Blanco County News
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Commissioners Put Burn Ban on Until Next Regular Meeting
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 • Posted February 27, 2014

The Blanco County Commissioners Court held a Special meeting on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting was held in the Commissioners Courtroom of the Blanco County Courthouse in Johnson City, Texas. All four Blanco County Commissioners and Blanco County Judge Bill Guthrie attended the meeting. Blanco County Commissioner John Wood opened the meeting by leading the Court in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Blanco County Clerk Karen Newman read the minutes of the Regular meeting held on February 11, 2014. There were no corrections or additions to the minutes. Blanco County Commissioner Chris Liesmann gave a motion to accept the minutes, and Commissioner Paul Granberg seconded the motion.

Commissioner Granberg told the Court the County attorney had reviewed the contract with KC Engineering, Inc. for engineering services in relation to the bridge project in Precinct Four. The amount of the contract is $63,670. According to Commissioner Granberg, “there were a few small changes but the contract has been done to his [attorney’s] satisfaction. The agreement includes GO testing and all engineering and inspection services. This contract will allow us to get started and take bids.” Judge Guthrie added, “we are committed up to this point but are not obligated to continue if the funds are not there when the bids are in.” Commissioner Granberg agreed with Judge Guthrie’s assessment. A motion to authorize the County Judge to sign a contract with KC Engineering, Inc. was made by Commissioner Granberg and seconded by Commissioner Wood. This motion carried.

The Court voted to acknowledge completion of the required 20 hours of continuing education for Blanco County Clerk Karen Newman for 2013. Judge Guthrie noted that the certified copies had been received, and Commissioner James Sultemeier provided a motion to acknowledge. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Wood and approved by the Court.

Surveyor Don Sherman gave a short presentation to the Court regarding replat of Lot 70 and Reserve F in the Ranches of Brushy Top subdivision. Mr. Sherman told the Court there are no lenders, cash, or plans to build at this time. He said the owners want to combine the areas into one lot. Commissioner Wood asked if the property had been platted. Mr. Sherman said that it [platting] had been done. Commissioner Wood gave a motion to accept the replat of Lot 70 and Reserve F in the Ranches of Brushy Top subdivision, and Commissioner Sultemeier seconded the motion. There was no further discussion and this motion carried.

Dave Roberts gave an update regarding the preliminary plat for the Summit Springs subdivision located partially in Precinct Three. According to Mr. Roberts, “the development includes 860 acres and 75-80% of the project is in Burnet County. Water wells are located in Burnet County. We are providing water to Blanco County as well. The 238 lots are located at County Road 401 at the Blanco and Burnet county lines. We plan to expand the low water crossing at the county meeting point. This plat is approved and recorded in Burnet County.”

Commissioner Liesmann asked if there is public water supply for the 238 lots and Commissioner Granberg asked if the water was good quality. Mr. Roberts told them that current readings are at 260-270 GPM, much more than what is needed. Mr. Roberts added that work is being done to get the water storage capacity to public standard capacity. The Commissioners were told the fire hydrant is located in Burnet County and that the water may be used by Blanco County residents too. The water would be hooked to a reserve tank. Commissioner Liesmann made a motion to accept the preliminary plat for the Summit Springs subdivision and Commissioner Granberg seconded. No further discussion followed, and the motion carried.

The Commissioners Court went on to consider the burn ban. Commissioner Wood opened the discussion by saying, “we have an 80% chance of rain tomorrow.” (Amid chuckles from the group). “However, I recommend we put it [burn ban] on until the next meeting. Maybe it’ll rain if we put it on.” (More chuckles). Judge Guthrie asked if the burn ban would be on until the next Regular meeting, and Commissioner Wood replied, “yes, until March 11th.” Commissioner Liesmann added that the KDI is at 200, and Commissioner Granberg said, “we can lift it [burn ban] if it rains.” No discussion followed Commissioner Wood’s motion to put the burn ban on, and Commissioner Granberg seconded the motion. The action was approved by the Court.

