Auditor gives county “clean bill of health”
By Gilda Morales
Culberson County Commissioners’ Court met in regular session last Monday and interested citizens were able to able to livestream the meeting on Facebook for the first time with about 40 people watching.
Rick Knapp, from Knapp & Company, P.C., presented what he called a “boring” audit that was free from any major issues and showed the county to be in good financial health. The audit put to rest any concerns about the county’s finances.
Vicky Carrasco, a representative from Kleinman Consultants, PLLC, updated the Court on the 2017 Planning/Capacity Building Grant which can be used for mapping, county economic development, storm drainage, roads and transportation and recreation/open spaces. Ms. Carrasco reminded the Court that the current grant is for planning only and not for construction. The Court then unanimously agreed to accept the proposal and contract from Kleinman Consultants, PLLC, for engineering services
Commissioners then heard from Amber Carroll, with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, on the current projects underway with the local 4-H club, which now boasts 44 members. Carroll reported that there will be an upcoming Pathways to Productivity Forum, which will be held at the El Capitan Hotel Meeting Room on January 31 at 5:00 p.m.
Judge Urias gave an update on County Treasurer Adrian Hinojos’ efforts to modernize the office’s current systems, including being able to electronically create purchase orders and updating their software to email check stubs in an effort to go paperless. Commissioners unanimously approved a $1750 upgrade to the Treasurer’s software.
The Court then quickly approved three Utility Permit requests from Cimarex Energy Company and Eagle Claw Midstream Ventures, to cross county roads in the northeast part of the county. Commissioners also approved and authorized Judge Urias and Sheriff Carrillo to sign the Office of the Governor Public Safety Office, CEO/Law Enforcement and Assurances Form, which will make the Sheriff’s office eligible for criminal justice/Homeland Security grants until August 31, 2021.
Judge Urias then requested that the Court approve disbursements toward the County’s portion of an agreement between TxDOT and the County for airport renovations, including an AWAS system. Commissioners then heard from Summer Webb, manager of the Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District, on the current efforts to include all of the County’s participation in the district. The Court unanimously agreed to support a resolution toward that end and pledged their support.
Sheriff Oscar Carrillo reported that he had received five applications for the open positions for deputies to include replacing one position that became open when the current deputy was deployed, and two positions that will allow the Sheriff to provide coverage for the northern part of the county. Carrillo stated that he should be able to start providing coverage to the area within two weeks, and hopefully make a difference in the two extremely dangerous highways, 285 and 652. The Sheriff also reported that he believes that his department will once again be eligible for HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Traffic in Area) funding, with grants in the $25,000 range to be used for extra patrols, equipment, and other interdiction efforts.