It was a dark and stormy morning when Commissioners Court convened last Thursday to consider and discuss the business of Comal County.
Commissioners approved claims of $494,554 and accepted the audit report by Holtman, Wagner & Co. for the county’s 2006 fiscal year. According to the report, Comal County received a “clean or unqualified opinion of their financial records” and was commended by the auditing firm for “their commitment to excellence” and their “centralized reporting that reflects very well on the county.”
Donna Eccleston of the Canyon Lake Rotary Club presented a check for $500 to the Comal County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program and Deputy James Moore was on hand to accept it.
“I can’t say enough about the great support that the Canyon Lake Rotary has given the D.A.R.E. project,” said Moore. “In 1990, we had 6,000 students enrolled in Comal County schools and as of 2006, there were 14,000 students enrolled. We need all the help we can get to give kids the skills they need to avoid getting involved in drugs, gangs, and violence.”
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady recommended that the other commissioners attend a D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony; “It will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s a great program for the kids.”
Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth reported that all the documents were in order to close on the purchase of 21.189 acres of land located adjacent to the Jumbo Evans Sports Park near U.S. 281. Commissioners approved this agenda item and authorized County Judge Danny Scheel to sign the closing documents.
Commissioners also set the time and place for a public hearing to consider the placement of Stop signs and No Parking signs on several roads in Precinct 1. Commissioner Jack Dawson said that the signs to be changed were be in the Preiss Heights subdivision. The public hearing was set as July 19 at 8:15 a.m. at Commissioners Court, 199 Main Plaza, New Braunfels.
LAKE OF THE HILLS RESIDENTS ASK FOR COUNTY ROADS
In other court action, residents from Lake of the Hills Estates, a subdivision located in the northwestern corner of Comal County on the boundary of Blanco County, presented a proposal to have the private roads in their neighborhood converted into roads owned and maintained by the county.
According to the initial terms of the proposal, homeowners and property owners within the subdivision would be assessed a proportionate share of the costs of repaving the roads and the county tax assessor would collect the assessments for 15 years, until the debt was repaid.
After much discussion between commissioners, residents of the subdivision, and the county engineer, it was decided to table the item until more information could be obtained.
“The conversion of private roads into public, county owned and maintained roads is an arduous process,” said County Engineer Hornseth. “This proposal is the means to bring this process to the court so commissioners and residents can discuss it and get through it.”
REPORTS OF COUNTY OFFICIALS
Comal County Emergency Management Coordinator Carol Edgett reported that the county was under a flash flood warning until 9:45 a.m. that morning, with rain expected for the next several days.
County Engineer Tom Hornseth reported that the county’s Low Volume Road demonstration conducted for an international road construction symposium was a great success and was a revelation for attendees from foreign, third-world countries, as it was for county representatives.
“We were over at Rim Rock demonstrating a paving job, and a symposium representative from India asked me about the homes and property in the area,” Hornseth related. “He was astounded that one family lived in such a large home, on three acres of land, and they were not raising crops. That makes us think about how well-off we are in this country.” Judge Scheel echoed those sentiments. He gave the opening address at the conference in Austin last week.
“Some of the people at the demonstration here were just interested in constructing a dirt bicycle path,” he said.
“One woman told me that she was pleased that a bridge had been built over a river in her town. Now she doesn’t have to strip down to her underwear to swim the river to get to work everyday.”
Hornseth also reported that the county had reached its first legal settlement on one of the environmental cases in litigation.
“The case concerned a structure in River Oaks subdivision that had been built without a septic system,” he said. “Thanks goes to our people at the county engineer’s office, the District Attorney and the J.P.’s offices.”
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Tharp said that the owners will pay some fines and must bring the septic system up to compliance.
Returning to the regular agenda items, commissioners approved an Interlocal Agreement to house Bexar County jail inmates at the Comal County Jail.
Commissioners “applauded” Comal County Jail Director David Ott for “working hard to keep the jail filled.”
The Comal Appraisal District 2008 budget was approved.
Commissioners acknowledged the filing of a petition for the creation of Comal County Emergency Services District #7 and set August 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Oak Run Middle School as the time and place for a public hearing to discuss the creation of the district that would provide a taxing entity to cover the fire protection and emergency services for a so-called “no-man’s land” section of the county, about 2,500 homes. This area has been covered by New Braunfels and Garden Ridge/Bracken fire and EMS services for the last 20 years, but overwhelming growth and budget constraints in those areas have necessitated the end of “free” services for the residents outside an established ESD as of January 1, 2008.
RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS
The county has made preparations over the last few years to undertake several construction projects. To begin the process, commissioners approved a resolution to authorize the publication of the notice of intention to issue one or more series of certificates of obligation.
The court will prepare and present a list of projects with their estimated dollar amounts needed by July 19 in order to publish the notice of a public hearing on August 9. Commissioners discussed the issuance of bonds for a large amount of money, all at one time, rather than trying to issue many smaller bonds because over the long-term, it will cost the county less in fees and interest.
In final court action, commissioners opened the bids for Inmate Commissary Services for the Comal County Jail.
The next meeting of Commissioners Court will convene at 8:15 a.m. on Thursday, July 5 at 199 Main Plaza in New Braunfels.