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Fuel costs forcing county to choose most needed spending

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By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

Exorbitant fuel costs have forced the Caldwell County Commissioner’s Court to transfer money from other accounts to satisfy the need for operating county vehicles, which in turn has meant denying some requests, at least until the next budget cycle.

A Constable for Precinct 1 asked the court on Tuesday for additional fuel expenses, which was approved by the court. However, his request for shotguns he said would be more effective in an active shooter situation when in close quarters – referring to the tragedy at Uvalde, among others – was denied.

“We’re trying to get through this year right now,” Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said. “We can’t even afford the fuel right now and if we approve the shotguns and you run out of fuel, we can’t buy any more. I have to look out for the taxpayers. I would like it to go on the budget for next year.”

In other business:

PHI Health, LLC had representatives talk to the court regarding its air ambulance service. Haden was approved to negotiate a contract with PHI Health, something he said, “would benefit every man, woman and child in the county.”

PHI Health will also be talking soon to the city councils at both Lockhart and Luling.

The burn ban remains in effect for Caldwell County. Haden said the northern part of the county is listed as having a severe drought, while the southern portion is considered in an extreme drought.

Commissioner B.J. Westmoreland asked that everyone be “safe with the extreme heat we’re having. Check on your neighbors and look out for one another.”

Haden added, “It’s tough out there and drink lots of fluids.”

The recent tire collections resulted in eight tractor tires, 111 semi-truck tires, and 2,561 passenger tires for a total of 2,680, tires that Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke said, “would not end up in a riverbed or creek bed.”

A general debris cleanup is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon in Dale on July 16, Aug. 20 in Luling, Sept. 17 in Lockhart, and Oct. 8 in Maxwell.

The supply chain issues are improving at the Black Ankle Road construction site, but it was noted that there have been a couple of issues with vandalism as barricades have been found thrown out into fields.

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