Blanco County News
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Commissioners Hear Presentation for County Transportation, Economic Development, Water Task Force
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 • Posted November 16, 2012

Blanco County Commissioners Court conducted a regular meeting on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. All four county commissioners were present. The meeting was a lengthy one, and there were a number of subjects presented for discussion.

Blanco County Judge Bill Guthrie asked the court to consider a resolution supporting participation in a Blanco County Water Supply Task Force. Judge Guthrie reminded the Court this matter had previously been discussed, and he introduced Mr. Ron Fieseler, General Manager of Blanco Pedernales Ground Water District. Fieseler introduced his associate, Rebecca Brown, and then Fieseler addressed the court. Fieseler explained he is part of a water planning process that is being undertaken in Regions L and K (LCRA and GBRA). Discussion calls for the movement of water into parts of Hays and Comal Counties, and possibly southern Blanco County. Fieseler indicated that “my board wants to participate in any plans for movement of water toward Blanco County... it would behoove us to task force options in Blanco County for this.” Fieseler would work as the representative for the Ground Water District, and coordinate efforts with municipalities to tie in Regions L and K.

Judge Guthrie commented it would be “important not to tie ourselves to one wagon... but to perhaps engage support for more than one project.” Commissioners James Sultemeier and Paul Granberg agreed to serve on the task force. Commissioner John Wood made a motion to support participation in a Blanco County Water Supply Task Force, and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Chris Liesmann.

The Commissioners Court had authorized participation for the Texas Medicaid 1115 Waiver Program during the March 27, 2012 meeting. Judge Guthrie told the Court “Blanco County is not an active part of that region. We are just a member until things change or there is county growth. However, the feds require these documents to be signed. The federal government has kept moving their deadline without setting a meeting date. We do not want to run out of time to approve the authorization to sign the required documents for this typical federal program.” At that point Commissioner Granberg presented a motion for authorization for the County Judge to sign the Texas Medicaid 1115 Waiver Program documents, and Commissioner Sultemeier seconded.

The Court voted to approve proclamation declaring November 2012 as Home Care and Hospice month, and this action required the signature of the County Judge. Commissioner Sultemeier presented a motion for approval of the proclamation and Commissioner Wood seconded the motion. County Commissioners also voted to continue participation in the CAPCOG Regional Emergency Notification System, and to authorize Judge Guthrie to sign the Letter of Agreement. According to Judge Guthrie, “we have been a part of this for a number of years and it is a very handy tool for us.” Commissioner Liesmann presented a motion for continued participation in the CAPCOG Regional Emergency Notification System and authorization for Judge Guthrie to sign the Letter of Agreement, and Commissioner Granberg seconded.

Judge Guthrie told the court Blanco County has been a member with the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases/Lubbock County for two years. The Judge said “he hoped we never have to use this,” but his signature was required for continued participation of Blanco County. Commissioner Wood provided a motion for authorization for the County Judge to sign the 2013 Interlocal Agreement with the Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases/Lubbock County. Commissioner Granberg seconded the motion.

Constable Ronnie Steubing of Precinct 4 asked the Court to consider authorization to add a Reserve Deputy Constable to Precinct 4. Steubing indicated that “adding a deputy to assist with day to day job duties for the Constable and especially for the transition period of a new Constable would be very helpful.” Commissioner Wood asked if the job would be a typical non-paying job with no expense to the County. Steubing answered the reserve deputy would “pay his own bond, ride in my vehicle or share it, and could serve papers for the County.”

Commissioner Sultemeier asked about the issue of liability insurance, and Steubing answered that he was not sure if the County had a blanket policy for this. Mr. Steubing elaborated that “two heads are better than one,” and that a reserve deputy would be well utilized. Further discussion followed regarding the workload of the office, and Judge Guthrie summarized his position by saying, “I have nothing against anyone here... but why start a new liability issue for the County? If we add a reserve deputy in Precinct 4, we will be opening the possibility of this action in other Precincts also.” After the discussion ended there was no action taken on authorization to add a Reserve Deputy Constable to Precinct 4.

