February 26, 2008 – A full agenda of the Blanco County Commissioner’s Court at a Special Meeting began with the authorization for the County Judge to sign the extension of the Interlocal Agreement for Lease Space with the Texas Forest Service for one year, continued with the consideration of on-site book scanning in the County Clerk’s office with US Imaging, discussion regarding the Blanco County 150th celebration events planned throughout the 2008 year, and ended after the discussion of a resolution approving a new Blanco County Appraisal District office facility.
Two appointments to the North Blanco Emergency Services District Board, Ed Hullum and Jerry Wenmohs, (both residents of Precinct 3), were approved by the Court. Acknowledgments of continuing education hours for District Clerk Debby Elsbury and County Clerk Karen Newman were also considered during the Court meeting.
With regard to the consideration of the Blanco County Appraisal District’s purchase or construction of a new office building, Commissioner Sultemeir and Judge Guthrie voiced concerns regarding the unclear nature of a letter addressed to the Court, with ensuing discussion addressing their questions.
A representative of the Appraisal District’s Board said, “Our board approved the use of up to $275,000. We have $75,000 to put down on the building, leaving us with a $200,000 mortgage at approximately 4% financing.”
Further describing how “We’ll need at least 2500 square feet,” she said “I don’t believe it will cost us the full $275,000. Once we have all the approvals, we can move forward with bids. This is more affordable than buying an existing building that would need extensive renovations. We’re looking at a simple building with concrete floors and stone construction.” Guthrie asked “So we can expect an increase of our apportion money?”
“Yes, a small increase,” the Appraisal District representative said, “but not what we’d have if we were renting. We have to do something. The monthly payment will not increase, but we will have utilities.”
Guthrie voiced a concern that the agreement is “open ended as far as what maintenance and utilities are concerned.”
After further discussion, the motion carried.
Sherry Jenkins and Rebecca Howerton, Co-Directors of the Blanco County Sesquicentennial Celebration, addressed the Court beginning by thanking the Commissioners and the Judge for being at the dedication of the new Visitor’s Center. The Judge appeared at the ceremony in full 1800s period attire in honor of the occasion.
Jenkins described to the Court original artwork, created by Blanco artist Suzette Connell, as Howerton handed out a copy of the work. “It incorporates the barbed wire, the lavender, the wildflowers, and the traditional Stetson hat; all those things our county is famous for,” explained Jenkins.
As Jenkins described, this artwork will be used in a variety of promotions throughout the 2008 year, on billboards, flyers, brochures, in advertising, etc., and will be available for the public to purchase on items such as commemorative mason jar mugs, (with the slogan “Celebrating 150 Years of Friendly” imprinted on the opposite side of the artwork), note cards, and posters. Jenkins distributed schedules of the year’s upcoming events.
“Every community is going to have an open house celebration,” Jenkins enthusiastically said as she described a variety of fun activities going on throughout the community. “We will have things all year long.”
Jenkins asked for direction from the Court on how to best “go about asking for donations.” Johnson City Sign Company has made a sign for Howerton advertising events. Newspaper advertising is the largest cost of advertising. Four websites in Blanco will be used for promotions, as well as a variety of websites in Johnson City. Texas Parks and Wildlife will be handing out schedules for the events.
“The idea is to bring in as many people as possible into Blanco County for the year,” said Howerton, with Jenkins adding that “We’ve tried to tie our events to things already planned.” A sign-up sheet for updates and website information was passed around the Court, as Jenkins said “and then I’ve gotcha.”
Jenkins reminded the Court that “Blanco County is growing. Many of us remember the old days when we had the pie suppers and such. We want to empower newcomers to bring today’s history on into tomorrow.”
The presentation ended on a high note with applause from all in attendance.
The court adjourned.