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County hopes to pare budget, keep raises
by Bill Clough
Jul 11, 2012 | 637 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Cutting to the chase – or at least to the budget – will be the order of the day at two Bee County budget workshops this month.

Bee County commissioners have scheduled the workshops for July 17 and July 24.

“We’re going to cut quite a bit,” County Judge David Silva told commissioners at their regular meeting July 9.

Over the last month, the heads of 30 county departments have submitted their budget requests, which Precinct 1 County Commissioner Carlos Salazar says are just “wish lists.”

“The request from the sheriff’s office alone is more than $1 million,” he said.

County Auditor Blandina Costley told commissioners that if they approved all the requests, the county would find itself $1,800,000 in the hole.

“We hope to be able to preserve raises,” Silva said. “We haven’t had raises in at least two or three years.”

At the same session, commissioners learned the county’s electric bill for 2014, 2015 and 2016 would be at least 7 percent below the market price, because it belongs to P3, the largest public power pool comprised of 75 counties, cities, municipal organizations and school districts.

P3 program manager David Quinn told commissioners his company’s market analysis indicates the next three months are favorable for P3 to procure a favorable rate for electricity for the next three years from 152 retail suppliers.

P3 literature indicates that its customers have saved $123 million in electrical costs since the company formed in 2002.

Commissioners also scheduled a public hearing for reducing the speed limit on County Road 107 to 35 mph as a safety precaution because of heavy truck traffic associated with the $280 million Silver Oak cryogenic gas processing plant owned by Teak Midstream.

The plant processes 200 million cubic feet of natural gas piped daily through 200 miles of high-pressure pipelines from the Eagle Ford Shale operation.

Teak Midstream reportedly expects the plant to bring in $350,000 annually to the county in tax revenues.

Currently, no speed limit is posted on County Road 107, which means the limit defaults to 60 mph.

That public hearing is at the next regular meeting of the commissioners, at 10 a.m. July 23.

Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.
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