County commissioners met Monday night for their regular monthly meeting and quickly heard from Auditor Mark Cabezuela who reported on compensatory time (also known as “comp timeâ€) accumulation in different departments.
Mr. Cabezuela stated that current recommendations are that employees take comp time off to prevent anyone from building up excessive numbers of hours.
At present, county employees are required to use their comp time hours before they can take their vacations, but commissioners urged Mr. Cabezuela to continue his auditing of comp time and to advise department administrators when any of their employees are nearing the 240-hour comp time maximum.
Commissioners then had a brisk discussion on a bill from R.T.C., a company that services the 911-repeater system, and a bill for repairs that was not authorized for payment. Commissioners voted unanimously to pay the bill, but Mr. Cabezuela was instructed to consult with County Attorney Steve Mitchell, to advise R.T.C. of county purchasing procedures and that any services provided without an official purchase order would not be paid.
Commissioners then approved the 2014 county clerk fees as presented by County Clerk Linda McDonald before acting on a suggestion by County Judge Carlos Urias to add Columbus Day and Texas Independence Day to the current county holidays. After a short discussion, the Court compromised and voted to add Texas Independence Day to the list of holidays observed by the county.
Mr. Urias then drew names from previously contacted volunteers to serve on the county salary grievance committee. The 2014 committee members include Janelle North, Jody Odelberg, Norma J. Carrasco and Ryan Martinez.
Mr. Urias reported that he had met with Pastor Tony McCreery, who heads the local food bank, to discuss renovating the old Big Bend Community Action building to house the food bank. Commissioners also discussed taking a road trip to the northern part of the county to take a first-hand look at oil and gas production projects as well as to check the viability of the levees.
Commissioners decided that this would be a good opportunity to evaluate county roads as part of reporting requirements for a $500,000 CERTZ grant from the state for county road repairs.
Mr. Urias also reported that the repairs to the runway lights at the airport would be completed pending final approval by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Commissioner Cornelio Garibay commented that he had received a phone call from the owner of the Houston Oilers who expressed safety concerns with the airport lighting system. More than 40 runway lights had to be repaired or replaced after a vandal ran over them with an ATV.
Commissioner Norman reported that the local daycare had contacted him to ask that the county make some
minor repairs and renovations to the building and playground. Commissioner Gilda Morales asked Mr. Urias about the status of the survey being done for acreage donated for the ATV grant that the Town of Van Horn is working on, and Judge Urias reported that the survey is under way and should be completed soon.
He reminded commissioners that the emergency sirens are tested every other Monday, and that he will provide information regarding how the sirens will be used in case of a real emergency. He added that he would provide instructions for residents in the city utility bills as well as in the local newspaper so that local residents would be informed.