July 22, 2008-At the Special meeting of the Commissioner’s Court, held in the Johnson City Courthouse at 9:00AM, Judge Guthrie received the authority to sign a contract for a previously discussed stairway addition to the courthouse, submitted by Fromberg Associates, Ltd.
The stairway addition will be built according to Historical Commission guidelines and is in response to concerns over potential building code violations due to periodic overcrowding, such as times of a jury selection process.
The Court also approved an inter-governmental purchase of a chip spreader for $35,000 from Walker County. Commissioner Sultemeier said “I’ve looked at four and this one was the best by far.”
County Clerk Karen Newman asked that the Court consider filling two vacancies in county election precincts for elections judges and alternate judges from a list submitted to the Court for approval. The elections will be for a two-year term, from August 1, 2008 through July 31, 2010. The request was approved.
Approval was given to a resolution to sell struck-off property in Lake of the Hills Estates, Lot 32, Block 10. Judge Guthrie has been given the authority to sign the deed.
“The Blanco School Board has already approved the sale and purchase,” commented Guthrie. Commissioner Paul Granberg mentioned that “a developer in South Dakota has bought a lot of the vacant property in the Lake of the Hills subdivision.”
Judge Guthrie read excerpts from a letter presented to the Court by the township of Alyssa, Texas, asking that Blanco County join with them in a formal resolution regarding user fees and taxes “being siphoned off to fund non-transportation projects in Texas.” The resolution proposes that the appropriation of all revenue generated from transportation-related fees be used only on transportation projects. The letter gives information regarding “$78 Billion that been collected from Texas state highway revenues, but over $14 billion of those funds that had been diverted into non-transportation projects.” Granberg made the motion to approve supporting the resolution, Woods seconded, with Sultemeier commenting that he “only wishes that the resolution as written (by the Alyssa group) was clearer on where this money is coming from and where it is going.” The motion was approved.
A new policy regarding Blanco County elected officials and Road and Bridge employees will be implemented now that the Court has determined that “no one will be allowed to take any equipment home with them unless under times of a predetermined extreme emergency.”
“It’s an abuse,” said Judge Guthrie, “and it needs to stop. There will be no exceptions.”
The Judge pointed out to the Court that they want to be certain they are “not in violation of any IRS policies regarding equipment use.” The policy will be applied to all elected officials and road employees across the board. An observer in the court from the Texas Road and Highways Department commented that other areas charge employees when they take equipment home with them, but the Blanco County Treasurer, another observer in the courtroom, became vocal saying “No” to that idea quite emphatically.
A tougher uniform policy for county employees will also go into effect after the Commissioners discussed IRS code during the court meeting.
“We need to have a policy in place conforming to the code or we’ll need to begin charging,” said Guthrie. It was resolved that Road and Bridge employees will be provided uniform pants, while the county will allow $100 per Sheriff’s deputy, as part of a fringe benefit package, for the purchase of uniforms.
The meeting adjourned at 9:27AM.