County’s Food Pantry Grant on schedule

By Gilda Morales

Culberson County Commissioners’ Court met in regular session last Monday and heard from Becky Brewster, who is in charge of the 2018 TxCDBG Community Facilities Grant, which will fund the new Food Bank. Ms. Brewster asked that the Court approve April as Fair Housing Month as required by the grant as well as approve a Construction Non-Competitive Negotiation agreement. Brewster said that since there were no bids for the project after advertising twice for construction bids for the project, the agreement was necessary to hire a contractor. Brewster also advised Commissioners that the deadline for the 2020 TxCDBG Application cycle had been extended due to the Corona Virus restrictions.

In other matters, the Court agreed to extend the ground lease agreement between Culberson County and Gary Jackson at the airport for $225 per month to run for one year. Judge Urias reminded the Court that Mr. Jackson has been responsible for many improvements on the site and he keeps an eye on the airport from his rental.

Auditor Mark Cabezuela asked the Court to approve a contract with Video Magistrate, a software program requested by Justice of the Peace 1, Rita Carrasco. The program meets the requirements as set out by the current Corona Virus declarations and can be made available to 3 judges at $150 per JP per month. Cabezuela assured the Court that there are more than enough funds in the Justice Court Technology funds to pay for the software to use during the COVID-19 restrictions.

After a lengthy executive session, commissioners emerged, and a motion was made to “respond to the complaint filed by an employee of the Sheriff’s department as discussed with counsel in Executive Session.”

Under County Projects, Judge Urias reported that there are $3.9 million dollars in road repair funds available to Culberson County, and that he had been contacted by the firm of Allison-Bass who would take care of all the paperwork for $25,000, 90% which would be paid by the grant. Judge Urias stated that the money available for Culberson County exceeds the monies available to surrounding counties, including El Paso, Presidio and even Pecos counties, with Reeves county being the only county getting more. As attractive as the grant appears, Judge Urias warned that the fly in the ointment with the monies would be that the grant requires a large match from the County which could cost the County between 10 to 20%. Per Judge Urias, that would mean that the County would have to budget for anywhere from $390,000 to $800,000 to qualify for the grant which could provide much-needed paving and repairs on county roads, with none of the amounts in the match being able to come from “in kind” dollars.

The Court then heard that HHSC (Health and Human Services) had rented the county building at 704 West Broadway for their state clinic, but asked that the county provide extra cleaning and sanitizing services daily from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. After discussion, it was agreed to ask Dora Gomez or Martha Corrales, who already clean the offices, be contacted to see if either one of them would be interested in working the extra hours and sanitizing the offices.