seahorn presents health and eye insurance options for County. Commissioners vote to continue eye care insurance
Regular TAC health insurance. This year went down one percent for our County. No surplus distributions this year but small distribution from third year of 2015 spread out distribution.
Dental coverage was approved in July by Court as was health insurance.

TAC changing pharmacy benefit manager. Prescription management new provider is Navitas. Mail order supplies available.
Phone visits with doctors available.
Chronic pain, back issues treatment plan available. Similar to chiropractic care.
Arasti (sp?)
Judge thanks Mindy for coming from San Angelo to present.
Judge asks her to come ack to present to employees in. Presidio. She , they will schedule

Item 10: Presidio County Appraisal District budget.
Five minute break at 10:38 AM.
Reconvene at 10:45

Chief appraiser Cynthia Ramirez presents
Naomi Francis, office clerk and Samantha Salgado and Annabelle Pena also in attendance.
Talk about tests and employees paying for their own tests.
Ponton asks how many employees, five, only one works in Presidio. Rod says that having another employee in Presidio could help raise values in Presidio. City administrator Joe Portillo believes that many structures are not on the books, many undervalued and have not been surveyed for appraisals in quite some time. Says the City of Presidio relies on property tax more than other entities.
Ramirez says she is not aware of any undervalued properties, would like to be informed if there are any.
There is a new reappraisal plan in the works for the County. Judge will elaborate on it next week.
Presidio values this year decreased. She says she has no sales information, needs some.
Aranda agrees with Joe Portillo’s opinion about the undervalued or missing assets in Presidio.
Judge says that laborers in Presidio are hard to get, they want the same rates as they can get in Marfa.
Budget of 475,054 last year. Had a surplus, now can be 511,000. This year 491,000.
Asks for raises, increase in phone costs. Switched from ATT to Big Bend Telephone. More expensive but more secure, following hack earlier this year. Better security, faster speeds. Additional security contract with outside provider for IT service. 16,000 additional costs associated with this.
Increased audit costs, increase in mileage.
Judge motions to approve budget.
Aranda seconds. Unanimous.

Item 11:  Presidio County 4H consignment Auction participation.
City of Presidio asked to see if we could host an event like this to raise money for 4H activities.
Ten percent collections to host. City of Presidio has agreed to participate, now asking if County would like to participate as well.
Oct 18,19 receiving items in Presidio city lot. Sale is Oct 20th.
Presidio 4H is small but growing.
Essentially it’s a surplus sale for government agencies and also for individuals. Much like a citywide garage sale.
Judge wonders if commissioners know of things they could declare surplus.
Ponton says it’s legal if we sell things and donate the ten percent back to 4H.
This can be worked out.
Reba Griggs, 4H Director says it would be a great help to 4H.
Commissioners want to help, will study it and get back to Reba.

Item 12:
Auditor’s line item transfers:
Elections costs still being worked out, supplies for Nov election being ordered now.
Extra utility costs for golf course.
Communications costs for various departments.
Not addressed: money for reimbursements for dispatch training. Upcoming two day class in Alpine.
Five minute break while Auditor investigated whether this has been done. Break at 11:11 AM.
Reconvene at 11:19 AM.
Dispatch item added, 250 dollars for travel for dispatch class.
Approved unanimously.

