By Kathi Bliss
A Luling-area chemical spill is causing headaches for the Caldwell County Commissioners Court this week.
Recently, an unknown party dumped an unknown amount of a petroleum-based chemical, most likely diesel fuel, in an area near a creekbed on Powell Road. The spill, which contaminated the area in a county right-of-way as well as adjoining private property.
On Monday, the Commissioners voted unanimously to seek bids and hire an environmental expert to mitigate the spill, which will include removing dirt to at least a 2 foot depth in the area of the spill.
Because the party or parties responsible for the spill are at the present unidentified, the County is responsible for cleaning up the mess, both in the public right-of-way and on the private property, according to civil attorney Mack Harrison. Impacted landowners could, however, be responsible for paying a “proportionate sum” of the cleanup cost.
The Unit Road System has made contact with mitigation experts, and the Court empowered County Judge Tom Bonn to enter a contract with an approved contractor based on the highest-value bid to complete the work.
In other business, Bonn asked his colleagues to hold off on a budget amendment that would transfer the remaining budget for the recently-dissolved County Administrator department to the Unit Road System.
The amendment, which would put $35,568 in the Unit Road Budget, is the remainder of this year’s budgeted salary for the former County Administrator.
Bonn maintains the Court is prevented by State law from making the transfer, holding to the stance that the County Administrator was the Judge’s employee and not an employee of the Court, and therefore the Court took an illegal action in eliminating the position.
The measure was tabled until the Court’s next meeting to allow Harrison time to perform legal research on the issue.
In brief news:
The Commissioners voted unanimously not to instate a burn ban at this time.
They made a transfer to the Seton Family of Hospitals in the amount of $274,045 under the 1115 Waiver Program.
They ratified a contract with Paramount Pictures for use of county property in the production of a feature film being staged in Lockhart this week.
The Court approved an independent audit conducted by Jansen and Gregorczyk of Caldwell County Emergency Services District No. 2.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet at 9 a.m. on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month in the Conference and Training Room at the LW Scott Annex, 1403 Blackjack St. (FM20E) in Lockhart. The meetings are open to the public, and the agendas are posted on the County’s website, www.co.caldwell.tx.us.