During the two-hour meeting, the court rejected the outside auditor’s report until the report can be reviewed; issued a stay on Elderly Services’ decision to cut three dialysis patients from the county’s transportation service; and released $130,000 in Federal Aviation Administration entitlement funds for the Refugio County Airport to TxDOT.
Commissioner Ann Lopez told the court she had a problem with the outside audit by Beyer & Company. The report was handed to the commissioners during the meeting.
“I’ve asked for the past two years to get the report two weeks in advance,” Lopez said. “I still have not had a chance to review the report.”
Lopez said not providing the report ahead of time was inexcusable.
“I’m listening to a (audit) report without having read the report,” Lopez said.
Beyer said he “had a hard time getting the information.”
The retirement of former auditor Diana Moss was given as part of the reason for the difficulty.
Approval was tabled.
Edith Collins, director of Elderly Services, requested and was granted $25,755 to cover a shortfall in the budget.
The county judge invited the three dialysis patients to the meeting who were told they will no longer be provided transportation to their treatments after Sept. 30. Lopez asked for the matter to be put on the agenda.
“Will this action (granting $25,755) help you with the three dialysis patients?” Lopez asked.
“No, ma’am,” Collins said. “We’ve given them through Sept. 30, after that time, it’s discontinued... it takes up too much of our time and costs $18,000 a year.”
Collins said the patients had “other options... they’re not as pleasant but they do have options.”
Collins said their options were to change dialysis centers.
Lopez and the patients all refuted Collins’ claim.
Fran Herring said her doctor wanted her near a hospital that could provide the critical care she needs. Neither service Collins recommended provides transportation to Victoria.
Rita Ramirez said the BCAA drivers do not help her in and out of the van. On one trip she fell and broke her ankle.
“I’m terrified to get in that van,” she said.
Amalia Lara said, “Ms. Collins has given me trouble from day one.”
Lopez said Collins had attended the same Council of Governments meetings that she had attended. In those meetings, the problems with the two other companies were discussed.
“Those (options) are not reliable,” Lopez said.
“BCAA cannot go into Victoria,” Commissioner Rod Bernal said.
“I am not responsible for getting alternative transportation,” Collins said.
Jimmy Ramirez made an impassioned plea for the county to continue taking the three residents.
“We’re tax-paying citizens of Refugio... I’m 68, and my eyesight is failing and I’m leery of driving her myself... I hate to drive out of town but with 14 (county) holidays, I have to take her,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said he had an accident on one of the trips which was his fault.
“It’s easy to say, just cut them out but these are people — this should be more about people, not money,” he said.
Commissioner Gary Bourland also weighed in, saying that after the three residents deplete all other options for rides from family members and friends, “then the county should help where we can.”
“Elderly Services has 268 people who need to be served as well,” Mascorro said.
Lopez asked for a workshop with hospital representatives, along with the commissioners.
In FAA funding matters, Lopez told the commissioners the county does not have a committee or a master plan for the airport. Before the county can use the funds from the FAA, a master plan must be in place.
Road budget update
The commissioners gave the court an update of the roads in their precincts.
Lopez said the precinct will need approximately $52,666 to seal coat one-half a mile of Suntide Road. The update on Pct. 2 was presented by the county judge in the absence of Stanley Tuttle.
Pct. 2 requested $250,000 to repair 3 1/2 miles of road and replace six culverts.
Bernal said the roads in Pct. 4 were in good shape and required $60,000 for upkeep and replacement of traffic devices.
Bourland said 50 road signs were down, defaced or removed and he required $120,000 to continue upkeep.
In other matters, the court:
• Tabled a request by Larry Landgraf to relocate a road on his property until a cost estimate can be obtained.
• Acknowledged an employee status change for Richard Revilla from a class II roadhand to a class I roadhand for Pct. 4, effective June 16.
• Approved Bayside’s request for the Copano Bay Shoreline Erosion Protection contingent on the agency approving pending extension and amendments.
• Renewed the resolution between the county and the Refugio and Woodsboro Lions Clubs to use the kitchen facilities at the Expo Center during the annual county fair.
• Approved a request to apply for $10,000 USDA Rural Housing Preservation Grant.
• Approved a request from Teak Midstream to place a pipeline under Steindorf Road.