Don Pullin, Refugio fire chief, said the State Fire Marshal’s office wants to place firefighters in paid positions. In exchange, the Fire Marshal’s office will receive $85 per fireman which amounts to $1.6 million, according to Pullin. They will also require levels of equipment and training that is too costly for rural volunteer fire departments.
“This will affect every volunteer fire department in the county,” said Don Pullin, Refugio fire chief.
Pullin said the Marshal’s office was looking for money to run the state.
“If we don’t get out and talk to state legislators, we will be taken over in a year or two,” he said.
Similar legislation was introduced several years ago, Pullin said. The idea evolved as lobbyists for urban causes began to outnumber rural interests.
“We were able to stop it back then,” Pullin said.
The chief said the battle will be bigger this time around and he didn’t trust that legislators will try to sneak it through.
“We can’t sit on the sidelines with this,” Pullin said. “They’re trying to starve us out of business.”
Pullin said he will go to Austin if necessary.
Commissioner Ann Lopez said she will take the matter to the Council of Governments.
In matters concerning the relocation of River Road near Tivoli, the commissioners tabled any action until the next meeting or until landowner Larry Landgraf can meet with the court to explain why he wants the road altered.
During the last meeting, a decision was tabled until Commissioner Rod Bernal could present estimates on what the work will cost.
“It will cost $18,916 to alter River Road,” Bernal said.
Bernal told the court he has the money in his budget. The reason for the request is that the landowner is afraid that an accident will occur as well as for the safety of his grandchildren. Some things also have been stolen, according to Bernal.
However, the amount presented to the court did not include a survey which Robert McGuill, county attorney, said is necessary.
“If he wants to have the road altered, he should furnish the limestone if he wants the limestone,” said Commissioner Stanley Tuttle.
Commissioner Gary Bourland agreed.
“Is it more a matter of convenience?” asked Judge Rene Mascorro. “Will it benefit county residents by doing this?”
“It’s going to benefit him by keeping traffic away from his property,” Bernal said.
McGuill said the residents who live at the end of the road are in Calhoun County.
In matters concerning the outside audit, Lopez expressed her disappointment that the audit was not turned over for review at least one week prior to the auditor presenting it to the court.
“This is the exact report we got in 2011,” Lopez said.
Lopez pointed out that question marks were placed in the audit and the same verbiage was used as the previous year’s audit.
“Based on what this says, we have a lot to work on,” Lopez said.
However, Commissioner Stanley Tuttle disagreed, “by law, he has to put those in there,” and suggested next year’s audit would also contain the same wording.
The court also:
• Approved a $10 fee on registration in the Tax Office for the Road and Bridge fee.
• Accepted the employer retirement contribution rate at 6.79 percent and the employee rate at 7 percent.
• Authorized the submission of a grant application to the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program on behalf of WCID #1.
• Appointed Louis R. Willeke to the Gulf Bend Center board of trustees for a two-year term.
• Acknowledge employment of David Allen Thorpe as a corrections officer for the sheriff’s department effective July 1 at a salary of $35,326 per year.