Commissioners hear TxDOT plan

With a resolution approved Monday morning by McCulloch County Commissioners, the county could stand to save a substantial amount of money as a participant in TxDOTs “Participation Waived Program” for off-system bridges. Because McCulloch County has been listed as economically disadvantaged, the county is given the opportunity to be an active participant in TxDOT’s “Participation Waived Program” for county road bridges. TxDOT receives both federal and state money in order to offer these types of grants for bridge repairs. Usually, in larger repairs, TxDOT applies 90 percent of the funding toward a project while the participating county is required to meet the remaining 10 percent. “We have a lot of low water crossings, small bridges and culverts in our county,” said McCulloch County Judge Randy Young. “If we designate those bridges for repairs before hand and inform TxDOT, they’ll allow us to use our in-kind services (man hours, equipment and money used for materials for smaller projects) toward our 10 percent.” According to Young, the county has already completed small bridge repairs in Precinct 3 and the beginning phase of two other repairs, one in Precinct 4 and the other in Precinct 3 is just around the corner. “TxDOT comes in and inspects the county bridges and inform us when they need upgrading and when they’re structurally unsound,” explained Young. “They come back in and say we’ll fund 90 percent of the repairs and the county will have to put up 10 percent. By allowing the county to show smaller repairs as in-kind toward the 10 percent, “we’re basically fixing the bridges without having to pay cash up front,” said Young. In other business, the Commissioners appointed a new panel of election judges for a two year period as per the Texas Election Code. The election code requires that every year in July, each party chairman has to deliver a list of appointees for precinct election judges to the commissioners. However, the commissioners only received a list of appointees from Republican chairman Ken Bull. Democratic chairman Barbara Bolton failed to submit a list to the commissioners, therefore the commissioners approved the list of Republican appointees and selected alternates from the last election. “We had to appoint the list for Democratic election judges because there weren’t any applicants submitted to us,” said Young. The chief election judge and the alternate judge are determined by whichever party won the Governor’s race. This year, the Republican party carried all the precincts in McCulloch County, therefore, the Republican appointees will hold the position of chief election judges for each precinct while the alternates will be Democratic appointees. Election judges this year will be: chief judge Jim Wright, alternate, Jo Keese, Precinct 101; chief judge Nancy Dumas, alternate Cleo Ramsey, Precinct 102; chief judge Reba Sutton, alternate Jim Donoho, Precinct 103; chief judge Bob Youree, alternate Lina Cruz, Precinct 201; chief judge Doug Beaman, alternate Minetta Edmiston, Precinct 202; chief judge Jerry Betsill, alternate Raymond McMurray, Precinct 301; chief judge Leslie Philipp, alternate Raymond McMurray, Precinct 302; chief judge Jessalu Lorke, alternate Louise Passmore, Precinct 401; chief judge Grace Burk, alternate Marcia Aarons, Precinct 401; and chief judge Glynn Weathermann, alternate Mickey Brosig, Precinct 403. Early voting election judge is Jerry Bratton. The commissioners also appointed McCulloch County Sheriff Earl Howell to let bids for the sale of a 1995 Chevrolet patrol vehicle that the county plans to sell. In a related item, the commissioners approved the purchase of a new Ford patrol vehicle. The item was a pre-approved budget item and purchased from Norman Motors. Computer failure in the county judge’s office had the commissioners considering a replacement. The computer system, which is the oldest model still working in the courthouse, crashed on Thursday of last week. The initial plan was to replace the outdated machine; however, the repairs were minor and the computer will still be accessible in the judge’s office. In other business, the commissioners discussed the census line/count errors. No action was taken, however, and the commissioners will be looking at the item at a later date. Both long-term and short-term juvenile detention contracts with Kerr County Juvenile Detention Facility were approved by the commissioners on Monday. A daily rate of $83 for long-term stay and $73 for short-term was approved, however, according to Young, those rates will increase effective Oct. 1. The contract is an agreement for the detention of juvenile offenders. The county only pays the rates if a juvenile offender from McCulloch County is a current resident of the facility. In one of the final items, the commissioners agreed to retain the current license and registration fees as they are ($10). Easements were approved by the commissioners on Monday morning: one on County Road 216 for utility/communication lines for Cap Rock Electric and one on County Road 104 for utility/communication lines for GTE Southwest Inc. In the budget workshop, the commissioners decided to set a date to meet with city officials for review of all joint projects (F.M. Richards Memorial Library, current law enforcement building, Richards Park, fire station, radio communication tower, etc.) The meeting is scheduled for Friday (today) at 10 a.m. in the McCulloch County Courthouse. “We want to be sure that everyone is on the same page with our inter-local agreements and joint projects,” said Young. The commissioners also scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, July 17 at 9 a.m. for budget hearing with all county officials.

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