By Becky Brewster
Culberson County Commissioners met in Regular Session on September 14, 2020. Molly Hernandez, Culberson County Tax Assessor-Collector, announced that she is retiring on October 1, 2020 after 35 years of service to the County. Hernandez thanked the Commissioners Court and expressed appreciation for Commissioner’s Courts past and present for their support over the years. Com. Adrian Norman presented Hernandez with a plaque commemorating her service to the citizens of Culberson County, and noted that she “will be missed.” Hernandez recommended that the Court consider appointing Joe Morales to her position immediately since he will be taking over the office in January 2021 anyway.
The Court noted that one bid had been received for the TXCDBG grant project for the Culberson County Food Pantry. The Court awarded the bid to Tri-Temp Electric for $231,050.00. This price will include the construction of a new facility rather than the remodeling and expansion of the existing building and the construction of the interior walls and restroom. The dirt work and cement work will be done by the County. The contract was approved contingent upon the County receiving an amendment to the Texas Department of Agriculture contract for the construction of a new facility and extending the project deadline.
Commissioners also held a public hearing on the proposed tax increase to $0.161306/$100 taxable value which is the Voter Approval Tax Rate (VATR) that cannot be exceeded without triggering an election. No comments were received.
The Court then held a final budget workshop and agreed to leave IT funds in the budget to use as a retainer for a service agreement rather than creating a new position. The Court then unanimously adopted the FY 2020-2021 Budgets as presented. The Court then adopted the VATR of $0.161306/$100 taxable value for 2020 and agreed to continue the 3-2-1 % discounts for taxes paid in October, November and December respectively.
Judge Carlos Urias pointed out the recent rash of lost persons in the northern area of the County, stressing the need to install signs on all county roads. It was noted that signs were erected years ago with the 911 project, but that many in that area have disappeared. Urias stated that the traffic is incredible in the north with over 1600 people working in the area.
In other County business, the Court also:
Approved the Administrative Cost Agreement with the Far West Texas Water Planning Group.
Tabled the bond renewal for the Assistant Auditor.
Rejected the option to defer payroll taxes.
Confirmed election judges and alternate judges for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
Learned that the Precinct 4 polling place is being relocated to the Business Room at El Capitan due to COVID-19 concerns by the Church.
Approved a proposal from Juvenal Sandoval for safety improvements to the JP#1 office for $4900.00.
Learned of recent leaks in the Sheriff’s Office and JP #1.
Received an update from the AgriLife Extension Office.
Approved monthly reports and Treasurer’s report.
Heard reports on various County Projects.
Approved monthly expenses and payroll.