County Commissioners discussed options on the fate of the county-owned Daycare Center and the youth club (formerly the Boys & Girls Club) building. Although the item was on the agenda as “process to transfer/trade property with CCAISD,” Commissioners learned that the process was nowhere near finalization without formal discussions having taken place.
Becky Brewster, who was there reporting on other grant matters, told the Court that she was retiring from daycare operations in the very near future and that the school district has proposed hiring a director, more staff at higher salaries, as well as offer insurance and other benefits through the school district. The District would also implement a specific curriculum geared toward a successful transition to kindergarten.
Per Brewster, the District has also expressed interest in taking over the youth center possibly for after school programs, but there have been no formal discussions on the acquisition of the two facilities between the County and the interested parties. She mentioned that she had been meeting with the school district and Blue Origin, but nothing concrete was decided with the County, but that the district was leaning toward both buildings having to be part of any deal.
During a spirited discussion, Commissioners agreed in principal that the school district taking over the daycare would be beneficial for all, but there was some disagreement on the County simply handing over the daycare and youth club buildings without some benefit for the County. Per Mark Cabezuela, County Auditor, who was contacted later, the daycare and youth club are valued at $369,000 and $1.4 million respectively. Mr. Cabezuela added that although both properties were built through grants, the County has been responsible for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, including recent installation of a $15,600 canopy at the daycare playground.
Commissioner Morales suggested that all stakeholders should meet and come up with an equitable deal for all, especially since the County is having difficulty finding office space for not only the Sheriff’s department, but the new Justices of the Peace. County Judge Urias proposed meeting next week with Superintendent Baugh and two or more Commissioners to discuss options that would be beneficial to all parties.
Also on the agenda, was a carry-over from a special meeting held last Friday, where Commissioners and Road & Bridge director Mingo Corrales interviewed multiple applicants for a vacant position with no consensus reached. There was also a question of whether Mr. Corrales’ choice was allowable under the consanguinity rules for nepotism, but that issue was cleared legally. The Court voted unanimously to allow Mr. Corrales to hire his choice for the open position at $18.00 per hour, which is the normal entry-level rate.
Also on the agenda, the Court:
Heard an update on the American Rescue Plan Act, with the Court urged to decide on capital expenditures that would qualify for the grant
Approved multiple permit requests for utility crossings on Carlsbad Road in the northern part of the county
Approved a contract and release between Ramon Ruiz and the County to make repairs at the Big Bend Community Action building for $7,200
Approved an invoice estimate from ZAP’D I.T. & Communications in the amount of $5,020 to install hardware and security cameras at the airport and shooting range
Tabled a request for payment in the amount of $2,075 to Zamorano’s Monument Company for a possible monument honoring war veterans to be placed outside the County Courthouse. Commissioners agreed with the idea and for paying for the monument, but wanted to make sure that Joe Gutierrez, who is spear-heading the project has included all eligible honorees and has a final price before approving payment
Heard from Sheriff Oscar Carrillo, who provided the Court with the required statistics on racial profiling
Approved a request from County Treasurer Adrian Hinojos, who requested that employees who contract Covid be given the same amount of sick leave as any other illness, with 5 days off
Provided information on County projects, including that the County’s portion of the proposed expansion of FM 2185 would be around $375,000; that the property that was being considered to expand the cemetery is in a flood risk area and that the County should consider another location; heard a report that the road to Wolf Creek needs repair; and briefly touched on the need for a new courthouse with the shortage of office space at the forefront
Approved monthly reports; approved County Treasurer’s monthly reports for December 2022 and January 2023; approved payment of bills