Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court Special Meeting Wed 09/05/2018, 1:30 PM, County Judge's office, Marfa
Brenda Bentley, Jose Cabezuela, Loretta Vasquez, Eloy Aranda, Judge Cinderela Guevara.
County Atty Rod Ponton also present at table.
Meeting convened at 1:30 PM
Item 14: budget discussion will take a long time, says Judge. Would like to see a general agreement on raises or employees and/or elected officials. Must publish any raises for officials in the newspaper. Auditor has prepared some worksheets about where we are in the budget.
Citizen Comments: None
Announcements from County Judge.
Meeting at St George at 3:00 about US 67 corridor. Judge will attend, commissioners may as well.
Will Hurd will be here at Dairy Queen on the 15th.
Received a letter from Sen Rodriguez urging County to assist water district.
Next week is regular meeting, will be in Marfa.
Commissioners: no announcements
Approve payroll: postponed until timesheets provided
Item: designating former duties of OMB office to other offices. Vasquez says he envisions some balance of the Treasurer's office and the Auditors office taking on those responsibilities.
Purchase orders and requisitions, grant management, bidding processes, inventory, project management. Judge thought Vasquez would have an outline of what to propose. Vasquez says no, but he would like to talk to to Auditor and Treasurer to see what they think should happen.
Bentley thinks this is doable. Asks auditor if she is willing to do some of this. Bentley says inventory should be in Treasurer's office, purchasing and requisitions in Patty's office. Bidding process for projects?
Project management? Judge describes what happened with BigBend Telephone project and Katie's role. Point of contact for County.
Talk about whether Judge has to sign every Purchase order. At this point, yes, according to statute. Differing opinions about AG opinion on this issue...
Judge says that maybe County Atty can really delve into the details.
Bentley asks if Treasurer and Auditor have decided how best to split the duties?
Frances Garcia says that they have been talking about this, but nothing firm.
Auditor says that bidding and purchasing should stay together and Auditor is willing to take this on. Inventory for Treasurer, since she goes to Presidio pretty often.
Auditor says dept heads should and can be involved in project management.
Aranda says that we have grant administration doing these jobs already when we contract with Grantworks, etc.
Auditor says that's not necessarily the case. Some are done internally such as Stonegarden, RAMP grants for airport, etc.
Aranda says he has not thought much about this.
Judge says that a Point of Contact for the County will be absolutely necessary once we get Stonegarden going again.
Bentley wants to give this issue more time. Aranda and Vasquez agree. Aranda repeats that he wants to talk more with everybody and figure out what to do, get it right.
Vasquez moves to postpone this item until further information can be gathered.
Second by Cabezuela. Unanimous.
Back to payroll item. Frances Garcia presents time sheets and general information.
Payroll postponed again until 2:37 Pm. Pick up there after item 13.
Item 8: cage order and estimate for new exhaust fans at Presidio County Jail. Very important item. Judge wrote a letter about this. Ponton says there will be a meeting next week. Ponton says that there is an argument about the scope of the contractors bid. Ventilation system included in the bid package.
Ponton says this should be part of their responsibility to install the new fans, they claim it is not.
Sam Cobos has been talking to them about this.
Jail cannot reopen to federal prisoners until this is fixed.
Jail employee Mark says that fans were working before the new air conditioners were installed. Some of the fans were not working properly. Company did try to integrate the system but there were problems. The main jail panel should have been replaced, everything is 25 years old. He recommends replacing all the old stuff so we can get twenty more years out of the jail. The jail takes in about $150,000 per month.
Sheriff says that the jail will not score well regardless of whether the work is scheduled or not. This is a danger to employees and inmates.
Sheriff says that the longer we wait and postpone the longer it will take. This increases liabilities.
Judge is worried about litigation with the contractor. Where has the project manager, McKinstree, been?
Sam Cobos says that they recommended to form and application for this project.
We added an attachment to it telling the contractor we needed everything necessary to pas jail standards for job to be complete, as part of bid. Smoke evacuation systems included.
Discussion with contractor and project manager, engineering firm next Thursday. Sam sent Meeting invitations to sheriff, jail admin, county Atty, Treasurer and Auditor. Situation will be resolved after whatever mediation is had to reach an agreement.
Control panel for jail door locks will also be discussed.