The Court approved authorization for the County Judge to sign an acknowledgement letter from the City of Johnson City regarding parking changes along Avenue G next to the Blanco County Jail. Commissioner Sultemeier presented a motion for the Court to accept, and Commissioner Liesmann seconded this motion. Judge Guthrie told the Court that this pertains to the “safe schools program in Johnson City. Johnson City is part of a grant program and has received federal money for a pedestrian routing of a two mile radius of the Johnson City Elementary and Middle Schools. The plan calls for changing the current angle parking to curb L parking at this site, and it is only on the jail side, and not across the street.” Judge Guthrie recommended supporting the project because it helps to meet safety needs for kids.

Other actions taken by the Court included authorization for the County Judge to sign the FY 2012 Chapter 59 Asset Forfeiture Report presented by the 33rd and 424th District Attorney’s Office and consideration of Senate Bill 18 compliance response by Blanco County, including authorization for Judge Guthrie to sign the response and direct its timely transmittal to the Texas Comptroller as required by statute.

Judge Guthrie said the response was “quite lengthy, and our County Attorney has looked at it, compiled it, and it is ready to go... there are 74 different authorizations to sign. This pertains to eminent domain and we have never had to use it. However, we shouldn’t give up our authority.” The response was due soon, and Commissioner Liesmann presented a motion for Judge Guthrie to sign the response and direct the timely transmittal to the Texas Comptroller in accordance with the statue. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sultemeier.

A lengthy discussion took place during the Special meeting on October 23, 2012, regarding payroll matters for Blanco County timesheets. Following the Special meeting, the County Judge, Sheriff, Treasurer, and Auditor met, and, according to Judge Guthrie, “all understand one another and where we are to go.” The Court was asked to consider, and approved amendments to the Blanco County Personnel Policy reflecting changes to work week and time sheets. Commissioner Wood asked for a motion to approve these amendments, and Commissioner Sultemeier seconded the changes.

The Blanco County Auditor presented additional payroll matters, and these were ratified by the Court. The payroll matters included: adopting a standard Blanco County timesheet, establishing payroll timesheet “cut off” dates, requiring signatures on timesheets, and establishing a work period for overtime calculations which includes the exemption for Law Enforcement under Section 7(k) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Commissioner Sultemeier presented a motion to ratify the payroll matters, and Commissioner Granberg seconded the action.

The Court approved the November 2012 payroll in the amount of $251,053.62. A motion to approve this action was made by Commissioner Sultemeier and seconded by Commissioner Liesmann. Official reports were also approved by the Court, and Commissioner Wood provided a motion to accept and Commissioner Granberg seconded. Outstanding bills in the amount of $89,963.52 were approved for payment by the Court, with Commissioners Liesmann and Sultemeier providing first and second motions, respectively. Commissioner Liesmann noted a correction to the TSC bill.

The final order of business was a presentation by CAPCOG representatives to discuss plans for the Blanco County Transportation and Economic Development Plan. Betty Voight and David Fowler addressed the Court on proposed planning to include coordination with Blanco County, TXDOT, and CAPCOG. Fowler told the Court Blanco County has been chosen for this planning because “you are the only county without a stated plan and eligible to do a major thoroughfare plan.”

Fowler discussed the transportation components of the plan. Fowler said planning would take place “between business leaders, county officials, school districts, and utility officials. Two public meetings would be held, and the first meeting would discuss existing conditions in the county. The second meeting would focus on proposed improvements. Critical items for discussion would include county population, demographics, environment, regional road system and county interface, any commuting problems, road network conditions of county, accident-prone areas, safety hazards, evacuation routes, traffic conflicts, and truck routes. Moreover, a survey would be developed with information gathered from these meetings.

Voight spoke to the Court regarding the economic aspects of the planning. According to Voight, planning would focus on financing, the best way to link the downtown areas with other areas of the county, parks and surrounding areas and maximizing those resources, and the impact on the County. A State of County Report would be formulated, and this report would address educational attainment, sales tax receipts, employment ratios, and important trends in the County.

Voight asked the Court if there were any questions. Commissioner Sultemeier commented that he had been hearing “lots of talk, but no action” regarding activity by TXDOT. Voight assured the Court of new management who was ready to work with Blanco County. Concerned citizen Cross asked if planning would include the impact on law enforcement and emergency services, and Voight replied “until there is a committed project there can be no planning for impact to those issues... however, we do look at the growth rate for future trends.”

Judge Guthrie thanked Voight and Fowler for their time, noting “this is a valuable service that won’t cost us any money.” At this time the meeting adjourned.

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