FaCoTxCC 6/13/2024 – Benefits, Budgets & Salary Requests Discussed

It was a very nice and productive meeting today, beginning with public comments on Juneteenth and the windmill farm. Subdivision regulation via enforcement gets a boost today, there is a lengthy EMS report covering billing issues and scholarships, and the Muldoon Park and the airport construction project and were discussed. The main event, however, was the discussion on employee benefits, the budget and payroll. Don’t miss the last few minutes.

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How To Download County-Wide Property Appraised Value Data for Excel

Did you know that the county-wide dataset containing all the appraised values for all property in Fayette County is available for download online?  Click here to visit the Fayette County Appraisal District website at  and click on the “Shapefile Downloads” button to download the current data.  I learned recently that the file with the “.dbf” extension can be open directly in Excel.  The tax year is specified in the file so make sure you have the current year and not the last.  Sometimes, a friendly reminder is necessary to get FCAD to generate the updated files.  If you don’t have the software to view a shapefile (map data), you can use their interactive map by clicking here.

Fayette County, Texas Courthouse East Side 8/26/2022

FaCoTxCC 5/30/2024 – Broadband Committee Takes Shape

At 12 minutes, this was one of the shortest meetings I have attended. The court spent a couple minutes approving a CVTC easement and a contract for the demolition of the last flood-damaged home. Last November, a ballot proposition to investigate the expansion of broadband internet access was passed and the implementation of this proposal appeared before the Court today and consumed most of its time. Commissioner Sternadel, Kelly Ellison (the CEO of CVTC) and I were appointed to serve on the Broadband Committee which will study the availability of broadband internet access in the County.

FaCoTxCC 5/23/2024 – Employee Insurance, Subdivision Regulations & Budget Amendments

Today in Commissioners Court, Emancipation Day was declared, and the employee insurance renewal was discussed. The new subdivision ordinance received its first test since adoption and survived. We hear reports from the Grant Specialist and EMC, the EMS director, Chief Deputy Noviski and the Court approved a new part time animal control officer. The most interesting thing, however, were the budget amendments. Precinct 2 Commissioner Sternadel asked for a half a million dollar budget amendment to build a bridge which will vastly diminish Precinct 2’s reserve funds. No word on why it was not approved in last year’s budget or why it can’t wait until next year when it can be budgeted and collected from taxpayers.

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FaCoTx LGISD 5/20/2024 – Incumbents Sworn In, Officer Elections Held

Courtesy of Jeff Parker: The public portion of the meeting was fairly routine at 42 minutes long.  One public speaker addressed the board on the library materials issue.  The board approved borrowing $2 million for 15 years via a Maintenance Tax Note – interest rate 4.495% plus $45,000 fee to the company that helped line up the lending bank.  Intruder Detection Audit Report – there was one “finding”, but the details were to be discussed in closed session and not made available to the public.  Incumbent trustees Mr. Calvin Mersiovsky and Dr. Karen Roberts were sworn in to begin their three-year term.

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FaCoTxCC 5/9/2024 – Jail Comms, Muldoon Park, Airport Hangar Lease Dominate Discussion

At 70 minutes, this meeting was a bit longer than normal and there were lengthy discussions on several topics. This month is declared “Older Americans Month”, it was acknowledged that the County could install a culvert for a cemetery and the interlocal agreement with County VFWs was approved. Most discussion revolved around jail inmate communications contracts (very interesting topic), the maintenance requirements of Muldoon Park and the airport hangar leases.

Wedge Log Splitter Divided Splintered

FaCoTxCC 5/2/2024 – Divided Court Approves SB22 Budget

The tension in the Courtroom today was palpable as the SB22 budget was narrowly approved by a 3/2 vote. While the simpler and generally smaller requests made by the Constables and County Attorney’s Office received little scrutiny, the request by the Sheriff’s Office drew criticism and ultimately divided the Court. At issue was the overall use of the funds, the size and distribution of the pay increases, the approval authority and the audit trail. Some things can’t be reported on, you just have to hear it for yourself. This is one such occasion. It’s only 16 minutes.

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FaCoTxCC 4/29/2024 – Sheriff’s Office Salaries Increase 30% In One Year?

The first order of business was to approve the language of the amendment to the subdivision regulations. I support most of the changes, but the court went too far by setting the minimum lot width of 170’ when 150’ would do. The second topic covered the use of the SB22 grant funds. There was no information available to the public at the meeting and no presentation was made. All they said was that they wanted to use 100% of the grant funds for salary. After getting official copies of the spreadsheets, I can see why there is so much secrecy as the proposed raises would represent a total increase in overall compensation of 30% or more on average, in one year! The final decision will be made Thursday 5/2.


FaCoTxCC 4/25/2024 – Maximize Liberty, Not Regulations, Plus a Tax Abatement

Today’s meeting was another one with great participation. There were a number of topics with heavy discussion but the most interesting was the application requesting a 100% tax abatement for a giant battery project and the pending changes to the subdivision regulations. While the proposed increase in subdivision platting will help ensure compliance with minimum standards, setting the minimum lot width so high at 170 feet will adversely affect real estate development by making it more difficult to develop affordable, minimum-sized lots. Regulations become onerous and over burdensome particularly when they go beyond the minimum requirement to protect public health and welfare and try creating Utopia.

Subdivision Sample Pencil Lots

FaCoTxCC 4/22/2024 – Subdivision Fast Lane Closing Soon!

My crusade to update the subdivision regulations continued recently as I objected to the Pope subdivision on the grounds that it wasn’t platted.  With 15 lots, many long and skinny, it wasn’t clear whether the proposed residential development was viable or posed a threat to public health and welfare.  Essentially sustaining my objection, the Court called this special meeting to consider my recommendations.  It was the most productive meeting in recent memory with heavy public attendance and participation.  The Court adopted most of my recommendations in principle, leaving some details to be determined.  I write this knowing the future and I cannot express enough the importance of this hour-long conversation.

Subdivision Sample Pencil Lots

FaCoTx Com Court 4/11/2024 – Close the Subdivision Fast Lane!

Commissioners Court was poised to grant a variance to a 15-lot subdivision, eliminating the plat requirement, when a couple timely questions drew attention to the flawed subdivision platting procedure. Don’t miss this very important 13 minute discussion. State law requires a plat for all subdivisions, with few exceptions, yet our County continuously grants variances for large subdivisions without public dedications, approving them with little consideration and without plats. It’s time to close the subdivision fast lane and start considering all subdivisions more carefully. In other news, 3 of the 5 members of the Court agreed it was better to read the airport hangar contract before approving it.