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Commissioners Hear NRCS Report

Published Jan. 26, 2012 @ 6 a.m.

In a regular meeting of Commissioners’ Court Monday, January 23, Glenn Killough made a presentation covering the Natural Resources Conservation Service activities in 2011 and gave a report on the Garza Water and Soil Conversation District.  Among the information presented, Killough discussed the reduction in the salt cedar beetle in some areas but stated that the beetle is thriving at White River Lake.  He reported it would take about four years to eradicate the salt cedar trees.

Killough also reviewed the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) stating that sign up for the current cycle will end February 3, 2012.  EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. Owners of land in agricultural or forest production or persons who are engaged in livestock, agricultural or forest production on eligible land and that have a natural resource concern on the land may participate in EQIP.  (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/)

Killough also gave brief reports on the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Technical Assistance Provided program.  The court accepted the report as presented.

Tom Middleton introduced David Norman as a new member of the Board of Directors of the Garza Water and Soil Conversation District and expressed his appreciation for the court’s support.

Judge Norman explained that the White River Municipal Water District wants to retain the permit for the proposed Post Lake (dam and reservoir) and he encouraged the court to approve the resolution to renew the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) permit.  (TECQ was formerly named the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.)  The judge explained that the City of Post will lose water rights to water sent from the City of Slaton some time this spring.  Five counties, not including Lubbock, have an interest in the future Post Lake.  The judge explained that the resolution would show Garza County’s support of the White River Water District in retaining the permit.  The commissioners voted to approve the resolution.  

The judge also reported to the court that the Underground Water Development office was in need of a portable device to record information.  He asked Clerk Plummer if there was another laptop computer available from those purchased with HAVA grant funds that was not being used for election purposes.  Plummer reported that there is one laptop computer that commissioners previously approved for re-use elsewhere within the county government.  The court voted to approve the transfer of the laptop computer to the Underground Water Development office.

The commissioners voted to accept a preclearance letter from the U.S. Department of Justice for the new Garza County Election precincts.
 
Minutes from the January 9, 2012 regular meeting were approved as presented; there were no line item transfers or budget amendments; precinct and countywide accounts payable for January 10, 2012 through January 23, 2012 were approved.
 
The following items of information were brought before the Court as a written report or for discussion:  Treasurer; Budget Usage/Analysis; Tax Collector/Assessor; Justice of the Peace, 1; Justice of the Peace, 2; Political Redistricting Update; Garza County Certificates of Obligation Bond Fund, 2008; Garza County Public Facilities Board Bond Funds, 2005. 

Commissioner Brannon reported that the EMS Ambulance Board was trying to reorganize as a 501(c)3 so they can receive donations and accept Medicare and Medicaid.  The Ambulance Board would also like to hire a full time secretary-treasurer under the authority of Rodney Tidwell, Director.  Tidwell is scheduled to come before the Commissioners’ Court February 13 to further explain the proposed changes by the Ambulance Board.

Commissioner Benham advised the court that he does not want to advertise for bids for the John Deere 670A motor grader as was approved in the January 9, 2012 meeting.  Benham stated that he would rather pursue another option in selling the item and possibly may have more to sell than the motor grader.

Commissioner Morris reported that the elevator project continues to progress and is still on schedule to be completed by the end of January.

During the “Public Comment” portion of the commissioners’ meeting, Judge Norman presented information about courthouse projects to be considered by the court.  The remodel of the courtroom was discussed including chairs, carpet and a technology upgrade.  He also asked the court to consider moving the commissioners’ courtroom to the east side of the third floor which would give the public elevator access.  Four proposals from the engineering firm Parkhill, Smith and Cooper for a new heating and cooling project were presented.  The costs for this project range from $300,000 to $345,000.  These items were for discussion only and no action was taken.

The next Commissioners’ Court meeting is February 13, 2012.

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