County appoints investment officers

Culberson County commissioners met in regular session last Monday and approved two investment officers in a change from the usual savings and CD accounts. The Court heard from Mr. Eddie Contreras, a representative from the Lone Star Investment Pool about the financial advantages of investing versus simply keeping County monies in CDs or savings accounts, which traditionally pay small amounts in interest.

Mr. Contreras reassured the Court that the investments would not invest in any high risk investments and added that the company had never had a “negative” outcome in 33 years. Lone Star Investment Pool deals primarily with counties, municipalities, and school districts, including Culberson-Allamoore ISD. According to Mr. Contreras, the average return on investment is about 5% which accrues daily and is paid monthly. On a $1,000,000 investment, the monthly return would be about $4100. Currently, the County has earned $4931 since last October. The Court unanimously voted to approve the contract to join the Lone Star Investment Pool and to appoint Judge Carlos Urias and County Treasurer Adrian Hinojos as the investment officers, whose duties will be to verify every transaction before moving money.

County Clerk Tina Urias and IT consultant David Rivera updated the Court on an expensive migration of their iDocket software scheduled to lose cloud-based support in 2024. The software is used to manage all manner of public records, including marriage licenses and deeds. Per Rivera, there are decades of records to migrate; as such, there is a large price tag for the migration of about $91,000 for the first year. The Court voted to budget up to $100,000 for the migration but asked Mr. Rivera to continue to look for a less expensive solution or software.

Sheriff Oscar Carrillo reported to commissioners on Senate Bill clarifying the language of the bill regarding minimum and maximum salaries of the sheriff, deputies and jail staff. Per the sheriff, the Bill will give counties a grant in the amount of $250,000 to be used to bring up the salaries of sheriffs to a minimum of $75,000 and deputies up to $45,000. Jailers’ salaries could be increased to a minimum of $40,000 and some of the funds could be used to increase the salaries of the aforementioned staff to above the minimum salaries. Sheriff Carrillo stated that this was something he wanted to do in order to become competitive with other departments in the area who are paying much more than Culberson County and tend to lure staff from this area with more money. Carrillo continued that the grant could also be used to hire additional staff, and purchase vehicles, firearms and safety equipment for the sheriff’s office, and that the grant would be awarded once per year in perpetuity.

In other business, commissioners:

Approved the Appraisal District’s annual report

Accepted the Voter approved tax rates of .081117

Set the date for the tax rate public hearing on September 11,2023

Approved September 11, 2023 as the date to adopt the tax rate

Heard from Debbie Falkner, insurance agent and voted to accept Option 2, which will increase the deductible by $500 but decrease the out-of-pocket expenses. The rest of the benefits remained the same

Approved the renewal of the proposed Vision and Dental insurance coverage.

Approved the Inter-local Cooperation Agreement for housing of Culberson County inmates at the rate of $75 per day

Voted to reappoint Dr. David Cummings as Culberson County Local Health Authority


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