With temperatures soaring well above the century mark and little rain to report for the month of June, a countywide burn ban was enacted Monday by the Schleicher County Commissioners Court.
Fire Chief Jerry Jones appeared at Monday’s meeting of the commissioners court to request the ban.
Questions about outdoor cooking came up as the commissioners considered the pending July 4th holiday. Jones said that outdoor cooking would be OK in an enclosed barbecue pit, but that no open fires should be allowed.
Special emphasis was given to a fireworks ban, already in place. The fireworks ban was adopted at the commissioners June 11th meeting.
Jones then asked that the county purchase more burn ban signs to replace some that have been stolen.
In other business, the commissioners heard from San Angelo accountant Don McKee, who presented the county’s 2011 audit on behalf of his firm, Reed, McKee & Company.
For the most part, McKee gave a glowing report on the county’s finances. He noted that the county had assets totaling more than $5.5 million at the end of 2011, which included $1.51 million in bond proceeds intended for construction of a new swimming pool.
McKee further noted that the county is in good shape with an unexpended $731,085 remaining in a contingency fund.
In a “management letter” McKee offered only minor suggestions. Among those was that County Treasurer Karen Henderson track the check reconciliation each month by individual county departments.
McKee also recommended that the Sheriff’s Department place a detailed invoice in the Inmate Commissary Fund to match checks that were issued. McKee noted that the department has already been collecting the information, but was not placing it in the file.
Otherwise, McKee told the court everything looked good and said the Sheriff’s Department can send a copy of the audit to the Jail Standards Commission.
Perhaps the only somber note in the county’s audit came when discussion turned to the retirement fund. McKee said that a downturn in the economy and the stock market has left the plan underfunded by some $527,000. He said there would not be enough in the account if everyone were to cash out by the end of 2012.
McKee noted he had tracked the retirement fund in the audit and said that it might be considered an “unfunded liability.”
Currently the county contributes 10.72 percent of an employees salary into the retirement fund while the employee contributes seven percent. He suggested it might be time for the county to switch to a plan funded totally by employee contributions.
Road Superintendent Mark Graves was present to report that the paving on County Road 412 (Rabbit Road) was completed and he praised his crew for a job well done.
Graves explained that he had received a request to reduce the speed limit from 45 to 25 mph on the CR 238 (Six Mile Road) on Powell Ranch. He said he advised that the action would need to come from the commissioners who have the authority to lower the speed limit to 30 mph.
The court briefly discussed using radar to see if oilfield traffic could be slowed down before changing speed limit signs.
Judge Bradley said he would visit with Sheriff Doran about radar surveillance along the road.
Judge Bradley expliained that County Clerk Peggy Williams is considering a computer program to track burial plots in the
Eldorado Cemetery. She said the program would be purchased with donated funds. It will cost $800 per year to maintain the program.
Treasurer Karen Henderson then distributed the county’s financial reports. She noted that a payment of 100,803.98 had been made on May 8th on the county’s pool bond. Of that amount $70,000 was applied to principal debt while the remainder when to pay interest.
Before adjourning, the commissioners approved the county funds report and check register.
County Judge Charlie Bradley presided over Monday’s meeting with Commissioners Matt Brown, Lynn Meador and Johnny
Mayo in attendance. Commissioner Kirk Griffin was absent.
The next meeting of the Schleicher County Commissioners Court is slated for 9 a.m. on Monday July 9, 2012 in the first-floor meeting room of the county courthouse.