Blanco County Commissioners held a Regular Meeting on Tuesday, August 13, 2013. All four County Commissioners and Blanco County Judge Bill Guthrie met in the Commissioners Courtroom of the Blanco County Courthouse. The meeting convened at 9:00 a.m., and Blanco County Clerk Karen Newman read the minutes from the Special Meeting of July 23, 2013. Those minutes were approved by the Commissioners with Blanco County Commissioner Chris Liesmann making a motion for approval and County Commissioner John Wood seconding.
Karen Newman reported that the afternoon session of the Budget Workshop Meeting of July 23, 2013 opened at 1:00 p.m. and adjourned at 3:28 p.m. The session was attended by all Commissioners and Judge Guthrie.
Blanco County Commissioner Paul Granberg informed the Court that a portion of a Tract in Taylor Ranch Subdivision would be removed in order for a home to be built there. Commissioner Granberg told the Commissioners, “All paperwork is in order, fees are paid, and everything is ready to go.” Commissioner Granberg introduced real estate agent Garrett Trahan. Trahan told the Court, “The tract includes 35 acres and 13.4 acres will be retained and the buyer will build on the remainder.” Judge Guthrie summarized that the replat of Tract 22 would be known as Tracts 22A and 22B. The Judge asked if there were any questions, and there were none. Commissioner Granberg gave a motion for the approval of a replat of Tract 22 in the Taylor Ranch Subdivision with Commissioner Liesmann seconding.
Lifelong Blanco County resident Dale Sultemeier has moved to Gillespie County and tendered his resignation as County Surveyor. Judge Guthrie asked the Commissioners Court to accept the resignation of Dale Sultemeier, and Blanco County Commissioner James Sultemeier provided a motion for acceptance of the resignation. Commissioner Liesmann seconded the motion, and the motion carried.
Judge Guthrie asked the Court to consider acknowledgement of an administrative order designating the County Sheriff and the Precinct Constables as the responsible parties for submitting and reporting all security incidents involving court security that occurs in or around a building housing a court for which the judge serves as local administrative judge not later than the third business day after the date the incident occurred per Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 102.017(f).
Sheriff Bob Morgan addressed the Commissioners Court regarding this matter. According to Sheriff Morgan, “We have no problem with this but we need a report from Courthouse Security…we are short on Courthouse Security. We are doing Courthouse Security as a courtesy but require a boost to Courthouse Security…if there is an incident then give us a report so we can do this report.”
Commissioner Granberg asked if the money is collected for Courthouse Security, and Judge Guthrie answered that it is. Sheriff Morgan continued, “We have to get a report to do a report from Courthouse Security…we’ve been doing it, this should be the Court’s responsibility. I suggest we beef up Courthouse Security, because there is no Courthouse Security if the bailiff is tied up.” Sheriff Morgan reiterated, “I must make my point.”
At this time the discussion ended and Judge Guthrie said that further discussion would need to happen at a later date. The Commissioners acknowledged the administrative order with Commissioner Liesmann making a motion for acknowledgement and Commissioner Sultemeier seconding.
County Clerk Karen Newman asked the Court to consider consolidating voting precincts with one voting precinct in each Commissioner’s Precinct for the November 5, 2013 Constitutional Amendment Election. Newman said, “This action will cut costs because there will be less judges and clerks.” Judge Guthrie commented that voter turnout is likely to be small, and asked if there were any questions. There were no questions, and Commissioner Granberg made a motion to consolidate voting precincts with one voting precinct in each Commissioner’s Precinct for the November 5, 2013 election and Commissioner Wood seconded.
In other business County Clerk Karen Newman asked the Court to consider increasing the County Clerk’s Records Management and Preservation Fee from $5 to $10 as per HB 1513 effective September 1, 2013. The increase will apply to many fees, including recording, marriage, and plat fees. According to Newman, “The Preservation Fund helps us pay for our technology costs…this is not from the General Fund…and it is needed now.” Commissioner Sultemeier provided a motion to increase these fees and Commissioner Wood seconded; the Court approved this action.