Cobos thinks the electrical contractor that was brought in did an insufficient job on reinstalling the electrical .
Research as to whether TAC insurance may cover some of this expense. Would push forward installation of repaired or new systems.
Sam wants commissioners to approve an installation of new fan system, but not approve to pay.
Judge is worried they will not finish the project. Ponton says that we have not yet paid them their balance, they have an incentive to finish the project and get paid.
Judge is worried about jail repairs being held up based on negotiation issues.
Aranda agrees that we need new equipment, everything should be new.
We need to do this to benefit the next twenty five years. We are losing money now, lets go ahead and do this.
Total would bring the cost of retrofitting the jail up to just under a million dollars.
Auditor says that it could be done; it will reduce our reserve balance. County Atty says that the ventilation system must be fixed, issue is only who will pay for it. Agenda item is exhaust fans only.
Motion by Bentley to authorize change order to fix fans and authorize county Atty to negotiate who will pay for it. Unanimous.
Item about redesignation of County domain name. Transferred to new host management company. New paperwork.
Judge motions to approve
Second by Aranda
Item about Ameritrust Vision plan. Item was meant to be for meeting on 11th. Mindy Seahorn will attend. Postponed until the 11th. This item and next about TAC benefits.
Item 12: about central control panel at jail. Jail control system with lifetime warranty. Updates to software continuous. $61430.84
Grant funding looked into but not enough time to wait for a grant, it looks like.
Judge wonders if emergency grant funding from COG might be available.
No, grant would come through the State. No time for waiting. Possible insurance coverage on this.
Item on agenda is to exempt from formal bidding process.
Over 50,000 and this does qualify as an emergency expenditure. Jail only has one door for exit right now without power locks.
Ponton recommends approving item 12. Aranda moves to approve .
Second by Judge . Unanimous.
Item 13: RFP for bidding for jail control system. Item unnecessary since exemption was approved.
No action on item 13
Back to Payroll: reviewing time sheets. Five minute break while Judge checks on some time sheet anomalies.
Judge does not have additional questions on payroll.
Bentley motions to accept.
Approved with two small changes.
Item 14: Auditors report:
Line item transfers, budget amendments. Skip to 15 as Auditor is busy.
Line item transfers: road and bridge, gas air compressors.
District court, courthouse fuel costs, golf course utility bills, clerk and tax office for Canon copiers leases
County agent travel expenses.
County Atty furniture for file cabinet and printer.
ATT bills still coming to some offices.
Communications costs are causing many depts to go over their budgets.
Budget amendments: grant income and expense for grant not previously In budget
Jail panel and vent fans projects. Budget them in case we need to pay all costs.
Must have amendment done in case a purchase order is needed. Emergency expenditure.
Line item transfers and budget amendments accepted in two motions and two votes unanimously.
Emergency expenditure approved.
Judge motions to postpone auditor dept analysis report.
Back to Item 14: Again, approve bills.
Question about fuel usage in road and bridge dept.
Aranda says that free material from TXDOT had to hauled. Long distances, many trips. All logged in books.
Bentley motions to approve. Second by Aranda. Unanimous
Auditors report on budget:
Patty Roach has presentation regarding different scenarios for pay increases for employees, elected officials, related projections.
Four different funds:
Maintenance and Operations: shortfall of monies by 166,466.
Costs of special requests :
Special funds: jail, airports , county Atty PTD fund
Options are cut budget, raise taxes, or spend reserves.
Attached sheet with numbers.
Three percent raise proposed.
Attached sheet: budget increases and decreases attached.
Temp labor must be processed through payroll from now on. Adds expense.
Decrease in expense for OMB office not included in these numbers. Subtract 108,000. Deficit in existing budget without raises about 59,000.
Judge says that she has heard from sources that we have gotten the full funding for the airport grant, saving County 330,000.
Fiscal year anomalies on jail HVAC project have changed funding dates for project. Still unknown.
Judge says that she believes that commissioners may want to ask the cities to bill us per run for EMS services.
Judge Beebe asks if reimbursements for insurance collections would be considered in reimbursements.
Discussions about this, plus Sheriff brings up monies City of Marfa did not pay for Sheriff's services after March of 2017. Services provided through August according to Sheriff. Judge says there will be litigation on this matter.
Sheriff says they need to pay what they owe.
