Burn ban lifted this week
By LPR Staff
With winter weather taking hold across the county and more promised on the horizon, the Caldwell County Commissioners opted on Monday to lift an outdoor burning ban which has been in place for several weeks.
Upon a recommendation from Emergency Management Coordinator Jim Parker, and after requests from several local farm
ers and ranchers, the Commissioners” Court opted to temporarily lift the outdoor burning ban.
“We”ve had some moisture over the weekend, and the forecast says we should get more,” Parker said. “It”s still dry, but I know there are people around the county that need to burn, so if we”re going to lift it, now would be the time.”
Precinct Four Commissioner Joe Roland introduced the motion, saying he had received calls from constituents and “professional brush-burners” with reason to need the ban lifted. After Roland”s motion, Commissioners discussed the possibility of lifting the ban only for a few days, but later decided for notification purposes, setting a date-certain for the ban would be impractical. They voted to lift the ban altogether.
“Please remind people, though, that this is only a temporary situation,” said County Fire Marshal Jeff Wright after the meeting. “If we decide it needs to be put back on before the next meeting, the Judge will probably do that and notify the people as soon as possible.”
Wright urged county residents to use extreme caution when burning outdoors, as dangerous conditions still exist and grass and brush fires can spread and become disastrous quickly and without warning.
Those that are concerned the ban may be reinstated are encouraged to contact the Caldwell County Sheriff”s Office at 398-6777 prior to burning.
In other business, the Commissioners discussed the possibility of purchasing a new car for Precinct One Constable Victor “Smitty” Terrell”s office.
Terrell, along with Deputy Constables Parker, Stephen Holman and Dwight Duggins appeared before the Court to discuss their current workload and to ask the Commissioners to help ease that burden by allocating a second vehicle to the office.
Until recently, Terrell said, the office had two vehicles, a new Dodge Charger purchased by the County last year, and an older-model Ford Crown Victoria, which was recently taken off the streets because it became inoperable.
Despite a mandate last year that each of the four Constables” offices operate only one vehicle, Terrell said his office has been using the second car because of the sheer workload generated by the office, which handles truancy and theft-by-check warrants that other offices are not responsible for.
Precinct One Commissioner Tom Bonn suggested the County sell the Crown Victoria, along with two other inoperable “floater” cars, and use the proceeds from that sale to purchase another vehicle for Terrell”s office. However, other Commissioners bucked at the idea.
“I”ve gotten calls from other Constables wondering why Precinct One should get special treatment,” said Precinct Three Commissioner Neto Madrigal. “I thought we had decided that each office just got the one car – and I understand [the Precint One office] is serving warrants and bringing in money, but the other Constables are telling me if they had another car, they could do the same thing.”
Holman, however, said he had spoken with Constables from other precincts and they had no objection to Precinct One having a second car.
After a split vote to sell the cars, County Judge H.T. Wright cast the deciding vote, denying the purchase.
“What I”d really like to see is a more exact presentation,” Wright said before casting his vote. “I was in support of each office having only one car, but the numbers presented here suggest they are pulling in money for the County by having two, and I don”t have any strong feelings one way or another. I”d like to hear from the other Constables and see something more concrete, and maybe make these purchases in the budget instead of piecemeal like this.”
In brief news:
They signed a resolution declaring the week of Jan. 21 – 26 “Martin Luther King, Jr., Week,” and declaring February “Black History Month in Caldwell County.”
They discussed a contract with All-Faiths Funeral Homes, Inc., regarding the cost for indigent funerals and burials.
The County paid bills in the amount of $112,467.71, which includes $5,443.49 in indigent legal defense and $27,586.09.