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Garza County Extends Burn Ban For 90 Days

No burning before August 28

Published May 26, 2011 @ 1:42 p.m.

In light of the continuing threat of wildfires in the area, there was no hesitation on the part of the Garza County Commissioners when they recently considered an extension of the county burn ban. During the regular Commissioners’ Court meeting on May 23, 2011, the commissioners voted to extend the ban for 90 days until August 28. The ban includes the stipulation that any party wanting to burn during this time period must receive permission from Garza County Judge Lee Norman. The code prohibiting outdoor burning in its entirety is available at www.garzacounty.net.

Following is a summary:

• A person violates the order if he burns any combustible material outside of an enclosure which serves to contain all flames and/or sparks, or orders such burning by others. Said enclosure to be enclosed on all sides and having a cover. The cover is to be of a mesh construction having holes small enough to prevent most debris from escaping the enclosure during burning.

• A person violates the order if while burning he does not possess means for extinguishing a fire, including an amount of water or fire extinguisher device that would be reasonable to extinguish a fire that is a foreseeable result of the intended burning.

• Upon notification of suspected outdoor burning, the local fire department shall respond to the scene and take immediate measures to contain and/or extinguish the fire.

• As soon as possible, the local Fire Marshal and/or a duly commissioned peace officer shall be sent to the scene to investigate the nature of the fire.

• An offense based on a violation of the order is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.00.

The court discussed appointing a citizens’ advisory committee to address the issue of redistricting. One option for forming the committee would be for each commissioner to nominate three residents from their respective precincts and the judge to nominate three people at large to assist in the revision of county political boundaries. The commissioners voted to table the item until the next meeting.

Compliance with Local Government Codes 113.001, 113.003, 115.0035 concerning county funds under the authority of the county treasurer was discussed. Judge Norman explained that the treasurer is the chief custodian of all county funds and is to oversee all bank accounts. Sheriff Laws discussed the sheriff’s department seizure fund and stated that the bank statements for that fund are shared with the treasurer. The commissioners voted to order compliance of Local Government Codes 113.001, 113.003 and 115.0035.

The court discussed inter-local agreements with the City of Post. Judge Norman stated there was no change in the amount the City of Post proposed to contribute for law enforcement in the new budget. That amount is $300,000. The commissioners voted to table the item.

The commissioners voted to approve a proclamation supporting the construction of a memorial honoring veterans of the Vietnam War on the State Capital grounds in Austin.

The possible increase of fees and approval of tax certificates in the tax office was on the agenda for this meeting; however, Tax Collector/Assessor Judy Bush was not present so no action taken.

In other business, the Commissioners approved the minutes from the May 9, 2011 regular meeting and precinct and countywide accounts payable for May 10, 2011 through May 23, 2011 were approved. There were no line item transfers and budget amendment requests to consider. The following items of information were brought before the Court either as written report or for discussion: District/County Clerk; Tax Collector/Assessor; AgriLife Extension/Greg Jones; AgriLife Extension/Nancy McDonald; Garza Wildlife; Damage Association and Emergency Management report on recent fires. In addition, Judge Norman addressed the following: State House District Redistricting Plan, Private Road Work by Certain Counties from Texas Constitution, TCEQ Water Report and Texas Jail Standards letter addressing the issue of Garza County being out of compliance with inmate population. Sheriff Cliff Laws refuted the claims in the letter from jail standards. He explained recent situations and the population formula used by jail standards. The jail administrator must report the population daily to the jail standards office in Austin. On 5/23/2011, there were 65 inmates, just over half (36) are Garza County inmates. To help improve communication regarding the jail, the court asked the sheriff for monthly reports from the jail administrator.

The County offices will be closed Monday, May 31 for the Memorial Day holiday. The next regular County Commissioners’ Court meeting is June 13, 2011.

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