County commissioners go over cleaning and sanitation needs

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in regular session on July 13, 2020. The Commissioners were presented with a proposal from A&A Chemical for a housekeeping station, a fogging machine for disinfection, hand sanitizer dispensers, and various supplies. The Court noted that the future of maintaining public properties to include additional sanitation and disinfection will most likely be an ongoing practice even after the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. This acquisition will be considered during the budget process. Judge Carlos Urias then informed the Court that the County Barn has been shut down for at least two weeks due to a possible COVID-19 case of one of the employees.

Com. Gilda Morales reported that there are issues with transfers of medical patients to El Paso, noting that she has been unable to coordinate transfers for the last few days. As an example, she reported that on one day, Del Sol had 109 patients in the waiting room with no beds available. In line with this, she reported that one fixed wing ambulance service wouldn’t come to Van Horn because they insisted the airport is closed. Judge Urias will provide Morales with a letter that confirms that the airport is operational to circumvent this situation in the future. The Court also approved the lease of a generator at the airport for the new Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) while El Paso Electric gets the approval for the permanent power source and electric pole from the FAA. This will allow the AWOS to be put in service immediately. The AWOS is a fully configurable airport weather system that provides continuous, real time information and reports on airport weather conditions.

The Court approved the installation of cameras at the northern part of the airport property to monitor illegal activities, including dumping. The system will cost $6,757.00. The cameras will be able to be monitored via cell phone and computer.

The Van Horn Economic Development Corporation (VHEDC) submitted a letter to the Court addressing nine dilapidated, overgrown and/or abandoned properties that are currently on arrears in taxes, noting that they are working with the Town of Van Horn Code Enforcement Officer to keep these properties cleaned. Many of these properties currently have issues with ownership as the original owners have passed away without a will or moved with no forwarding address. The properties present a health and safety hazard to the neighbors and the Town as a whole. The VHEDC is asking the local taxing entities to contact the attorneys for delinquent taxes to aggressively pursue the collection on these properties, to file suit on the property, and to ultimately bring them to tax sale if the taxes are not brought current and the properties adequately maintained. The Court approved the submission of a letter to the delinquent tax attorneys with this request.

In other County business, the Court also:

Heard an update on the TxCDBG grant for the food pantry noting that bids have been extended to August 6, 2020.

Heard an update from the AgriLife Extension Office.

Authorized the Titan Solar project to make improvements to the County Road to their site.

Acknowledged the beginning of the Budget process with the next meeting to be July 27.

Approved monthly reports.

Heard reports on various County Projects.

Approved monthly expenses and payroll.