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Commissioners question legality of CCJLS lease

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

A state law and an Attorney General’s ruling may have thrown another wrench into the ongoing saga surrounding the lease at the Caldwell County Fairgrounds.

In February 2009, the Caldwell County Fair Association gave the Commissioners’ Court notice of their intention to renew their lease on the Caldwell County Fairg

rounds show barn and show arena for 25 years, as spelled out in the original lease signed in 1984. Concerns about a rule which could prevent some students from participating in the Caldwell County Junior Livestock Show and Sale led to a review of that lease, and may finally lead to a revision of the existing contract.

“[According to what we have learned], it is illegal for this court to enter into a non-service contract that encumbers future courts,” Caldwell County Judge HT Wright said on Monday. “Our attorney, as well as an Attorney General’s opinion, suggests that we can’t enter into this lease for 25 years, because that commits a future court.”

Wright stressed the Court does not want to terminate the lease agreement with the Fair Association, but may need to rewrite the lease for a shorter period of time.

“This has been a good arrangement, and we don’t want [the Fair Association] to have to move, but legally, we can’t enter a 25-year lease on that property.”

Wright asked Commissioners Neto Madrigal and Tom Bonn to work with Caldwell County District Attorney Trey Hicks and the attorney for the Caldwell County Fair Association to find an amicable – and legal – solution.

The Commissioners will report back to the Court after negotiations on the lease agreement continue.

In other business, the Commissioners heard information from a potential developer who hopes to subdivide properties near Williamson Road in Caldwell County.

Under the current plan, the developer hopes to break his property into 20 or more one- to two-acre tracts and allow not only site-built homes, but remodeled or new manufactured homes with masonry or stone underpinning in the subdivision.

Commissioners raised concerns about the initial plan because several aspects of the plan do not conform to the county’s subdivision rules.

Specifically, County Road 179 is one of the county’s highest-traveled secondary arteries. The addition of some 20 new residences to the area might cause additional traffic clogs. Additionally, the original drawing of the subdivision has driveways approximately every 50 feet on the road. Under current rules, driveways may not be closer than 100 feet.

The developer will return to the drawing board with the plans in an effort to bring them in line with subdivision rules, and will return to the Court with updated information at a later time.

In other business, the Court approved a proposal to add certain services to Caldwell County’s indigent health program.

Under the current program, indigent health care does not provide dental or vision care. Program administrator Rhoda Chavira suggested those services should be added, in limited quantities, because she has seen a need among the county’s indigent patients.

Chavira said adding the optional services will not increase the county budget for indigent health care, and would in fact be wrapped into the county’s current budget.

The services will provide for basic dental care, and one optical exam and glasses every two years.

In brief news:
The Commissioners voted to leave the outdoor burning ban off for another week. However, they asked the public to remember that fires should still be monitored closely, and that dangerous conditions still exist, regardless of the recent rains in the area.

Wright read a proclamation confirming that National Night Out will be Oct. 6, 2009. For information about National Night Out gatherings in your area, contact Bob Carroll at the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 398-6777.

The county paid bills in the amount of $360,487.01, which includes $3,750 in indigent legal defense.

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