County reinstates burn ban
By LPR Staff
After a rash of fires in southern Caldwell County over the weekend, and with forecasts promising more hot, dry weather, the Caldwell County Commissioners decided to reinstate an outdoor burning ban on Monday.
Although storms raged in some areas over the weekend, many areas did not receive any rain, including much of Luli
“We had one fire [near Luling] that blew off a controlled burn,” said Karen McCrary of Luling. Risks of grass fires throughout the county continue to run high.
The order entered by the Court on Monday makes it a Class C misdemeanor to “burn any combustible materials outside of an enclosure which serves to contain all flame and/or sparks.” Violations of the burn ban are punishable by fines up to $500.
While some behavior is not expressly prohibited in the order, emergency officials suggest extreme caution. Lit cigarettes thrown from car windows are among the primary causes of many grass fires, as are coals dropped from barbecue pits in disrepair.
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court will not meet again until Aug. 14 unless County Judge H.T. Wright calls a special meeting. Barring extreme circumstances, the burn ban will not be lifted before the Court”s next regular meeting
In other business, the Commissioners heard a request from the Uhland Volunteer Fire Department to increase department funding for the next two years.
In a proposal submitted by the department”s secretary-treasurer Daniel R. Heideman, the department requested that Caldwell County double their funding for the next two years, after which time county support would no longer be required.
“The Uhland Fire Department is in the process of having its service area placed into the proposed Hays/Caldwell #1 Emergency Service District,” Heideman wrote. “If this is accomplished then the fire department will contract with the ESD for support.”
The Uhland Fire Department has been struggling financially for several months, after an incident involving former department officers left the departments finances in shambles.
However, some Commissioners expressed concern that the emergency service district might not be created in the time frame Heideman suggested, leaving the county subject to further funding requests from the department.
“It would create some inequities in funding, because we can”t afford to give all of the other departments that much money,” said Commissioner Joe Roland. “And what if the ESD never materializes?”
In an effort to have time to collect more information in support of the proposal, Commissioner Neto Madrigal suggested that the topic be tabled for discussion at a later date.
In brief Court news:
Judge Wright, Sheriff Daniel Law and other county representatives will meet with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards on Aug. 4 to discuss the overcrowding situation at the Caldwell County Jail. Wright said the county would ask Jail Standards to approve plans for the proposed jail annex and expansion, and for a variance allowing inmates at the jail to be “doubled up,” by adding additional cots to certain dorms to provide more bed space. Currently, the Caldwell County Jail is forced to house some inmates in other locations, at a cost averaging $50,000 per month.
The Commissioners approved a letter of support for the Goforth Water Supply Corp. in their efforts to become a Special Utility District. The utility district will operate as a non-taxing entity, funding their operation through the fees charged for water service. In March, the majority of Goforth Water Supply Corp. members voted to proceed with the creation of the special utility district.
County Extension Agent Rachel Bauer reported that it was likely that corn and sorghum crops would be low this year due to the drought and April”s hailstorms. Bauer noted that she had noticed crops being harvested beginning last weekend.
The County paid bills in the amount of $57,546.37, including $19,040.09 in indigent health care and $11,771 in indigent legal defense.
The Caldwell County Commissioners meet on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.