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Commissioners' Court Meeting – August 22

Extension of Burn Ban Approved

Published Aug. 29, 2011 @ 11:02 p.m.

During the regular meeting of the Garza County Commissioners’ Court Monday, August 22 Ben Edwards, M.D. appeared before the Court to report that the medical officer for the jail has retired.  Edwards explained that the medical officer is the doctor’s “eyes and ears” at the jail and he suggested that the replacement for this position be a trained medical person with at least a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) certification.  Edwards feels that a person with some medical training will be better equipped to make decisions regarding the seriousness of an inmate’s condition and appropriate treatment thus possibly decreasing a liability exposure for both the doctor and the county.  Edwards also informed the Court that the hourly wage for such an individual would probably be between $18 and $25.  The medical officer is also required to be certified as a jailer.  The Commissioners agreed to consider Dr. Edwards’ suggestions.  Judge Norman explained that annual contract with Dr. Edwards for medical services at the jail automatically renewed as of August 1, 2011.

The Commissioners voted to extend the order for Garza County Prohibition of Outdoor Burning for an additional 90 days until November 23, 2011.  The ban carries the stipulation that any party wanting to burn during this time period must receive consent from Judge Norman.  (The Burn Ban in its entirety can be found at http://www.garzacounty.net/)

The State Automatic Victims Notification system (SAVNS) Maintenance Grant Contract between the Office of the Attorney General and Garza County for the state fiscal year 2012 was approved by the commissioners.  This program maintains Texas counties in a statewide system that provides relevant offender release information; court settings or events; promotes public safety; and supports the rights of victims of crime. The cost of the program for Garza County (approximately $6,000 annually) is paid by the Texas Attorney General’s office.

The Court considered the renewal of the Texas County and District Retirement System (TCDRS) program for year 2012.  Currently the county’s match rate is 7.88%. The new rate will be 8.02%. The program includes a group term life policy and the approximate cost for the county is $223,781.  The commissioners voted to renew the agreement.

District/County Clerk Jim Plummer presented an Order for the Consolidation of Election Precinct Boxes to one polling place for the constitutional amendment election.  He explained that it is customary for Garza County to consolidate the voting precincts to one location due to the historically low voter turnout (approximately 200) for Constitutional Amendment elections.  The commissioners approved the consolidation of the polling places into one location for Election Day, November 8, 2011.

 In other business minutes from the August 5, 2011 special meeting; August 8, 2011 regular meeting; August 9, 2011 special meeting; August 12, 2011 special meeting; and August 15, 2011 special meeting were approved as presented.  Precinct and countywide accounts payable for August 9, 2011 through August 22, 2011 were approved as presented and seven line item transfers/budget amendment requests were also approved.

The following items of information were accepted by the Court as a written report or for discussion:  letter: Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Officer standards and Education, Urgent Action Notice; letter: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Suspension of Permitted State Surface Water diversions in the Brazos River Basin; letter: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Suspension of Permitted State Surface Water diversions in the San Saba River Watershed of the Colorado River Basin; public hearing for redistricting political lines is set for Tuesday, August 23.  Also, Judge Norman reported that a paving contractor will determine work to be done on county owned surfaces and submit a plan.  Jail administrator Michael Copeland reported today’s inmate count is 59, thirty are Garza County inmates.

After a short recess, the commissioners resumed the meeting with further consideration and discussion of the 2011/2012 budget.  The updated general fund tax rate used is .37809, just below the rollback rate of .37810.  This would generate $2,716,639 for the general fund. The proposed total ad valorem tax rate of $0.37809 per $100.00 property valuation was approved by the Court.

The following schedule was set for the remainder of the budget process:

9/2/11:   First public hearing at Trailblazers, 2:00 p.m.

9/8/11:   Second public hearing at Trailblazers, 6:00 p.m.

9/16/11: Adopt the budget and set the tax rate, County Courthouse, 9:00 a.m.

The next regular Commissioners’ Court meeting is September 12, 2011.

 

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