@KingWm

Fayette County, Texas

Commissioners Court Archives

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

The Fayette County Commissioners Court official web page can be found here:

https://www.co.fayette.tx.us/page/fayette.Commissioners.Court

Meeting agenda and minutes can be found here:

https://www.co.fayette.tx.us/page/fayette.Public.Notices

Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports can be found here:

https://www.co.fayette.tx.us/page/fayette.Financial.CAFR

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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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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FaCoTx Com Court 3/28/2024 – Commissioner Questions RT Traffic Stop Report

It was another very routine meeting, but there was a little discussion on elections and various grant funds. The most interesting part was probably the questions Commissioner McBroom asked about the Round Top traffic stops in the Sheriff’s Office report. It may seem innocuous at first glance, but I think there may be more questions regarding the nature of these private security agreements in the near future.

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FaCoTx Com Court 9/14/2023 – Max Tax Increase (4.7%) Approved By 3/2 Vote

There have been no changes to the 2024 budget, and it was adopted today by a 3/2 over the objections of the Court’s two [apparent] fiscal conservatives. Le sigh… They increased the property tax rates as much as they could this year (4.7%) and increased spending by 8.9%. There were many public comments related to increased spending and dwindling fund balances and members of the Court finally responded. Also, don’t miss my response to being removed from Commissioners Court on 8/24, the comparison of the libertarian, liberal and conservative perspectives, it’s Constitution Week in Fayette County and watch a bonus video explanation of tax rates.

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FaCoTx Com Court 8/30/2023 – Court Divided Between Fiscal Conservatism vs Liberalism

It was refreshing to see so many in attendance at and participating in the public hearing on the budget today and to hear so many comments. Nearly all were critical as the sustainability of the increased spending was questioned repeatedly, given uncertain and limited future revenue growth and low fund balances. Commissioners McBroom and Berckenhoff deliver lengthy statements with great commentary as they defend their positions.

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FaCoTx Com Court 8/24/2023 – Criticism Unwelcome

There was not much to report on until the end of the meeting. My recording device records crystal clear audio when it is on, but apparently I have discovered another bad battery. My recording stops just before the budget workshop begins and since I do not have a recording to share, I am not doing a report (check your local papers). My recommendation is to petition your Commissioners Court to record all meeting audio and make it publicly available.

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FaCoTx Com Court 8/10/2023 – Debate & Dissent But No Cuts, What Elephant?

Finally, a meeting with some meat in it. After weeks of mild discussion without debate, the budget finally gets some much needed scrutiny and criticism. Unfortunately, the response of the Court was not to cut spending (at 9.3%, the largest increase since 2012), but to increase revenue projections to more or less balance the budget. A lot of things were discussed, but the elephant in the room was clearly the salary contest during the discussion on elected officials’ salaries. Awkward doesn’t begin to describe it. In fact, written words can’t do it justice, you must listen to the entire conversation and judge for yourself.

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FaCoTx Com Court 8/03/2023 – No One Calls Bluff, Judge To Get 10%?

It was another very short meeting at just over an hour. Beyond the routine, there were three primary topics covered: certified tax rate (with explanation), budget fund balances and deficits (which contained an error on my part) and Senate Bill 22, which will bring new “perpetual” funding from the state for local law enforcement. The big story? They are proposing nearly a $1 million deficit and there was no discussion about making any cuts.

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FaCoTx Com Court 7/27/2023 – Judge Goes All In With 10% Bluff?

Shock & awe is the order of the day! There were the usual routine matters but don’t miss the budget workshop. The Sheriff bet 7%, EMS raised it to 9% and the Judge went all in with 10% raises for those two departments (just 5% for the rest). It’s generous but is it affordable, or good policy? You be the judge. The discussion was very pleasant and informative, again, learn about your government. Remember those sky high property taxes? The clock is ticking as all decisions will be made in 7 days, on 8/3, so that the proposed budget can be approved on 8/10.

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FaCoTx Com Court 7/13/2023 – St. Mark’s Revival, Budget Requests & Another 5% Raise?

It was a crowded courtroom today with a revolving door for a marathon meeting. Sam & Diana Wilson, of Hospital Center of Excellence (HCEO), lead off with public comments related to St. Mark’s. There was interesting discussion related to road bonds, our uniform company and especially the bids for property left over from a property tax sale, but without a doubt, the jewel of this meeting was the budget workshop. Private orgs requesting community assistance had detailed written and oral presentations, listen & learn about your community. The smaller county departments followed with their requests, stay up to date. And the last item? “That subject”, another 5% pay increase?

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FaCoTx Com Court 6/22/2023 – EMS, Grants, Recycling, Employee Benefits & Budget Workshop

What a great meeting! With 27 items on the agenda, I expected a longer one, but we ended at an hour and 37 minutes. There was a lot of great discussion today on several items. The EMS and Grant reports were both informative and the recycling center was a hot topic today. They even recognized that there are too many strings attached to some grants, rejecting one, and that relying on money from the State for our budget could be dangerous. Employee benefits were discussed again, and the budget work shop was very informative as well. Don’t miss it!

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FaCoTx Com Court 6/8/2023 – TAC Benefits & Budget Calendar

Commissioners Court was brief again today and the hot topic was certainly the TAC presentation of the 2024 employee benefits renewal plans and rates. With 73 minutes and 21 agenda items, the routine was interrupted with minimal discussion related to subdivisions, the hazard mitigation grant and a survey of donated real estate. Did you know the County carries an insurance policy for employee theft? The budget calendar was also discussed, and I asked when the public would begin seeing department budget requests. Don’t miss the budget and TAC discussions.

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FaCoTx Com Court 5/11/2023 – Noise, EMS & Audit Controversy

There was a testy exchange between the County Auditor and the County Clerk during this meeting. I am not aware of any backstory; it seemed like there was animosity from the beginning. From my vantage point, the County Clerk expressed a valid concern regarding the complexity of auditing the Clerk’s Office and requested an auditing firm with experience specific to that type of office.

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FaCoTx Com Court 4/27/2023 – Noise Nuisance Dominates Discussion

It was another fairly routine and brief meeting, but there was lengthy continued discussion related to the noise nuisance in Precinct #2 that has been reported on. Several member of the public spoke and they were well prepared. My heart breaks for them, we should do something to help. There was further discussion on Fayette School Lands and hunters, a new County Bank Depository and fuel is still expensive. In other news, St. Mark’s change in status still has not significantly affected the County budget.

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The End!