JP3 considers location change
By LPR Staff
With Caldwell County’s population continuing to grow and the promise of more development on the way with State Highway 130, Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Llanas is running out of space.
Llanas approached the Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court on Monday to make a request that her offices be moved from their curren
t location in a Maxwell shopping center back to a previous location near the Maxwell Volunteer Fire Department.
According to Precinct 3 Commissioner Neto Madrigal, Llanas began considering a move when she discovered that on busy court days, JP3’s parking was limited and interfered with parking for the other businesses in the center. In addition, he said, the current location has only office space, and does not include an available courtroom.
Llanas and Madrigal said they have negotiated a tentative lease agreement for a 2.7-acre tract with a building for $500 per month. All of the space, including a storage barn and the bulk of the property, would be made available to the county.
However, the building will require some upgrades before the Precinct 3 Justice Office can move in. Working with Building Maintenance Director Curtis Weber, Llanas and Madrigal have determined an estimate of around $15,000 to make the necessary upgrades. The plan for the upgrades, however, is vague. Interior remodeling will be required, but sketches and estimates for those changes was not available to the Court on Monday, causing some concern about the scope of the project.
“I have some concern with using County resources to upgrade a property that we’re renting and we don’t own,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Tom Bonn said. “Is there any way that we can talk with her about taking whatever we put into it off the rent?”
Madrigal and Llanas will continue to work with the property owner in an attempt to work out a lease, potentially a five-year commitment with five-year renewal periods, and first right of refusal should the owner decide to sell the property. They will come back to the Court with updates and possibly a negotiated lease for approval, as negotiations move forward.
In other business, at the request of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and the four Constable Precincts, the Commissioners approved the purchase of several digital video cameras for patrol cars.
The cameras, which cost around $4,800 each, are equipped to record traffic stops and other CCSO and Constable activities straight to DVD, alleviating the need for much of the storage required for the VHS tapes the systems used before.
Although the posted agenda stated the Court would be considering the purchase of 12 cameras, Judge HT Wright called the agenda “a misprint,” and said the consideration had always been for a total of 16 systems, 12 for the CCSO and another four for the constables.
In brief news:
The Commissioners held a brief public hearing and budget workshop. They indicated no additional changes have been made to the budget since the last budget meeting, and authorized the Finance Department to move forward with several purchases out of the current Fiscal Year budget, in an effort to save those expenses moving into the next fiscal year.
They discussed the outdoor burning ban and decided to leave the ban off for another week, since conditions remain favorable to outdoor burning. County residents are reminded, however, that dry conditions still exist, and that as winds pick up toward the end of this week, outdoor burning will become more dangerous.
They approved a variance for several lots on in the Jerry’s Creek Road subdivision.
The County paid bills in the amount of $773,258. The bulk of that total, $590,633, was applied toward construction of the Caldwell County Jail Annex. The total also included $14,394 for indigent legal defense and $78,255 for the Caldwell County Appraisal District.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.