Norman appointed as authorized signatory in absence of Judge

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in regular session on December 14, 2020. Commissioner Adrian Norman presented a plaque for outgoing Commissioner Cornelio Garibay recognizing his 30 years of service on the Court. Garibay will serve through January 4, 2021 at which time the newly elected Commissioners will take their oaths of office and present their bonds at a Special meeting scheduled for 5:15 p.m. As Commissioner with the most seniority after the new Court is seated, Adrian Norman was appointed to be the authorized signatory in temporary substitution of the County Judge upon the retirement of Garibay who has been filling this role during the absence of the County Judge.

Cody Davis, Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator, informed the Court that the County needed to implement an Emergency Mass Notification Service to be in compliance with the County’s Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA) requirements. The Department of Homeland Security has disseminated information on The National Preparedness Goal which defines what it means for the whole community to be prepared for all types of disasters and emergencies. The Natural Preparedness Goal is “A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.” These risks include events such as natural disasters, disease pandemics, chemical spills and other man-made hazards, terrorist attacks and cyberattacks. To be prepared to achieve this goal, each community completes a THIRA. One of the components of this is the implementation of a “Public Information and Warning System” to “Deliver coordinated, prompt, reliable, and actionable information to the whole community through the use of clear, consistent, accessible, and culturally and linguistically appropriate methods to effectively relay information regarding any threat or hazard, as well as the actions being taken and the assistance being made available, as appropriate.” https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/mission-core-capabilities

Davis reported that he had visited neighboring communities to determine the best Emergency Mass Notification System for our needs. He recommended that the Court select Hyper-Reach, noting that the annual subscription is $4950/year. This will allow the Emergency Management System to send out emergency notifications to all persons who sign up for the service. The Court tabled the acquisition to allow time to investigate grant opportunities for funding.

Zach Schaefer, County Extension Agent, and Joy Scott, Tx A&M AgriLife Extension Service Master Gardener trainee, presented a proposal for Scott’s Master Gardener project to landscape the area around the gazebo at the Cemetery. The initial estimate for supplies is $1736 for the east side of the gazebo. Com. Morales noted that funds are in the budget to cover this project, and the Court requested that the project be expanded to encompass the entire area around the gazebo.

The Commissioners adopted the “Rules of Procedure, Conduct, and Decorum” for the County regarding public participation and public comment at the meetings of the County Commissioner’s Court. County Attorney Steve Mitchell noted that “Public Comment” is to allow citizens to make comments to the Court on a particular item, but it is not a question-and-answer session. Essentially, this item allows the public to give their opinion on an issue. According to the agenda: “Anyone wishing to address the Court must complete a Speaker Request form and turn it in to the County Judge’s Admin. Assistant 2 business days prior to the start of the meeting. The guidelines for Public Comment are on the Speaker Request Form. Pursuant to the Texas Open Meeting Act, the Court is limited in its ability to respond to comments.”

In other County business, the Court also:

Received an update on the CDBG Food Pantry project.

Heard the monthly update from the AgriLife Extension Office.

Approved four (4) Utility Permit Requests from ConocoPhillips to cross Carlsbad Road.

Approved a tax resale bid request as submitted by the CCAD.

Approved the revised contract with David Rivera d/b/a ZAP’D I.T. and Communications.

Approved a contract with Oscar Borrego Sr. d/b/a Borrego Construction for painting the Tax Office.

Tabled the “presentation” of the minutes from 12-29-2019 to 8-10-2020 to put on the next agenda to “accept” the minutes upon the advice of the County Attorney.

Clarified payroll issues regarding part-time help, longevity pay policy, and the interim Nutrition Center director. Approved pay increase for Interim Nutrition Center Director to $16.50.

Approved monthly reports and Treasurer’s report.

Heard reports on various County Projects.

Approved monthly expenses and payroll.

After an Executive Session, commissioners approved hiring Castulo Luna to the Road and Bridge Department.