Roland replaces Schawe on host committee

By Kathi Bliss

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

After robust discussion on Monday morning, Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Roland was appointed to replace County Judge Kenneth Schawe on a special committee appointed to negotiate with Green Group Holdings for a host agreement.

A staunch and vocal opponent of the multi-use landfill project located near the intersection of Highway 183 and FM 1185, Roland has long since said he has no interest in discussing a host agreement. Still, pressure from Precinct 4 residents has been mounting on not only the committee, but the Court to place Roland, who represents the area where the project is located.

In recent weeks, Roland has expressed a desire to sit on the committee, because he is the most familiar with the residents of the area and their needs. However, when the committee was originally structured, Precinct 1 Commissioner Hoppy Haden and Schawe both appointed themselves to the committee, creating a potential Open Meetings conflict if Roland were to be seated on the Committee, as well.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Ed Theriot suggested that the talks be brought out of the committee, and back to the Commissioners Court, while Schawe noted he, as the County Judge, should be actively involved in the negotiation talks.

Eventually, the Commissioners agreed to remove Schawe from the committee, which is comprised of both opponents and supporters of the landfill project.

Discussions about the proposed host agreement will continue through the summer, while the County and the developer wait for an answer from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as to whether a permit will be issued for the project.

That decision is expected to come in September.

Though Roland had asked his colleagues to appoint another member from Precinct 4, the Commissioners declined the request and any further change to the structure of the committee.

In other business, the Court held an extensive budget workshop, discussing several issues, including the possibility of a pay raise for elected officials.

A notice submitted by Schawe last week reflects the possibility of a 3 percent pay raise for elected officials, which would raise his own salary by $2,580, while giving the Commissioners a $2,025 annual pay increase.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Eddie Moses said he felt no need to receive a pay raise himself, but said the Commissioners should discuss increasing the salary for the Judge and the County Sheriff.

“We aren’t anywhere close to the salaries for those full time positions as the Counties around us, or the Counties that are similar to us,” he said. “I think that we need to look at that and see what we can do about getting those salaries up.”

When a decision is made on the salaries for elected officials, the County is required to publish a notice reflecting those salaries. That notice is expected to come within the next two weeks.

Schawe is still in the process of drafting the budget, which will be available online at www.co.caldwell.tx.us at a later date.

In brief news, the Commissioners accepted a resolution from the City of Luling in support of entering a host agreement with Green Group Holdings.

The Court set a public hearing regarding the installation and removal of stop signs in Prairie Lea. That hearing will be held during the Court’s next regular meeting.

The County paid bills in the amount of $196,325.64.

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 available for online viewing at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.

kathibliss@post-register.com

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