Court orders fireworks ban
by Tim Delaney, Progress editor
Dec 07, 2012 | 1807 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GEORGE WEST – Live Oak County commissioners unanimously approved a ban on certain fireworks on Friday, Nov. 30.

The ban’s order was signed by County Judge Jim Huff and specifically pertained to “skyrockets with sticks” and “missiles with fins” within Live Oak County.

However, the ban does not include ground fireworks such as firecrackers.

Anybody who violates the order commits a Class C misdemeanor.

Also, commissioners approved an $8,400 purchase of special brush tires and rims for the Swinney Switch Volunteer Fire Department, as requested by Fire Chief Lonnie Messer.

Messer said the fire in the middle of Lake Corpus Christi flared up again during Thursday night.

The fire had begun on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, and had burned down to smouldering before reigniting.

Messer added that the fire won’t go out until all the timber breaks down.

Messer needed to retrofit

It was noted that the lake is practically dry, leaving lots of dried old trees and vegetation.

Commissioner Jim Basset said Lake Corpus Christi is at 17 percent capacity, a level most people aren’t aware of.

Messer said the cause of the fire was bottle rockets.

“The only thing we need is the rain,” Messer said.

The tires and rim deliveries were expected by Dec. 15.

In other business, LOC Tax Assessor-Collector Virginia Horton encountered some flak over her request for part-time help in her office. She requested hiring recently elected Mary Ham Gonzales at $10 an hour during the month of December.

Horton is resigning from her position at the end of December.

Horton said hiring Gonzales was a good way to train her to do vehicle registration, a process the state has no school to help newly elected officials.

Horton challenged the court, saying the hiring of Gonzales was legal.

Commissioner Bassett said he didn’t agree with the hiring because of ethical reasons.

“I just didn’t think it looks good,” Bassett said.

“Tell me where you can deny me part-time help,” Horton said.

She said the money for the help was in her budget, and she had a right to hire Gonzales.

Horton’s request passed with commissioners Emilio Garza, Richard Lee and County Judge Jim Huff voting to approve Horton’s request.

Bassett voted against the measure, and Commissioner Donna Mills abstained from voting.

Also, County Auditor Tragina Smith reported on the 2011 audit.

“We did really well,” she said.

She explained the reasons for the good audit results included county departments staying within their budgets and the county experiencing an increase in sales tax.

“The general fund increased by $2 million ... mainly sales tax,” she said.

The audit was performed by the Corpus Christi firm of Lovvorn & Kieschnich.

Commissioners voted to accept the audit.

Commissioners also approved amending a cooperation agreement with Bexar County for holding prisoners at the Live Oak County Jail.

The agreement called for $45 a day plus $10 transportation fee for each prisoner.

Sheriff Larry Busby later said the amendment to the existing agreement ensures Bexar County that the Live Oak County Jail is in compliance with PREA, a federal act.

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