By Kathi Bliss
After months of meetings and public input, the Caldwell County Commissioners Court heard on Tuesday plans suggested by the Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) for improving transportation in Caldwell County.
Through considering the plan, the Commissioners have made no promises to embark on the sweeping changes suggested by the transportation plan; rather, the ideas are intended as a long-range plan to handle growing transportation needs in Caldwell County.
Among the suggestions being made in the transportation plan, extensions of Yarrington Road and FM 150 are being considered for additional connectivity between Caldwell County and IH-35 in the Kyle and San Marcos areas. Additionally, there was talk of paving shoulders on FM20, and dozens of “maintenance” projects aimed at increasing the safety and usefulness of Caldwell County roads.
On Monday, Feb. 25, the proposed Transportation Plan will be presented to the Caldwell County Transportation Committee during their scheduled meeting at the Scott Annex, 1403 FM 20E, at 6 p.m.
A copy of the presentation will also be available online on Caldwell County’s website, www.co.caldwell.tx.us.
Prior to the Tuesday afternoon workshop, the Commissioners held a brief business meeting on Tuesday morning. High on the list of priorities was a resolution “strongly opposing” the passage of House Bill 958, which could have a devastating impact on the County’s retirement plan through TCDRS.
A bill being introduced to the Texas Legislature this year seeks to reduce the interest crediting rate on retirement accounts through the Texas County and District Retirement System (TCDRS) from 7 percent to 5 percent. Although the legislation is being supported by larger, wealthier counties, it could have a crushing impact on retirement for employees of small counties like Caldwell County, who have worked to make sure their retirement accounts are fully vested.
Representatives from TCDRS were on hand to discuss the measure, and noted that the reduction in interest could indeed create a reduction in retirement payments to employees, but said they were unsure at this time what the full impact of the legislation might be.
The bill has not yet left Committee, and may never reach a vote on the House floor.
The Commissioners unanimously agreed to stand against the proposed legislation.
In other business, they approved submission of a grant application for the Challenge Court to the Office of the Governor.
The grant, if approved, will allow the Caldwell County Adult Probation Department to fund an officer specifically to handle “challenge court” cases, at no additional cost to the County.
An announcement is expected on the grant funding in September.
In brief news:
The Court approved the purchase of additional server capacity from Dell. The cost of $14,070.48 will be paid out of the County’s contingency fund, and is necessary to deal with the increased needs as more of the County’s recordkeeping is shifted to digital systems.
The Commissioners held a brief executive session to discuss the duties of the County Engineer, and to discuss electronic data security devices.
The Caldwell County Commissioners routinely meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the Conference and Training Room at the LW Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack St., in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public and interested stakeholders are encouraged to attend.
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