County holds special meeting in absence of Judge

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in special session on November 27, 2020. The Court hired Irma Rivera as Interim Director of the Nutrition Center for one month during which time the County will conduct interviews from among the qualified applicants prior to selecting the final candidate.

The Court received proposals for IT services from David Rivera dba ZAP’D I.T. & Communications and Jesus Ramirez dba West Texas Voice and Data. After review of the proposals in executive session, the Court approved an independent contractor agreement with David Rivera dba ZAP’D I.T. & Communications to service all the I.T. needs of the County whereby he would be on-call as needed for day-to-day service. County Attorney Steve Mitchell will finalize the contract document to the mutual agreement of both parties.

Commissioners decided to release the longevity checks to County employees with the December 4, 2020 paychecks. They noted that although the 2020 Christmas party has been cancelled due to COVID-19, the County will still have an employee appreciation event once the restrictions are lifted.

The Court approved a resolution for the 2021 Indigent Defense Grant which is administered by the County Auditor. The Texas Indigent Defense Commission (Commission) provides financial and technical support to counties to develop and maintain quality, cost-effective indigent defense systems that meet the needs of local communities and the requirements of the Constitution and state law. Formula Grants are awarded to eligible Texas counties to help counties meet constitutional and statutory requirements for indigent defense and to promote compliance with standards adopted by the Commission. Every county is eligible to receive a grant of $15,000 plus its share of the remaining funds budgeted by the Commission for the Formula Grant Program. Funds must be used to improve indigent defense systems. Attorney fees, investigator expenses, expert witness expenses, and other direct litigation costs that a county spends on behalf of a criminal defendant or juvenile respondent in a criminal matter that has been determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be indigent are allowable expenses. Indigent defense provides services to defendants who can’t afford legal counsel on their own. It helps ensure a fair trial for the defendant. Public defender programs, assigned counsel systems, and contract attorney systems are all public service resources provided to indigent defendants.

Commissioners also approved a video solution subscription program proposal by Digital Ally for body cams for the Sheriff’s Office. This subscription will cost $27,260 over the sixty months of the subscription.

In other County business, the Court also:

Approved the transfer of a County Road & Bridge Loader to CCAISD.

Heard reports on various County Projects.