Budget, TPBBT, Gardening Program, Redistricting and more

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in regular session on August 16, 2021. The Commissioners reviewed the County’s health insurance with the Texas Association of Counties for 2021-2022. Debbie Falknor told commissioners that the County plan has an 8.7% increase (after seeing a 2.7% rate reduction for the current fiscal year). This would raise the rate for employee coverage from $582.78 to $633.46/month. Culberson County now has a $250 deductible with a $2,000 out-of-pocket limit under a “grandfathered” plan that exempts them from the Affordable Care Act provisions. Falknor reviewed options including maintaining existing benefits with the increase, increasing the deductible and out-of-pocket under the terms of the “grandfathered” plan, or switch to the Affordable Care plan which would increase the deductible to $500 and a $2500 “true-max” out-of-pocket. The Commissioners will review the information packet and make a decision at the next meeting.

The Court also approved an agreement with Tri-Temp Electric to expand the scope of work at the Culberson County Food Pantry based on the award of a grant from the Permian Basin Area Foundation. This grant allows the County to add back in all the items that were deducted from the original cost proposal due to limited funds. It was noted that the metal building should be delivered this week.

Zach Schaefer, County Extension Agent, presented his monthly report to the Court, noting that the Trans-Pecos Big Buck Tournament was back on the calendar for this year. He reported that judges will be certified by the Big Game Awards to judge mule deer. Schaefer also reported on the Horticulture Committee which has three virtual seminars scheduled. Schaefer then introduced Joy Scott to discuss a new project to develop a teaching garden with raised garden beds. The Court agreed that they could set up the teaching garden on the library property.

David Rivera reviewed the proposed TAC County Information Resources Agency Service Agreement stating that the transition at TAC is scheduled for November so the County is going to have to enter the current century in terms of technology. He reviewed the options and recommended that the County provide a minimum of 50 GB of storage for each email account as well as Office 365 noting that as much as possible should convert to cloud-based. He did indicate that individuals could keep their localized version with licensing remaining at $100/year for five computers for the computer based Office. Rivera was asked to “crunch the numbers” and to survey employees on their preferences.

County Clerk, Linda McDonald, briefed the Court on the need to appoint election judges and clerks for the upcoming November constitutional amendment election. The Commissioners raised the rate for Election Judge from $12/hour to $15/hour. McDonald reported that redistricting in underway based on the 2020 census figures and presented an initial draft of the proposed precinct boundaries.

The Court held another budget workshop. County Auditor Mark Cabezuela presented a salary increase schedule showing the impact on the budget for various raise proposals. He noted that he cannot finalize the budget figures because he has no revenue projections yet.

Commissioners also held a lengthy executive session to discuss personnel matters relating to the Area Agency on Aging concerns with Nutrition Center personnel and to confer with the County Attorney. No action was taken.

In other County business, the Court also:

Approved a subdivision plat for a portion of the Southwest Sunsites.

Deferred replacement of a vehicle window until after October 1, requesting another quote to compare costs.

Approved software hosting and service agreement renewal for five years at $25,000/year for NET Data for the JPs.

Selected Marbek Services, LLC as a professional service provider for the American Rescue Plan programs.

Updated personnel policies in response to HB 2073 regarding quarantine leave for deputies and jailers.

Renewed Silver Choice Plan B for retiree health coverage, noting this is paid by the retiree.

Renewed the Sheriff and Constable Fees.

Approved a renewal to update copy machines.

Approved monthly reports.

Approved monthly expenses and payroll.

Heard reports on various county projects.