By Becky Brewster
Culberson County Commissioners met in regular session on January 14, 2020. The Court approved the Statement of Grant Award No. 212-SG-320B from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. Representatives from the Public Defender’s Office, James McDermott and Paul Chambers, were on hand to answer any questions regarding the grant. This grant will provide funds for a Mental Health Social Worker for the five-county area including Culberson, Brewster, Presidio, Hudspeth and Jeff Davis Counties. The County, as fiscal agent for the grant, then approved interlocal agreements with each county regarding the Far West Texas Regional Public Defender’s Office. The Mental Health Public Defender Improvement Grant Programs encourages counties with existing public defender programs to create or expand mental health public defender services. Budget amendments were also approved to change the budget from $408,800 to $593,794 to accommodate this grant.
The Commissioners also adopted the Culberson County Plan funded by a TDA Planning Grant. The plan encompasses six areas: Basic Planning Activities; Economic Development; Street and Road System; Storm Drainage System; Recreation and Open Space; Capital Improvements Program. The plan is posted online, and a public hearing was held on December 30, 2019 to obtain comments on the plan.
The Court adopted the 207K exemption policy for law enforcement officers which bases overtime pay on a two week period rather than the standard 40-hour workweek. This will be effective January 16, 2020. This is intended to give the Sheriff more flexibility in scheduling and reducing the accumulation of comp time.
County Clerk Linda McDonald reported that she will be hosting a “mock election” on January 24, 2020 to introduce the community to the new election equipment.
The Court then held an executive session. No action was taken.
In other County business, the Court also:
Heard a report from the new County extension agent regarding the upcoming Livestock Show.
Approved access by the Clerk’s Office to security cameras.
Approved continuing education hours for the Tax Assessor’s Office.
Approved the cremation of an unclaimed body that has been stored at a mortuary in El Paso.
Approved the payment of various construction services.
Made no changes to the scope of work previously approved for the repairs to the Financial Center wall.
Agreed to provide office space for the 2020 census worker.
Approved the 2020 Holiday Schedule which includes 19 days.
Approved monthly reports.
Heard reports on various County Projects.
Approved monthly expenses and payroll.