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Garza County News

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Commissioners' Court Begins Budget Process

Published Aug. 19, 2012 @ 10:39 p.m.

Garza County Commissioners’ Court met in a regular meeting August 13 and also began the process of reviewing the county budget in preparation of setting the 2012-2013 budget.

The meeting began with a request from Post-Garza County Emergency Medical Service regarding the 2012-2013 county budget.  Director Rodney Tidwell informed the court that the local EMS needs to provide 24 hour/7 day service.  He explained that the part-time volunteers who operate the service are having difficulty getting off from their jobs to answer EMS calls.  Tidwell suggested that funding be created to pay personnel hourly wages for daytime coverage since those hours are difficult to cover with volunteers.  The cost could be as much as $145,000 divided between three entities at $48,333 each. The entities are Garza County, the City of Post and Garza County Health Care District.  Tidwell also indicated that there is a possibility he can trade two vehicles currently owned by EMS for a new ambulance.  He reported that EMS calls have increased from 488 last year to 568 during the same period this year.

TDA Disaster Grant

Kelly Davila of the South Plains Association of Governments (SPAG) gave a presentation regarding the Texas Department of Agriculture Disaster grant.  Davila explained why the county decided to pursue a disaster grant for water:  six of the seven possible entities involved in the White River Municipal Water District voted to participate in the grant.  The City of Post did not.  Each $350,000 grant is to benefit White River Municipal Water District with the rehabilitation of wells and the development of new wells.  Applications have been
submitted and if funds for the grants are still available, approval could take up to seven weeks.  If approved, Garza County can choose whether or not to enter into a contract with the Texas Department of Agriculture.

General Election

At the meeting the court considered agenda items relating to the General Election in November.  According to the Texas Election Code, the county judge is required to order the election at least 62 days before the election
date.  This item is for public notice and no court action required.  The court appointed the presiding and alternate judges for the General Election as recommended by the county party chairmen. Members of the Central Count Station for the election were also appointed as recommended by the county party chairmen.  The court was also advised that the County Election Board consisting of the county clerk, county judge, sheriff, voter registrar and both county party chairs will meet at 4:00 p.m., September 13.

Other Business

Clerk Plummer made a report regarding the Department of Public Safety County Combined Completeness Percentage.  He explained that the DPS is insisting the percentage of disposed cases be at least 90% in order for counties to qualify for grant funding.  The latest figures show Garza County is now at 89% and has until the end of August to reach 90%. No action taken.

The court considered and approved the payment of payment the annual property insurance coverage premium payments for the risk management poolthrough the Texas Association of Counties.  The coverage is for automobile physical damage, automobile liability, general liability, public officials’ liability and law enforcement liability.  The total annual premium amount is $41,761.

A request for the extension of paid time off for a Constable 1 employee until the next Commissioners’ Court meeting on August 27 was approved.  The court also approved a change in the wording of residential permit applications by adding the sentence:  “These requirements apply only to sub-divisions.”  An agreement between West Texas Centers (MHMR) and Garza County Commissioners’ Court for mental health and intellectual and developmental disability services.

Judge Norman reported that a proposed blue print for the courthouse heating and cooling project has been received. The engineer’s estimate is $400,000. The Judge also reported that there are no funds available
at this time.  Commissioner Ted Brannon stated that he is in favor of the project but would like the county to have funds to make a down payment. He wants to table this issue until others are stable Brannon
also stated that he is concerned about the Dalby Unit’s water supply after the City of Post de-annexes the property as they have discussed.  Judge Norman said that the project is not a critical issue although he is concerned for the comfort of the people who work at the courthouse.  Commissioner McDaniel expressed his concern about the county taking on more debt.

Minutes from the July 23 regular meeting, two special meetings held on July 24 and a special meeting August 1 were approved.  The following items were accepted by the Court as a written report or for discussion:  Clerk; Tax Collector/Assessor; Senior Transportation; Justice of the Peace, 1; Justice of the Peace, 2; AgriLife Extension-Jones; AgriLife Extension-McDonald; Official Returns from the July 31, 2012 Primary Runoff Elections; Garza County Combination Tax and Revenue Certificates of Obligation, Series 2008 Bond, Reserve and Construction Funds; Garza County Public Facility Corporation Taxable Project Revenue RefundingBonds, Series 2012 Bond, Reserve and Project Funds; Rental, Operating, Surplus,Cost of Issuance and Escrow Accounts; Garza County Combination Public Facility Corporation Project Revenue Refunding Bond Funds, Series 2005.  Precinct and countywide accounts payable for July 24 through August 13 were approved. 
Ten line item transfers were approved by the court.

Budget Workshop

After a break in proceedings at Noon, the Commissioners’ Court got back to work again at 4:00 p.m. beginning a page by page review of the county budget. Tax Collector Bush informed the court of the preliminary tax revenue figures:  Total Certified appraised values: $969,698,155 (Up $1.21 million); effective tax rate: .33005; Rollback rate: .35645 will generate $2,938,150 from ad valorem taxes.  The meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m. 

The next budget meeting is August 21 at 9:00 a.m.  The next regular meeting is August 27, 2012 also at 9:00 a.m.

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