Blanco County Commissioners were asked to approve the 2013-2014 Blanco County Budget. Judge Guthrie told the Court, “$72,269.00 additional total tax will be added to the new budget, and $93,175.00 new property will be added to the tax roll. The effective tax rate is 0.3574%, and the effective tax rate for 2012-2013 was 0.3556%. The new budget will be posted when it is approved.” Commissioner Wood gave a motion for approval of the 2013-2014 Blanco County Budget, Commissioner Granberg seconded, and the Court approved the 2013-2014 Blanco County Budget.
Judge Guthrie told the Commissioners Court there had been a meeting between Commissioner Liesmann and the Jail Commission a week or so ago. The Judge said to Sheriff Morgan, “Sheriff, you all were at the meeting and are aware the jail is understaffed with additional prisoners. We are to evaluate our liability and vote on out of county agreements.”
Sheriff Morgan addressed the Court and Judge Guthrie. “We are undergoing a staffing analysis as recommended by the Jail Commission. My jailers are stressed and tired, with no relief. We would like to consider the $40 per day agreements to house out of county prisoners but must consider safety and budget issues first. It was not our choice to bring the Judge and County Commissioners in to this…we were told to by the Jail Commission.”
Judge Guthrie agreed that the Court would take time to re-evaluate liability and responsibility in the operation of the Blanco County Jail Facility to ask for authorization to give a 60-day notice of termination to all counties with interlocal agreements for County Jail Functions because of the concern for the safety and well-being of our County employees.
Blanco County Commissioners were asked to consider the burn ban. Judge Guthrie commented, “It is getting awfully dry. I believe we are in the 700 range this morning.” He was told the range was 670, and Judge Guthrie continued, “We probably need to consider it [a burn ban]; we are sitting on a time bomb [the] map shows area of concern and high fire danger. What is the pleasure of the Court?” Commissioner Wood replied, “I make a motion to implement a burn ban until the next Regular Meeting.” Commissioner Wood’s motion was seconded by Commissioner Granberg. Judge Guthrie asked for additional comments, and there were none. The Commissioners approved the burn ban effective until the next Regular Meeting on September 10, 2013.
County Commissioners approved the August 2013 payroll in the amount of $254,726.94. A motion for approval was given by Commissioner Sultemeier and seconded by Commissioner Liesmann. Judge Guthrie asked if all official reports were in, and he was told that they were. The Court approved the official reports and Commissioner Wood provided a motion for approval with Commissioner Sultemeier seconding Commissioner Wood’s motion. The last item of business in the Open Session of the Regular Meeting was approval of the outstanding bills in the amount of $702,711.04. A motion to approve these bills was made by Commissioner Granberg and seconded by Commissioner Liesmann.
At this time the Court moved to an Executive Closed Session to be held pursuant to Section 551.071 of the Texas Government Code in order for the Commissioners Court to consult with and seek advice from attorney Charles R. Kimbrough pursuant to and within the attorney/client privilege and the confidential attorney/client relationship, as defined by the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas and other authority, regarding the following pending litigation: Cause No. CV07075, styled Tex Riley v. Commissioners Court of Blanco County, Texas, et al, in the District Court of Blanco County, Texas, currently on appeal in Cause No. 03-11-00276-CV, styled Tex Riley v. Commissioners Court of Blanco County, Texas, et al, in the Third Court of Appeals, Austin, Texas.
The Court returned to Open Session for discussion, consideration, or potential action to occur regarding the following pending litigation: Cause No. CV07075, styled Tex Riley v. Commissioners Court of Blanco County, Texas, et al, in the District Court of Blanco County, Texas, currently on appeal in Cause No. 03-11-00276-CV, styled Tex Riley v. Commissioners Court of Blanco County, Texas, et al, in the Third Court of Appeals, Austin Texas.
Commissioner Sultemeier presented a motion for the County to defend itself regarding all issues and to petition for review. Commissioner Granberg seconded the motion. At this time Commissioner Liesmann gave a motion for adjournment and Commissioner Wood seconded.