Huge raises budgeted for Judge, Sheriff

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

As the clock winds down on the current fiscal year, the Caldwell County Commissioners Court continues to eye the budget proposed by County Judge Kenneth Schawe.

In a move that has drawn little attention, the Commissioners suggested last month that the budget be amended to include significant pay raises for the County Judge and the Sheriff, bringing both salaries to $75,000 per year.

In previous discussions, the Commissioners have noted the need to increase county salaries to bring them more in line with salaries of comparative positions across the region. Further, the budget calls for a pay increase for each of the Commissioners, which all have stated they will not accept; they want to set the higher salaries, though, to encourage qualified candidates to run for office in the future.

On average, County employees are slated to receive a 3-percent raise under currently proposed budget.

As the current fiscal year expires on Sept. 30, the Commissioners will be forced to move on the budget during their next regular meeting, which is slated on Monday, Sept. 25.

The proposed budget is available for review online at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.

In other business, the Commissioners opted to move forward in hopes of opening negotiations with Green Group Holdings on a “host agreement” that might offer the County certain protections and concessions as the waste management partnerships moves toward the construction of a landfill project in northern Caldwell County.

Negotiations on the Host Agreement were previously “tabled indefinitely” by the former Commissioners Court in 2014, as the County engaged in litigation with an attempt to block the permitting process through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

Early this year, a newly-elected Court opted to bring the proposed agreement back to the table, with hopes of putting stop-gap measures in place, in the event TCEQ opted to permit the facility.

For several months, an appointed citizen committee has been meeting to discuss and draft a proposal to bring Green Group Holdings to the negotiating table. Those talks stalled in advance of the TCEQ hearing last Wednesday morning, during which the State panel took less than an hour to grant the permit for the facility.

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court now hopes to begin in earnest, talks regarding a host agreement that will benefit the community as construction begins on the project.

The Court also opted to renew the Regional Public Defender Interlocal Agreement with Lubbock County. The agreement amounts to a cost-sharing partnership between several rural counties, with the purpose of saving expenses on capital murder cases, which are rare in areas like Caldwell County, but which are prohibitively expensive to defend.

In brief news:

The County continues to gather information regarding storm damages from the landfall and subsequent wind and rain brought to the area by Hurricane Harvey. Anyone who sustained damage, regardless of how minor, is encouraged to visit www. https://report-tx-caldwell.orioncentral.com to register the damage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has strict guidelines governing reimbursement programs after Federally-declared disasters, and accurate and thorough reporting of damage is essential for the County to receive the highest levels of individual and governmental assistance possible.

The Commissioners opted to leave the burning ban off, for the time being, with a reminder that those choosing to burn brush or trash should do so with caution, taking care to be aware of wind conditions prior to burning.

They approved several bonds, and paid bills in the amount of $341,905.85.

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court routinely meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the second floor courtroom of the Caldwell County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public and are available for viewing online at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.

In brief news:

The County continues to gather information regarding storm damages from the landfall and subsequent wind and rain brought to the area by Hurricane Harvey. Anyone who sustained damage, regardless of how minor, is encouraged to visit www. https://report-tx-caldwell.orioncentral.com to register the damage.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has strict guidelines governing reimbursement programs after Federally-declared disasters, and accurate and thorough reporting of damage is essential for the County to receive the highest levels of individual and governmental assistance possible.

The Commissioners opted to leave the burning ban off, for the time being, with a reminder that those choosing to burn brush or trash should do so with caution, taking care to be aware of wind conditions prior to burning.

They approved several bonds, and paid bills in the amount of $341,905.85.

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court routinely meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the second floor courtroom of the Caldwell County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public and are available for viewing online at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.

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