Aranda says the City of Presidio is paying money owed back, but the City of Presidio does not have that kind of money. As long as they keep up with payments on tax collections owed they'll be fine. Why not ask City of Marfa to pay us over time.
Aranda says we should talk to the city about payment.
Ponton says we have the authority to other services we pay city for, give city credit.
Judge would like to have a conference call between Judge, Atty Jim Allison, and County Atty. Ponton would rather deduct.
Judge would not like to deduct the money from the Fire dept if we are going to deduct.
Aranda says that at the end we are hurting ourselves is we sue or withhold payments. We should just meet with them and talk about it.
Judge agrees. We could put it back on the agenda.
Judge writes down, says she can draft a letter, ask for a meeting, inform City of potential deductions.
Judge also says that City of Marfa wants to bill the County for City of Presidio EMS runs. Questions why County would have to work out that with the City of Presidio.
Talk about what happens with double payments from County and insurance companies. County will try one last time to negotiate with City prior to budget.
City of Presidio EMS services? Joe Portillo asks for fair treatment. Wants an ESD.
Last year $100,000 from County.
Talk about ESD.
Aranda complains that after all these years we still don't have proper numbers from Presidio EMS regarding costs, reimbursements.
Bentley says perhaps we should leave the numbers as they are from last year's budget.
Presidio has three times the mileage for runs as Marfa, 36,000/100,000 is pretty equitable, according to Katie Sanchez. Works out to cover the same service, different costs.
Judge brings up trash trailer for Shafter, pay when Ruben brings a trailer, cash payments accepted.
Auditor reminds Judge the County is already in a deficit budget.
Aranda brings up 3% increase versus an increase of the same amount for each employee. He likes giving every employee the exact same monetary raise, rather than a percentage.
Judge says that part time workers tend to benefit more in that scenario. Made some part time workers get larger raised than full time workers.
Auditor recommends pro rating a raise based on hours worked.
909 for full timers, elected officials, overtime would count as well. 20 hour week person $468, deputies $1008.
Vasquez is interested in possible longevity pay.
Auditor brought a list of special raises for individuals who have worked for County for years.
Attached sheet details proposals.
Auditor cautions against giving raises out of reserves, continuous funding, continuous costs.
Virgie asks about a salary survey, she thought that was going to happen, if this proposal is the case, she would like raises for her staff as well.
Attached sheet with summary of dept increases including raises.
Commissioners look at detail of Underground Water District budget
Bentley says she would not have an issue with not giving raises to elected official and dept heads. Says we are still playing catch up with employees and other items. Vasquez says hitting reserves every time is a problem. Tends to agree with Bentley.
Judge says that she thinks everyone should get a raise, but that the raises that have been asked for are commensurate with the jobs that are being done. Lots of underpaid staff in very important positions.
Savings of about $18,000 .
Vasquez would like to give employees a raise for sure, thinks not giving one to dept heads and elected officials is the right idea at this point.
Questions about airport worker in Marfa major raise. Dept head Chase is requesting lowering his own pay. Commissioners want more information on what Rudy's additional duties would be. Fuel sales incentive pay already exists.
Incoming commissioner Buddy Knight says that if airport manager is not there employees will have to deal with NOTAMS and pilots and hangar owners. Lots of interaction with outside agencies. Need to be careful with this, find out what is proposed to happen here.
Judge asks Sheriff if he would consider raising employees to $15.50/hr. Sheriff says every bit helps. Jailers have a very tough job. Makes money for a County, has no idea where it went. Millions of dollars. Jail produces more money than any dept in the County. Retention has been a major problem since County dropped wages from $18/hour to $13/hour.
Judge says we have the best benefits of any County. She doesn't know how anyone can look at that and not see the benefit.
Sheriff says that he wants to make sure that his requested raises get in.
Virgie says that she is ok with no raise for herself if she can get something for her employees. Aranda agrees.
27,288.00 saved if no dept heads and elected officials get three percent raise.
If no raise for elected officials, no advertising needed.
Aranda wants to send a memo to all dept heads about cutting wherever possible.
Judge will give any cuts for depts to auditor before next Wed. Raises for employee proposals will be further hashed out.
Elections expenses for Clerks offices this year were high. Affected her budget as she needed many line item transfers. She is asking for same numbers this year as last year.
Adjourned at five o five pm.