Budget presentation by Auditor:
Salary increase for employees and/or elected officials and effect on overall budget.
Handout for commissioners updating overall budget position.
Deleted OMB budget for approx 108,000. Added $1,500 for code enforcement in Marfa area.
Judge sent email to Dept heads to cut budgets. Sheriffs office only respondent. Said they could reduce fuel costs to help cover raise for Shanna Elmore, admin assistant.
Handout describes shortfalls, etc.
Airports has some more requests.
County Atty PTD fund is adequate to cover requests. Dedicated funds.
Special raises requests handout offered.
Aranda says that before we get to raises other than salaried employees we are down $192,000. Yes,  before special raises, elected officials.
Auditor looked at individual budgets over the last two years and is pointing out unused funds in certain budgets. Not necessarily recommending cutting, but just presenting. These are all small potential cuts.
Judge says she can cut some of her memberships and dues budget by $700.
Elections: there will be two elections this year. No reductions.
Virgie says she doesn’t see it being fair to cut her budget or any department’s budget to fund special raises for other departments.
Bentley says it’s the whole budget that’s short.
Talk about cutting furniture budget in Clerk’s office.
Slightly reduce travel costs on Clerk’s office.
Commissioners budget: Bentley says we were missing a commissioner for most of the year. Two new commissioners including incoming Buddy Knight and Jose Cabezuela needing training.
“Other services” in non-departmental. Auditor says that it’s been kind of a contingency fund, approx $20,000 in there for surprise expenses.
Judge recommends cutting, auditor would like to leave about ten thousand in there because of gas card and copier expenses. Each year about $27,000.
Leave 35,000 in there total.
Water district budget: judge would maybe like to cut some of the training costs.
Judge will get with Trey Gerfers and Carolyn Macartney about this before next week and get details.
JP Presidio: has uniforms in budget. Bentley says she does not feel comfortable with cuts. County policy is uniforms only for law enforcement and road and bridge. Commissioners vote to cut uniforms.
JP budget: looking to possibly cut office supplies and travel. Beebe says he is late turning in receipts, did it yesterday and is over budget for both categories, funded two out of five trainings completely out of his own pocket.
County Atty: pre-trial diversion fees cover much of costs. Rod would like to move fuel costs to travel and training for County Atty assoc training.
Salary for secretary in Presidio is paid for by PTD funds, Rod ants to give same three percent raise as all employees.
Treasurer: Cheryl will need to attend training this year as she missed last year.
District Atty budget will remain the same.
OMB eliminated
Tax Assessor: expenses are down from last year. Bentley thinks office expense line item could go down a bit. Natalia Williams would like to leave it here it is, some deferred expenses. Furniture and equipment lines scrutinized. She is worried about needing new computers.
County Courthouse: office expense for Sam. Judge wants a wall or at least a conference table under capital expense.
County Annex: cut some in office expense. Cut $300.
Operating supplies: lower to $2000.
Commissioners going line by line, cutting here and there
Talk about Sam Cobos using outside contractors for jobs that could be done in house or by him.

(I definitely do not like this approach, as necessary as it may seem, since it punishes Dept heads for staying within their budgets while outside entities the County also gives funding to do not receive the same treatment at all)

Sheriff wants to reduce fuel budget to fund special raise for Shanna Elmore.
$3600 from fuel to salaries.
Operating supplies: Sheriff has not used much of the $1800 requested.
Capital expenses, auditor unsure of what it is for. Cameras, Sheriff says, and also needing a computer for South County office.
Education and travel: funded by LEOS funds and general.
County agent needs a new computer, her computer is ten years old.
Emergency Management: maintenance on the radio communications repeaters. Lease agreement for Chinati repeater is $7200. Backup generator panels for Redford. Reverse 911 system.
Repairs and maintenance for truck was $6000. $1600 already incurred.
DPS looking for phone bill payment. $800. County owned phone.
Judge wants to find out what other counties give to DPS.
Road and bridge Dept: operating supplies up. Ruben wants to bring equipment up to minimum standards. Everything is very old. New used motor grader is budgeted at $17,100.
New S county yard pipe expense etc for gate, fence.
No TXDOT materials available right now or vehicles.
Aranda is looking out for good used equipment.
Dump truck needed. Found one for $28,000 (used) Old one is from the 80’s.
2018 GMC Sierra for $30,000.
Sam Cobos: commissioners have some questions for him.

Larry Cordova from Alpine Memorial Funeral Home brings commissioners court pizzas in honor of 9/11,
Break for lunch at 1:16 PM. All employees at the courthouse who wanted to eat got plenty of food. Very nice gesture!

