At the July 12 meeting of the Blanco County Commissioners Court, a proposal to place a bust of Lyndon B. Johnson on the Courthouse lawn was unanimously rejected. The Commissioners apparently cooled to the project after seeing an artist’s rendition of the “the statue” which, in reality, is a large bust of LBJ that portrays the former president from mid chest to the top of his head.
The bust would measure approximately 18 feet high on a two-foot high base measuring from six to ten feet in diameter. “A bust may be a little large for the courthouse lawn,” said Commissioner Liesmann.
Sherry Jenkins representing the County Historical Commission said that some people love the idea of such a monument even though they might feel it inappropriate for the courthouse lawn. The latter feel that it would be more appropriate elsewhere such as in the grove of trees behind the new County Annex.
Judge Guthrie emphasized that this was not his project and that he neither supports it nor rejects it. He left it up to the commissioners to make the decision. He said that he was approached several weeks ago about the issue and was informed that donations had been pledged for the project. He expressed, however, that there are some issues in connection with it, not the least of which is obtaining the approval of the State Historical Commission in Austin before placing such a monument on the historic courthouse lawn.
Commissioner Liesmann questioned the maintenance of such a monument. “What about graffiti if placed behind the Annex? It might be better if placed in a more protected setting.” A gentleman in the audience asked if there would be a cost to the County to prepare the land. “I don’t know,” said the Judge. “There is no authorization at present to expend public funds on this other than to provide a place for it.”
From the audience, Tex Riley spoke in favor of the monument stating that “the more people come downtown the more viable our local businesses are. Considerations of maintenance, although appropriate, do they outweigh bringing people downtown? I recommend the appointment of a committee” he said, “to study the advantages and disadvantages of such a project and then to come back to the court with a reasonable proposal.”
“The time element is crucial,” said Judge Guthrie. “This project is to be done in the context of another project being done by the artist.” He indicated that the artist needed a decision prior to the end of the month if the project is to proceed.
A gentleman by the name of Elliott, who has a business across from the courthouse, spoke out in favor of placing the monument in the downtown area. Commissioner Granberg expressed concerns about the monument falling into disrepair as some previous signage in the area had. It was Elliott’s opinion that the monument would not fall into disrepair due to the material that would be used in its construction.
Mr. Liesmann moved to deny placing the monument on the courthouse lawn. “I cannot see the State Historical Commission approving this,” he said. The vote was unanimous in support of the motion.
In other business, commissioners extended the burn ban in the county until 9 a.m. on August 9.
The justice of the peace for Precinct One was authorized to spend $5,000 from his technology fund for the extraction of data from Tyler Incode which was the company that formerly handled the county’s case management system. Netdata is the new provider for the county’s case management program and needs to extract encoded and hidden files from Tyler Incode. The justice of the peace indicated that Netdata would eventually make up the $5,000 so that it would actually cost the county nothing.
Commissioners approved the imposition of optional fees for the calendar year 2012 as required by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles under Texas Transportation Code. The $10 license plate fee will not change from that being currently charged.
Commissioners authorized the tax resale of Lot 30, Block 2 in the Lake of the Hills Estates subdivision in the amount of $600. Judge Guthrie was authorized to sign the tax resale deed. “These are small grandfathered lots,” said Judge Guthrie. “Next door neighbors usually purchase them to add to the size of their lots and usually cost from $300 to $800.” He supported the move due to the fact that it would put the property back on the tax rolls for the county and for the school district.
The county judge was authorized to sign an interlocal agreement with CAPCOG for 911 answering equipment. This is a re-authorization for 2012 to 2013. It is funded by the 911 service.
A “housekeeping measure” for a surety bond for the county surveyor was approved by the commissioners.
A change order was approved to the Law Enforcement Center project to include the installation of a monopole in the amount of $67,429. This is to replace what is being currently used at the sheriff’s office. The free-standing 135-foot metal pole will give improved coverage for emergency services, the fire department and law enforcement. It will tie into emergency power so that it can continue to operate in the event of some natural disaster.
“This is a win-win situation,” said Judge Guthrie. “It is hard-wired straight into our communications systems. We have been working for months on this. It will include all new equipment which will serve as a backup in case the system at Mountain Top goes down.” At present EMS and the fire department are both paged via the antenna that sits atop the town water tower. It has tentatively been approved by the town of Johnson City.