Benny Boyd

Commissioners lift outdoor burn ban

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

Wet weather last week and cooling temperatures throughout Caldwell County prompted the Commissioners” Court to lift an outdoor burning ban that has been in place for much of the year.
Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Parker noted that the entire county received rainfall last week, and some residents reported up to tw

o inches.
“We”ve had some good rain, and the forecast says that more might be coming,” Parker said. “If you”re going to lift it, now would be the time.”
The panel voted unanimously to lift the ban. However, since the burn ban was lifted, fire departments have responded to several calls for grass fires. Anyone choosing to burn outdoors should use caution and keep a hose or water nearby.
The Court also considered whether the County should continue to participate in a wetlands mitigation project with the City of Lockhart and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“TxDOT has offered to contribute $400,000 in “seed money” for this thing,” said County Judge H.T. Wright. “My preference would be to keep that money to defray future operating costs, but the city wants to spend it all on improvements right at the beginning.”
Those improvements include learning kiosks, crushed-granite walking and running trails, lights, picnic tables and up to 400 parking spaces.
“The city”s expectations or demands are beyond the intent under which TxDOT first made this offer and, from our meeting on Aug. 22, it is obvious that the city plans to manage this project their way,” Wright noted in a memo to the Commissioners last month. He did not waver from that opinion during Monday”s meeting.
Commissioner Tom Bonn requested that the item be tabled, as it was scheduled for discussion at Tuesday”s city council meeting.
“I think that there”s a way to work together on this,” he said. “I think it would be short-sighted if we pass on this opportunity.”
The other Commissioners agreed to table the discussion pending further negotiations with city officials.
Wright reported that the County”s spending on indigent health care during the last fiscal year came in nearly $100,000 under budget.
“We had $330,000 in our budget for this spending, and we only spent $260,000,” he said. “Rhoda [Chavira] is doing a great job over there.”
They also heard a report regarding tax collections for the current year. To date, the Caldwell County Appraisal District has collected more than 93 percent of the tax levy from 2005. According to Wright, the county is less than $20,000 in collections away from an all-time high.
In brief Court news:
The County granted a variance allowing the subdivision of one acre of property out of 13 acres on Turner Trail.
The Commissioners considered a request from County Fire Marshal Jeff Wright to earmark funds from the sale of scrap metal toward improvements to a fire training ground. The Court will consider the idea further at a later date.
They approved a one-year lease to the Department of Human Services on the DHS offices in Luling.
The County paid bills in the amount of $149,209.40, which includes $75,474 for out-of-county inmate housing and $331.75 for indigent legal defense.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse. Meetings, which are open to the public, begin at 9 a.m.

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