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Burn ban up for debate

By Odessa American, Texas
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 24--After several days of rain since the last commissioners' court meeting, the burn ban is once again at issue before commissioners.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Freddie Gardner, who often is in favor of keeping burn bans to a bare minimum, placed a request to lift the burn ban on the agenda.

The burn ban was enacted June 9, in time to also ban certain fireworks from sale before the July 4 holiday, and has been in effect ever since, even amid a summer that has seen a number of storms.

County Judge Susan Redford said she doesn't think it's time to lift the burn ban based on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index, a scale designed to represent drought conditions in Texas.

Commissioners usually enact a burn ban when the number hits 575. It currently sits at 571.

"One 100-degree day, and it's going to be right back up there," Redford said. "Five-seventy-five is a crucial number. A small dip below 575 does not indicate that we are below severe drought conditions."

The second tax rate hearing will commence at the beginning of the meeting. The proposed tax rate, which is 30.2830 cents per $100 valuation, is more than the current rate of 29.7296 cents per $100 valuation; but just under the rollback rate of 30.2879. The budget as currently proposed adds about $5.5 million in expenditures from last fiscal year.

Commissioners are also set to hear a presentation from Freese Nichols on the Midessa Study, an expanded Highway 191 corridor study ordered when the leaders in the Midland-Odessa Transportation Organization decided they wanted more information about the corridor spanning further north at FM 1788 down to Interstate 20.

Commissioners also will:

--Consider the resolution for the 39th Annual Permian Basin Fair and Expo.

--Consider a resolution authorizing an application for a Texas Department of Agriculture grant to benefit Meals on Wheels.

--Consider approval of a general election on Nov. 4, the polling locations, and a joint resolution to hold a general election for Ector County with the city of Odessa general election.

--Consider the commissioners' court schedule for 2014-2015.

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--Consider the holiday schedule for Ector County for 2014-2015.

--Consider a variance to the burn ban for the Permian Basin Fair and Expo on Sept. 13 for a fireworks display.

--Consider the 2014-2015 budget for the Emergency Communication District of Ector County.

--Consider bonds for county court at law 2 judge and county attorney.

--Consider the county clerk's annual records archival plan for FY 2015.

--Consider a donation of trees valued at $1,500 from TXU for Gardendale Park.

--Consider authorizing Ector County to pay for early enrollment for 4-H members.

--Consider the application for group basic life/AD&D/supplemental life insurance through Reliastar Life Insurance Company through a proposal submitted by Voya Financial.

--Consider the transition of the county's environmental enforcement software and award the contract to Decade Software.

--Consider the approval of the purchase of a generator to be placed at the streets and highways complex.

--Consider the bid for the drip irrigation system for the airport terminal landscape project.

--Accept the awarded victim coordinator and liaison grant.

--Consider the 2014-2015 budget for the PHEP and Triple O grants from the Department of State Health Services.

--Consider the agreement for landscaping service at Schlemeyer Airport.

--Consider the interlocal agreement with Scofflaw Services.

--Consider an agreement for equipment demonstration of a BI TAD Plus Cellular Electronic Monitoring Unit.

--Consider amending the Motorola Radio/CAD contract to eliminate the CAD project and add the required radios necessary to finish the radio installs throughout the county.

--Consider approval of a vendor agreement for FY 2015 with the Permian Basin Area Agency on Aging for the continuation of congregate and home delivered meals at the senior centers.

--Consider hiring a paralegal at a step 3 in the county attorney's office based on previous experience with the county.

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--Consider hiring an investigator at step 6 in the county attorney's office based on previous law enforcement experience.

--Consider the approval of the definition of "waiting period" for eligibility of employee coverage under the county health benefits plan.

--Consider a change of health plan document to reflect that employees who regularly work 30 hours per week will be considered full time employees and entitled to health benefits as per the Affordable Care Act.

--Consider compensation of an expert for eight hours of overtime testing on the transition of the county's Odyssey system to software as a service.

--Consider a replat in Westland Subdivision.

--Consider a replat in Jac Acres.

--Consider the consent agenda: move $360 from county judge administrative travel with $174 going to postage and $186 going to subscriptions; move $200 from educational travel to office supplies for the project manager.

--Consider a $32,832 budget amendment from the unreserved fund balance, with $18,561 going to pretrial intervention fund salaries, $832 going to Social Security taxes, $12,000 going to health insurance, and $1,439 going to retirement.

--Consider a $25,000 budget amendment from the unreserved fund balance to the visiting judge expense.

--Consider and approve the accounts payable fund requirements report for Aug. 25 and review county financial statements and reports.

​Follow Odessa American on twitter @OdessaAmerican, like us on Facebook at Odessa American or call 432-333-7714 for the main newsroom line.

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(c)2014 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)

Visit the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas) at www.oaoa.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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