County Judge Rene Mascorro said although Barrera’s investment did not meet the required $150,000 investment, the commissioners court “still has discretion to offer and abatement.”
Barrera spent $77,192 renovating the old Exxon station at 611 S. Alamo to be used as his law office.
In Barrera’s application for the abatement, he wrote, “I expect to eventually employ two local individuals and relocate the bulk of my practice to Refugio.”
Commissioner Gary Bourland praised Barrera for taking the old station and fixing it up.
“He’s taken a piece of junk and made a really nice building,” Bourland said.
Bourland added that if anyone else spent that kind of money to improve an eyesore, he would consider an abatement, as well.
The five year tax abatement begins with an 80 percent abatement, followed in subsequent years of 60 percent, 40 percent, 20 percent and zero in the final year.
Commissioners also approved a low bid for construction of an outfall pipe to San Antonio Bay replacing the current 48-inch pipe in Austwell.
Hector Castaneda of LNV Engineering said his company would oversee the project. He recommended Lester Contracting of Port Lavaca with the low bid of $116, 374.
Castaneda said the bid comes in well within the $148,000 in Coastal Impact Assistance Program funds for the project.
Castaneda said Lester Contracting has “more experience in this kind of work,” than do the other three bidders.
Commissioners also approved allowing a 4-H shooting club the use of the shooting range at the Refugio County Fairgrounds.
Tom White said he and others were in the process of starting up the 4-H shooting club and were “looking to find a home for us.”
White said he and two other adults were taking range coach training, and the interest level for a 4-H shooting club was high in the county.
He said the club would begin with pistol shooting – .22 caliber competition.
He also said the club would look into any repairs of the range, perhaps with a matching grant with the Refugio County Sheriff’s Office or the county.
He said the club already has insurance.
Chief Deputy Sheldon Wiginton said as long as the group was restricted to supervision and had liability, he didn’t see any problem with it.
White also said to avoid conflict of the use of the range, he would provide a schedule when the shooting club would use the range.
“I think it is a good idea,” Mascorro said. He made the motion to approve and Commissioner Rod Bernal seconded.
The Commissioners Court also approved annual interlocal assistance agreements with the county’s municipalities for animal control.
Here are the amounts from each city based on population: Austwell, $1,557; Bayside, $3,116; Refugio, $29,080; and Woodsboro, $16,619.
The county provides the animal control officers for towns’ enforcement of animal ordinances.
Commissioners also approved an interlocal agreement with Lubbock County to participate in a Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases pool.
The participation requires an out of pocket fee of $2,313 that goes into a pool for counties hosting capital cases.
“In essence, it’s an insurance policy to avoid or limit expenses,” Mascorro said.