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Auditor: County should not have made bank loan
by Scott Reese Willey
Jun 22, 2009 | 1127 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bee County commissioners will revisit a topic on the last meeting’s agenda, one in which they agreed to borrow $60,000 from the bank to finance acoustical improvements to the courthouse’s courtrooms.

The Monday, June 6, agenda called for “discussion and action to approve a resolution regarding finance contract for a sound system and vehicle.”

However, the commissioners did not approve a resolution. Instead, Precinct 2 Commissioner Susan Stasny and Precinct 3 Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez, and Bee County Judge David Silva simply voted to borrow the money from Prosperity Bank.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Carlos Salazar Jr. and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ronnie Olivarez were absent.

Silva explained to the Bee-Picayune on Monday that Bee County Attorney Mike Knight had assured the commissioners court that no resolution was needed.

“But we plan to revisit the subject at our next meeting anyway,” Silva said.

The county needs the $60,000 to receive a matching amount from the Texas Historical Society. The $120,000 will finance improvements to the courthouse’s two district courtrooms. The improvements include sound-dampening material on walls and ceilings, double-paned windows and a sound system to amplify speakers.

Stasny said the county had no choice but to immediately borrow the money because it could be sued for not improving the acoustics of the two courtrooms.

San Patricio County is presently being sued because of the poor sound quality of its district courtroom, she noted.

She said she feared Bee County will face a similar suit since commissioners authorized a study of the courtroom’s acoustics in 2007 and a study revealed the courtrooms had poor sound quality.

Of the $60,000 loan, $40,000 will be spent on the sound system.

Although the agenda item mentioned a vehicle, no vehicle will be purchased with the loaned money, Silva explained.

He said the vehicle referenced in the agenda is a sheriff’s department vehicle that will be put up as collateral for the loan.

However, Bee County Auditor Susanna Morón said the commissioners court should not have borrowed the money from the bank, but “entered into a contract” with a state-sanctioned lender. She said the sheriff’s department also will not put up one of its vehicles as collateral, which is against state statutes.

Morón, who was absent from the June 6 meeting, said the commissioners court was originally planned to purchase a new vehicle with the $60,000 it borrowed from the lending institution.

The next commissioners court meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 22.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the commissioners courtroom, on the first floor of the Bee County Courthouse.

The meeting is open to the public.

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