The Blanco County Commissioners Court held a Regular Meeting on March 12, 2013. The Regular Meeting began at 9:00 am, and all four Commissioners were present. The Court heard and approved the minutes from the February 26, 2013 Special Meeting and Special Workshop Meeting.
Commissioner Chris Liesmann asked the Court to consider authorization for County Judge Bill Guthrie to sign an interlocal agreement with the City of Austin for communication interoperability. According to Commissioner Liesmann, “The new trunked system is a message site that will allow all sites to talk to each other, for instance Johnson City to Austin. Currently there are ten sites in a three county area. The three county areas include Blanco, Burnett, and Llano. Different counties use different communication systems, and the trunked system will mean that they can talk interoperably.” Commissioner Liesmann presented a motion in favor of the authorization, and Commissioner Paul Granberg seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Blanco County Commissioners discussed action on the countywide burn ban. The burn ban had been reinstated during the previous Commissioners Court meeting of February 26th, 2013. Commissioner John Wood said, “We had three quarters inches of rain on Saturday. The sun came out on Sunday and the wind blew about 30 miles per hour. I think we need to put it back on.” Judge Guthrie commented that, “We are in the 400 index and it looks like most of the surrounding counties are under burn ban.” Commissioner Liesmann said, “Gillespie, Burnett, and Llano Counties are not under burn ban.”
Judge Guthrie went on to say there is a new Burn Ban Order presented by the Blanco County Attorney. According to Judge Guthrie, “The new order contains some changes to procedure…there is a different outlook, and this method is used by some of the surrounding counties. I would recommend using the new order if the burn ban is put back on.”
Commissioner Wood made a motion to put the burn ban back on, and in accordance with the new order. The burn ban would be in effect until the next Commissioners Court meeting to be held on March 26, 2013. Commissioner James Sultemeier provided a second motion.
Commissioner Liesmann spoke up and said, “We’ve had some rain and there is still a chance of rain. I recommend leaving it off.” At that point Don Casey of Precinct Three directed a question to the Court. Mr. Casey asked, “Is there an exemption for agricultural burning under the new rules, for harvesting crops and prickly pears?” Judge Guthrie answered, “Not burning coastal pastures but yes, there is an exemption for harvesting crops and prickly pear. It is the position of the Court and my opinion that prickly pear is harvesting crops.”
After discussion of the burn ban ended the vote was tied two to two. Commissioners Wood and Sultemeier were in favor of reinstating the burn ban, and Commissioners Liesmann and Granberg were against putting the burn ban back on. Judge Guthrie told the Court he would cast his vote in favor of lifting the burn ban because of the prospects for rain. The burn ban would remain off until the next meeting of the Commissioners Court, scheduled for March 26, 2013.
Judge Guthrie asked the Court to consider acceptance of funds for the purchase and maintenance of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) for the Annex building. The Judge told the Court that the funds had been collected and presented by Ann Hall and Elaine Cross. Accordingly Commissioner Granberg gave a motion for acceptance of the donations and Commissioner Sultemeier seconded the motion made by Commissioner Granberg. The Court voted to accept the donations.
The Commissioners Court heard discussion for authorization for County Clerk Karen Newman to sign an agreement with NetData to begin processing credit card payments. According to Judge Guthrie, “The County Clerk and County Court have been using Data for some months with good results…the tax office uses it also but with a different system.” Commissioner Sultemeier asked if this would include the same set-up as the County, and Judge Guthrie answered, “Essentially…it is the same company, so basically the same.” The authorization was approved by the Court, with Commissioner Sultemeier presenting a motion for approval and Commissioner Granberg providing a second motion.
County Commissioners approved the March 2013 payroll in the amount of $253,498.61. Commissioner Wood presented a motion for approval of the payroll and Commissioner Granberg provided a second motion. Official reports were also approved by the Court, with Commissioner Liesmann giving a motion for approval of the reports and Commissioner Sultemeier seconding the motion.
The Court approved the outstanding bills in the amount of $111,910.76. Before approval of the bills Judge Guthrie asked if there were any questions for the Auditor or Treasurer. Commissioner Wood asked a question about payment to the Texas Wildlife Management fund, and he was told the payment was made for two months. There were no further questions, and Commissioner Liesmann made a motion to approve the outstanding bills and Commissioner Wood seconded the motion. At this time the Regular Meeting was adjourned.