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Court orders countywide burn ban
by Tim Delaney
Aug 16, 2014 | 664 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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County Judge Rene Mascorro congratulates Election Administrator Rachael Garcia for her 15 years of service to Refugio County on Tuesday morning, Aug. 12.
Tim Delaney photo County Judge Rene Mascorro congratulates Election Administrator Rachael Garcia for her 15 years of service to Refugio County on Tuesday morning, Aug. 12.
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Tim Delaney photo
County Judge Rene Mascorro congratulates Justice of the Peace Lorraine Lopez for her 20 years of service to Refugio County on Tuesday morning, Aug. 12.
Tim Delaney photo County Judge Rene Mascorro congratulates Justice of the Peace Lorraine Lopez for her 20 years of service to Refugio County on Tuesday morning, Aug. 12.
slideshow
REFUGIO – Refugio County commissioners approved a 60-day ban on burning in Refugio County on Tuesday morning, Aug. 12.

Refugio County Chief Deputy Sheldon Wiginton said the county was in a drought situation again, and he recommended the ban.

He added that the county has had several fires from blow-out tires and chains dragging.

Also, commissioners approved acknowledgement that Southcross Energy Partners has committed $56,000 for expanding the community center in Bonnie View.

Commissioner Stanley Tuttle said that he has added $33,000 to his Precinct 2 budget for the remainder of the community center project, including a concrete porch (16 by 96 feet) and electricity and air conditioning.

Tuttle said he made cuts in his budget and is over $10,000 after those cuts.

Commissioners also heard Commissioner Ann Lopez’s plea for a new chip spreader for road work. The current chip spreader has chronic breakdowns.

Commissioners discussed financing a new chip spreader.

County Judge Rene Mascorro said the county had no marginal debt, and financing would not affect the tax rate.

The chip spreader cost, which could be more than $100,0000, will be included in on budget planning in the next couple of weeks.

Commissioners also heard a plea for monetary help from Tim Hornback, executive director of the Golden Crescent Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Hornback said CASA recruits and trains volunteers to be guardians of abused children until their cases are resolved and they are out of foster homes.

He said as of July 31, five children were being helped in Refugio County.

He estimated that it cost about $1,300 per child per year to serve.

He noted that his organization has about half of what is needed, but is requesting help from the county if possible.

County Judge Rene Mascorro said the request could be considered in next year’s budget.

Hornback also mentioned that training of CASA volunteers would take place in Refugio on Oct. 21, 23, and 25.

Commissioners approved a five-year abatement for A.J. Carter III and Judy Carter for their $150,000 investment in a new residence in Austwell.

The abatement begins in 2015 with 80 percent of taxes excused; in following years the percentage goes down to 60 percent, 40 percent and 20 percent.

Commissioners approved the low bids for road materials: G.P. Transport for crushed limestone; Vulcan Construction Materials for aggregate; and Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions for emulsion asphalt.

Betty Collier with GrantWorks Inc. said the next step after accepting bids for materials in the process to comply with the Texas Department of Transportation Infrastructure Fund grant was to wait for the environmental study, which is expected in about two weeks.

She after that, word from TxDOT to begin work will come. The county has several county roads up for repair with the grant money.

Commissioner Ann Lopez said an unannounced visit by the Texas Commission on Environment Quality resulted in the TCEQ not being aware that her precinct had a transfer station and a used oil collection station.

Lopez said she has 30 days to apply for a permit for each and turn in an annual report of what was brought to the transfer station.

Tuttle estimated that the transfer station and used oil collection station have been there since the early 1990s.

Lopez said the TCEQ requirements will be tough to comply with and probably incur additional costs to the county, including the cost of additional containers for separation of certain materials.

Also, after a lengthy workshop on an airport agreement lease contract, commissioners tabled the item until County Attorney Todd Steele could make corrections and suggestions as noted during the workshop.

Commissioners also recognized Election Administrator Rachael Garcia for 15 years service to the county. And Justice of the Peace Lorraine Lopez was recognized for 20 years of service
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