Commissioners considering raises for elected officials and employees

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in regular session on July 19, 2021 to continue the 2021-2022 Budget work session. The Court reviewed projections for various salary increases for elected officials seeming to decide on 3-4%. Judge Carlos Urias requested that his position not be included in the salary increase with most of the Court following his example. The Court selected the low percentage in an effort to provide more funds for employee increases. County Auditor Mark Cabezuela will provide projections of budget impact for various wage increases for Court consideration at the next work session. Urias and Cabezuela acknowledged that the County was in a “real good place” and that the conservative planning of the past few years allowed the County to weather the impact of the COVID-19 with little effect to the budget. Urias reported that the taxable values for the county have increased by $90 million which will once again lower the effective tax rate. The County discussed other budget issues including the proposal that the school district take over the daycare center and youth club, noting that the CCAISD has already had the property surveyed.

The Commissioners appointed Jessica Bermudez as the County lead person for the American Rescue Plan grant program for non-entitlement communities. The County is expected to receive approximately $421,000 over a two-year period to be used for limited activities outlined in the American Rescue Plan. It was noted that the funds are expected to be obligated by the end of 2024 and expended by the end of 2026. The Court then directed Bermudez to solicit requests for proposals for administrative services and requests for qualifications for professional services.

The Court also authorized the County Clerk to sign the documentation necessary to allow the Clerk’s office to start accepting credit card payments. They also authorized the County Clerk to purchase Grave Discover software for the cemetery for $1387.00 which will be paid from the cemetery funds.

Urias reported that the improvements to the airport were completed prior to the scheduled Blue Origin launch which allowed the airport to easily handle the influx of jets arriving for the event.

In other County business, the Court also:

Acknowledged receipt of monthly report from the County Extension Agent.

Approved a Utility Permit to cross John Conoly Road.

Approved an Intergovernmental Lease Agreement renewal with the State.

Approved a proposal to install phone system for JP #1.

Added the installation of electrical outlets at the City-County Park

Approved monthly expenses and payroll.