Commissioners approve fireworks ban
by Tim Delaney
Jun 01, 2014 | 667 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Michael Donaldson, Refugio County Extension Agent, presents the Refugio County Commissioners Court with a Building Better Texas award Tuesday morning, March 27.
Tim Delaney photo Michael Donaldson, Refugio County Extension Agent, presents the Refugio County Commissioners Court with a Building Better Texas award Tuesday morning, March 27.
REFUGIO – Refugio County commissioners approved a ban on fireworks for the next 60 days at their meeting Tuesday morning, May 27.

Refugio County Chief Deputy Sheldon Wiginton said the ban is a standard order signed every year pertaining to aerial fireworks.

He also warned that if no rain fell in 14 days, the county would be back in a drought condition, reenforcing the importance of a ban on fireworks.

The ban restricts the use of fireworks with sticks, fins or rudders.

Commissioners also voted to re-obligate surplus CIAP funds to the Austwell Wetland Information Center project.

The surplus of $34,836.89 was approved to be used for the Austwell project.

Austwell council member Mary Canales said the town has a bidder but not quite enough money to cover the cost of the project. With the surplus Coastal Impact Assistance Program money, the town will be within a couple of hundred dollars of the project cost.

Tom Bernal, who is assisting Austwell with the project, said the wetland center now will have to be rebid, but he said certain features in the project could be cut, bringing the cost down even further.

In a related topic, Commissioner Ann Lopez said no CIAP grant funds are available anymore. However, she called on Refugio County Community Development Foundation Executive Director Victor Garza to make the court award of Coastal Management Program grants.

She said the General Land Office has money every year for the program to award.

“It’s similar to CIAP with pass through funds. It’s a pool of money that’s been there for 20 years now,” Garza said.

He said about $1.8 million is available each year for two grants: a 306 administrative grant and a 306A construction grant.

Garza said the grant is a matching grant that the county would be 40 percent responsible for, but that county match could be made up in in-kind services and other resources.

Garza said he would need a letter of nomination for the Refugio County Community Development Foundation to head the program grant.

Garza said eligible parts of the county include Tivoli to Farm-to-Market 774 over to Refugio and south on U.S. Highway 77 to the county line with San Patricio.

He noted that June 18 was the pre-approval deadline followed by the final deadline of Sept. 24.

Lopez noted that each year, the county could reapply for the program grants.

“There is no limitations to applying,” Garza added.

Commissioners approved of seeking funds from the Coastal Management Program.

Lopez also sought changes to the county’s promotion policy.

“We have good people who work for us, and when a position comes open for the employee to move into, we still have to advertise,” Lopez said.

She said she called the Texas Association of Counties and asked if the county really had to advertise.

She said the county would not have to if a new section was added to the county’s employee hiring and promotion policies.

Commissioners also approved of the county’s depository: Vantage Bank.

Also, Michael Donalson, Refugio County Extension Agent, presented to the commissioners court a Building Better Texas award.

The commissioners also approved its outside audit by Wayne Beyer, who complimented the court on its “excellent budgeting.”

County Judge Rene Mascorro set June 9-13 to meet with department heads to get the budget process rolling with wish lists.

He said budget discussions could begin as early as June 23-24.

Final numbers to finalize the budget will be received July 25, and a budget has to be adopted by Sept. 1.

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