COUNTY TO CLOSE FOR PRIMARY ELECTION

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County will close all County offices for the Primary election to be held March 1, 2016.  Although all local polling places are being consolidated into one site at the Courthouse, which means only the Courthouse needs to be closed to accommodate the election, Commissioners indicated that they needed to be fair to all employees.   The Commissioners then voted to allow the elected officials and department heads determine if their offices will be closed for the February 17, 2016 visit by Pope Francis to Juarez.  Linda McDonald, County Clerk, indicated her office will remain open on that day for early voting.   Early voting is scheduled for February 16-26, 2016 at the Clerk’s Office in the Courthouse.

Becky Brewster reported that the County has been awarded a Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs HOME grant for four homes.  The Court authorized the County Judge to sign the grant agreement and adopted TDHCA policies for purchasing and conflicts of interest.  The County is in the process of soliciting proposals for grant management services.

Becky Brewster, Director at the Rainbow Express Depot Day Care Center, reported that a state licensing inspection of the center found deficiencies in the playground maintenance which requires immediate attention in order to correct the deficiencies and maintain licensing.  The primary area of concern is the weathering of the wooden structures on the playground.  The County agreed to send maintenance crews with assistance from road and bridge crews to the day care center to begin the maintenance.

In other matters, the Culberson County Commissioner’s Court continues to be in the dark at the Culberson County Airport with the lights on the main runway still out of commission.  But there may be light at the end of the tunnel! Lupe Alvarado of Tri-Temp Electric reported on the progress being made in troubleshooting the many shorts in the electrical system which is over 23 years old.  Tri-Temp has used  four types of high-tech tracers to find the electrical shorts with little results.  Mr. Alvarado indicated that he is having better results with looking at the blueprints, extrapolating possible connection points and digging the line up to test it.  The lights on Runway 25 have been fixed, and the Court approved paying the $6800 invoice for those repairs.  However, the troubleshooting and repairs on Runway 21 will continue slowly but surely.  In the meantime, the lack of lights on the main runway continues to cause concern for pilots needing to land at night.

In other County business, the Court also

• Heard the monthly Agrilife Extension Office report. Lainie Koch reported on the Culberson County Livestock Show and 4-H Livestock show participation.

• Approved an agreement to enable credit card processing in the County Clerk’s Office.

• Approved the refund of erroneous payments and overpayments at the County Tax Office.

• Authorized the Judge to negotiate a one-year lease on the small hangar at the airport with Dr. Garner.

• Approved payment of the electric bill at the Boys and Girls Club and authorized the hiring of two part-time employees, noting that over 70 students have already signed up to participate in the afterschool programs once the facility is reopened.

• Agreed to purchase a water heater for the Culberson County Food Pantry.

• Conducted an Executive Session with no action following in open session.

• Discussed proposals for radios for first responders and for a telephone system for the courthouse.

• Heard reports on County Projects.

• Approved January payroll and expenses.