Commissioners approve new budget, generator upgrades

By Robert Morales —

Culberson County commissioners met for more than two hours on Monday
night and voted to renew the current health and employee benefit package
with TAC-HEBP and authorize the TCDRS retirement plan provision. 

David Gonzalez, Assistant Vice President for the investment-banking
firm of Estrada-Hinojosa, gave a presentation on what services the
company could offer the county in the way of financing for future
projects, such as a new jail. 

Commissioners voted to hire Estrada-Hinojosa Investment Bankers at no cost unless the company provides services for the county.

Lupe Alvarado then gave a status update on his conversation with Abel
Bustillos, chief engineer for El Paso Electric, on how to remedy the
continuing problem with the generator, transfer switch and wiring of the
911 system and jail.

Mr. Alvarado said that Mr. Bustillos concurred with his solution to
the problem which involved the purchase of a new generator and rewiring
of the jail and courthouse to avoid the new transfer switch from
“frying” again.  Commissioners decided to pay the $30,000 for the new
generator from unspent funds in the current budget and finance the
wiring from the new budget for a total cost of close to $40,000. Mr.
Alvarado said that he would begin work immediately because rainy weather
increased chances of an outage and potential damage to the transfer

Commissioners then authorized repairs to the H-VAC unit at the State
Clinic office and approved the utility permit request from Conoco for
laying down a temporary water line in the northern part of the county.

County Agent Lanie Koch gave her monthly report on 4-H activities and
promoted a program whereby citizens can take simple steps to save on
their water bill. County Clerk Linda McDonald reported on the Nov. 2,
2013 Constitutional Election and requested that commissioners complete
their appointment of election judges and alternates.

Commissioners then turned their attention to approving payment for
the RTC radio system for the Sheriff's Office, and adopted a policy on
base scale for county employees and discussed contract amendment
procedures for any county contracts.

County Auditor Mark Cabezuela then presented the 2013-2014 balanced
budget and the proposed tax rate of .69621, down from the 2012-2013 rate
of .72677.

Commissioners unanimously approved the budget and next year's tax
rate as presented before hearing reports from commissioners on county

Commissioner Gilda Morales reported that because of the excess
rainfall, a contractor had been hired to cut the tall vegetation at the
cemetery, but that while private plots were trimmed this time, the
county would only be responsible for mowing and trimming the public
pathways and land only. She urged citizens to utilize the many locals
that are willing to keep their loved ones' plots neat and trimmed at
minimal cost.


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