The Commissioners approved the annual racial profiling report from the Sheriff’s office in accordance with Senate Bill 1074. Commissioner Sultemeier gave the motion for approval with Commissioner Granberg seconding. There was no discussion and the motion carried.

Commissioners considered an amendment to the Blanco Personnel Policy that would designate Blanco County Jail staff as law enforcement under the 207(k) exemption outlined under the Fair Labor Standards Act, to be paid on an hourly basis on a 14 day work period. Judge Guthrie said the amendment would help the Sheriff with scheduling employee overtime and comp time. Sheriff Bob Morgan agreed the amendment would make it easier to develop a schedule over a 14 day time frame that will reduce the overtime and comp time burden on the budget. Judge Guthrie asked when the new policy would be implemented. Sheriff Morgan told the Court the new policy would be effective beginning February 26, 2014. Commissioner Liesmann provided a motion to approve the amendment and Commissioner Sultemeier seconded. No discussion followed and the action passed.

Sheriff Morgan said that maintenance of the Commissary service is time consuming for jail staff and for the County Auditor. Sheriff Morgan added, “we are under no obligation to provide this [Commissary services] and are looking into other possibilities. It would be beneficial to the staff to eliminate this and it is a liability to keep up…all will benefit.” Commissioner Sultemeier asked what other possibilities could be implemented. Sheriff Morgan answered, “some kind of commissary, relatives could bring in some things, including clothes. Local grocery stores might participate. We would do away with Commissary sales. This is not profitable and is of no benefit. We have a low jail population now…[a good] time to do it.” Commissioner Wood asked when the Commissary Service Agreement would need to be terminated. Sheriff Morgan answered, "the termination should be done by March 31st. Lone Star Commissary must be given 30 days’ notice or there is an automatic renewal." Commissioner Wood gave a motion to terminate the clause under the Commissary Service Agreement and Commissioner Granberg seconded. The motion was approved by the Court.

The Commissioners Court approved the following bids for items listed on GovDeals: Northern Lights diesel generator: $560.00, Onan propane generator: $520.00, Kohler generator: $372.00, Onan generator #123268: $181.00, Kohler generator: $167.00, Onan generator #123266: $101.00, Rheem water heater: $52.01, Dog run with roof: $167.00, propane tank #44668: $160.00, and propane tank #7-4278: $156.00. Commissioner Wood made the motion for approval of these items with Commissioner Liesmann seconding. Authorization to dispose of the following items was also given: a 2-seat lobby chair, 3-seat lobby chair, and sofa. These items did not receive any bids on GovDeals. A motion to approve the disposal was given by Commissioner Sultemeier and seconded by Commissioner Liesmann. No discussion followed and the motions carried.

Judge Guthrie shared a Proclamation with the Court. The Proclamation read as follows: “WHEREAS, the Texas Treasure Business Award Program recognizes the accomplishments of Texas businesses that have provided employment opportunities and support to the state’s economy for at least 50 years, and WHEREAS, the program pays tribute to the state’s well-established businesses and their exceptional historical contributions toward the state’s economic growth and prosperity, and WHEREAS, Whittington’s Jerky was established in 1962, and continues to operate the same type of business as it did when it was established, and WHEREAS, Whittington’s Jerky has continued to operate as an independent, for-profit business, and WHEREAS, Whittington’s Jerky has maintained a good business relationship with Blanco County and the State of Texas, NOW, THEREFORE, I, Bill Guthrie, County Judge of Blanco County, Texas do hereby proclaim Thursday, February 27, 2014 as Whittington’s Jerky Day in Blanco County and urge all the citizens of Blanco County to congratulate Whittington’s Jerky on their unique honor.”

After reading the proclamation Judge Guthrie told the Court, “I hope you concur.” Commissioner Liesmann made a motion to accept the proclamation for Whittington’s Jerky on their 50 plus years of continuous business in Blanco County. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Sultemeier and approved by the Commissioners Court.

Commissioners also approved the outstanding bills for $111,661.39. A motion for approval was given by Commissioner Granberg and seconded by Commissioner Sultemeier. After a brief recess the meeting resumed again. An article containing coverage regarding the second portion of the meeting will be published next week.

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