County to pursue Women Against Violence Project Grant

By Becky Brewster

Commissioner Gilda Morales briefed the Court on a “Women Against Violence Project” grant and received unanimous approval to pursue the funding opportunity through the Rio Grande Council of Governments.  The $39,000 grant would provide rent for a safe house for victims of domestic violence as well as education on such topics as restraining orders.  Judge Carlos Urias stated that the perception that “we are out in the sticks—it will never happen to us” is wrong, noting that the County has to do its part to help.

The Commissioners also heard comments from Gerald Marsh regarding the airport which he emphasized was a huge asset to the County.  He noted that the airport brings in people that will spend dollars in our community.  But, Marsh pointed out, the airport needs help.  He was especially concerned with the lack of hangars and reviewed Federal laws regarding the provision of hangars for airports that receive federal funding.  Marsh stated that aviation is his passion and is interested in organizing a flying club. He also suggested that the County consider hiring a retired aviator to live at and manage the airport.  The County acknowledged that the airport does need improvements.   It was noted that the TxDOT grants for some of these improvements are tentatively scheduled to start in the spring of 2018.

The County passed a resolution adopting various civil rights policies and plans as required for the current TxCDBG grant. The policies address such issues as citizen participation and grievance procedures, fair housing, non-discrimination and limited English proficiency accommodations.

Susie Hinojos, County Treasurer, provided the cost to reduce comp-time by 50% for all those employees who have over 200 hours of accumulated comp-time as requested at the last meeting.  She reported that the comptime payment for these four employees would total $7,473.61. This payment will create a budget shortfall in this line item a mere seven weeks into the new fiscal year.

Cody Davis reported that the lights on one of the fire trucks are malfunctioning.  He stressed the importance of safety to both the volunteers and the citizens, noting the truck is being used without lights at this time. Davis presented a quote from RTC, Inc. for $5,526.86 to replace the lights with an LED system which the Commissioners approved.

In other County business, the Court also

• Conducted an Executive Session with personnel action following in open session.

• Authorized the immediate hiring of a deputy to fill an upcoming vacancy due to resignation.

• Increased the salary of an employee in the Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved an interlocal agreement with HGACBuy for cooperative purchasing.

• Approved a contract with Joe A. Tarango for landscaping at the memorial monument.

• Approved guest list for the Culberson County appreciation dinner and gave the department heads discretion to close their offices at 4:00 p.m. on December 16 to prepare for the dinner.

• Scheduled the meeting to canvass votes for the General Election for November 21 at 6:00 p.m.

• Approved a tax sale request submitted by Velia Aguilar.

• Heard reports on County Projects.

• Approved monthly reports.

• Approved October payroll and expenses.