Reconvene meeting at 1:45

Budget report tabled.

Treasurer’s report: Frances Garcia. Vacation owed$42,361
Comp 90,000 plus change.
Overtime, are we going there? Judge says she thinks we should go to overtime and not face the liabilities of comp time.
Sheriff says Sept 28 meeting with Stonegarden grant admin and grants should start, funding overtime, sometime in October or just afterwards.
Hopefully Stonegarden can cover all Sheriff office overtime for deputies.
Overtime at jail can’t be helped. Judge needs to take to Sheriff about a particular deputy with regard to Stonegarden overtime.
Big Bend Telephone costs are high.
Shanna Elmore asks for a copy of the bills. Missing dispatch reimbursement bills. Not in bills, will have to wait until next week.
Airport hangar leases: still not sorted out. Could put grant funding in jeopardy.
Talk about what to do.
Commissioners approve reimbursements to dispatch workers for training once amounts are presented. Done. Amounts are located and presented, approved. $794.10
Treasurer will not pay Big bend Telephone bill until judge talks to them about billing.
Treasurers report approved unanimously

Back to budget talks at 2:04 PM.
Sam Cobos is here to answer questions about Redford Center.
Repairs for Redford: windows now open and close, serve as emergency exits. Repairs and upgrades to falling apart front fence, basketball court and lighting poles converting to shade. Outdoor benches for outdoor seating.
Shade structure most of costs in budget for repairs.
Cattle come in to graze through the back fence, which has fallen down.
Bentley wants to know if this will be done in house. Yes, Sam says.
Aranda reiterates how they would like to see most work done in house.
Sammy says that now that facilities are up to basic standards, we can do work in house and not hire so many contractors.
Vizcaino Park repair budget: clubhouse at golf course has leak problem with front part off roof. Needs to be raised and redone to a iPod water leakage inside. Fence from gate at park will be partially replaced. Using some TXDOT supplied posts all the way to golf course.
Trees to be added at Vizcaino.
No dump truck available for baseball field and road maintenance.
Court decided the gate closing apparatus can wait. Adjust scheduling for employees to close the gate.
Aranda wants to set specific hours for the park rather than closing at sunset possibly. Discussion about employees driving their own cars.
Courthouse repairs: HVAC maintenance and repairs, three pressure tanks, two boilers need replacement or repair.
Fourteen air handlers in building, usually two go out per year.
County Annex: $11,500 budgeted for repairs. Conversion of building C ( food pantry) conversion from Evap air to refrigerated air is $7000. Not necessary but definitely would benefit the building for meetings or offices.
Bentley wants to cut.
Four units in buildings A and B. Other air conditioners there are twelve years old, slightly newer for two.
Jail and Dispatch:
Jailers and cooks have potential special raises.
Not a lot of questions about this. About retention, says Aranda.
Also asking for a new van. Capital outlay is really high because of the HVAC project not being complete in this fiscal year, plus additional work to jail.
Bentley asks if when jail is finished will federal prisoners come back. Yes, sheriff said he spoke to marshals yesterday. Main panel replacement needs to happen first. Waiting to see when County can pay, need to take action. Will be on agenda next week.
Dispatch budget: contracts with Presidio and Marfa have been renewed.
$18,000 per year per entity.
In the past most of the dispatch expenses came out of Sheriffs office budget. Last year dispatch budget was $500, this year more realistic at $5000.
Airports: omnibus funding approved as far as we know. Paper reported it, have heard reliable rumors otherwise.
Reduced overall budget by $57,000 today.
Stonegarden funds could reduce Sheriffs Office budgeted labor costs by some amount, but not major. Just added hours for border duty deputies. Very strict now.

Judge motions to postpone all reports until next week.
Adjourn at 2:45

Next week’s meeting Wed Sept 19th at County Annex in Presidio at 9:30

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