Emerald considers alternate location


By LPR Staff

Emerald Correctional Management, Inc., may yet build a facility in Caldwell County.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Neto Madrigal reported to the Caldwell County Commissioners” Court on Monday morning that the controversial contractor has approached the City of Mustang Ridge with tentative plans to build a detention center in th

at city.
“They have started talking to property owners out there and are trying to buy 50 acres,” Madrigal said. “The mayor of Mustang Ridge told me they held a public meeting to get the presentation about the center.”
Madrigal said no decisions have been made to date regarding the construction of the center, but he had expressed the county”s concerns to Mustang Ridge officials. However, County Judge HT Wright said the proposed location for the center is at the corner of Highway 183 and Highway 21.
In other business, the Commissioners opted to leave the outdoor burning ban in place.
According to Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Parker, the County received a letter from Governor Rick Perry last week after the ban was lifted, requesting the ban be reinstated because of the high number of Red Flag Days. He suggested the ban be continued, despite the week”s forecasted rain, with unanimous agreement from the Court.
Commissioner Tom Bonn noted the need for the Commissioners to remain in contact regarding the ban, thinking they should be flexible about lifting the ban should conditions warrant such an action, in an effort to help farmers and ranchers clear their land for spring planting.
On a related note, Fire Marshal and code enforcer Jeff Wright tendered his resignation on March 12, giving two weeks” notice for his position.
According to a letter submitted by Wright, he accepted a position with an Austin company for personal reasons, but would continue to act as a volunteer firefighter in the county, and said he would assist in training and fire prevention exercises at the pleasure of the Court.
In brief Court news:
After short public hearings, the Commissioners approved final plats on two subdivisions in the St. John”s Colony area.
The Court issued a proclamation declaring April 2008 “Child Abuse Prevention Month.” They also proclaimed April “Housing Month.”
Lockhart Fire Marshal Mark Baker responded to an inquiry regarding soundproofing the outer doors of the 421st District Court. Baker said he could approve closing off one door, but not both doors. Weber said an alternative is to install soundproof glass and stripping to the door, at a cost of some $3,500. Bonn expressed concern that beginning the soundproofing procedure should not be done piecemeal, but should be introduced as a “soundproofing project” to address concerns about doors, windows and walls in space that was originally not designed to be a courtroom. The Commissioners opted not to take action this week, giving Weber the opportunity to research alternatives.
The Commissioners discussed participating in a petition initiated by Sutton County, Texas, that will require the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) to earmark a portion of the fees for hunting licenses toward controlling predators. Though Commissioners Charles Bullock and Neto Madrigal supported the notion, Bonn voted against participation, stating TPWD would eventually raise licensing fees as a result of the measure, effectively creating “another tax” for recreational hunters and fishermen.
AgriLife Extension agent Sarah Montgomery informed the Court that 73 area students have participated in statewide stock shows, including the San Antonio, Houston, Star of Texas and San Angelo shows. Several student projects ranked high enough during those shows to be eligible for auction.
They approved a request for a variance allowing a property owner to sell 6.9 acres from a 15-acre tract on County Road 252. The property allows for a 30-foot easement, where County regulations normally call for a 50-foot easement. Although the County has granted such easements before, it may make it difficult for a future owner to sell the property. The larger easement, however, might interfere with where the owner”s house and septic are located.
The Caldwell County Commissioners” Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public and county residents are encouraged to attend and participate.


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