County Commissioner Pete Jauer said that there were many brush piles that needed to be burned by area residents, and with recent rains and more rain in the forecast, he felt it was appropriate to lift the current burn ban at this time.
Jauer made a motion to lift the ban and it was seconded by County Commissioner James Rosales. The motion passed on a 5-0 vote.
In other business, the court approved sheriff and constable fees for 2013 for civil service by these offices and direction of such fees to the comptroller.
The court approved a grant application for the TxCDBG Program, community development fund, on behalf of Karnes County. The grant will seek grant funding for a 180,000 gallon stand-pipe for elevated water storage for the Gillett community. The total grant amount is $275,000.
The court approved authorizing the county’s road and bridge department to request assistance from Marathon Oil for road repairs on County Roads 168, 169, 170, 171, 173 and 180.
A schedule of Commissioners Court meetings for the upcoming calendar year was reviewed and approved by the court. A total of 23 regular meetings are set, with most happening on the second Tuesday and last working day of each month.
After an extended discussion, the court went into closed session to seek legal advice regarding a proposed tax abatement agreement sought by Energy Trasfer, and to deliberate financial incentives sought by Energy Transfer.
County Attorney Robert Busselman recommended that the court discuss the matter in open session, as none of the exceptions to the Texas Open Meetings Act apply in this situation.
Ross Fisher, who represents Karnes County Commissioners Court as legal counsel on different matters, disagreed with Busselman, stating that in his opinion, there are two exceptions that apply – two reasons for discussing the item in closed session.
Commissioner James Rosales said he would not participate in the closed session, relying on the advice of the county attorney.
The court adjourned into closed session after a 4-1 vote to do so with Rosales casting the only vote opposed. When the meeting reconvened into open session, no action was taken on the agenda item.