Brown County Commissioners voted to not ban fireworks of any kind during the New Year’s holiday – a reversal to what has been done for the last several years.
The standard ban is to not allow airborne fireworks – specifically “rockets with sticks and missiles with fins” anywhere in the county, though other non-projectile fireworks were typically not banned. Incorporated cities in the county – Bangs, Brownwood and Early – do not allow fireworks of any kind at any time.
At Monday’s court meeting, County Judge Ray West reminded the commissioners that if there is to be a ban it must be invoked by Dec. 15.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Steve Adams said in his opinion, this year, a ban was not warranted.
“People still need to be careful,” Adams said. “There’s fuel out there that if a fire would catch, would burn. But we’ve had more moisture for this time of year than we’ve had for a while. My opinion is we can leave it as it is.”
Larry Traweek, Precinct Four commissioner, was absent from the Monday meeting, but Joel Kelton, commissioner for Precinct 2, and Richard Gist, Precinct 3 commissioner, both voted to not have a fireworks ban in the county.
In other business Monday commissioners approved several employee changes in the Brown County Sheriff’s Office and the Brown County Tax Assessor’s Office.
County Clerk Sharon Ferguson explained that several years ago when the older court records had been copied to a computerized format, volumes 1097 through 1193 had not copied, or had been lost. Though the originals “are still there,” Ferguson said, the files do need to be copied. Scantiva was willing to convert the images so they could be retrieved for $2,000. Ferguson said there was enough money in the records data fund to cover that cost.
Ferguson also reported that as of Jan. 1, numerous fees on both criminal and civil cases are going to be raised. “This is a result of what the legislature voted to do in August,” Ferguson said. “Some fees are going up 10 to 15 cents, some are $10 or more. We have no control over what the fees are going to be. They’re state mandated.”
In the court’s final business of the day, numerous tax resale deeds were approved.
Most of these are just paying what’s owed in back taxes,” Kelton said. “But this will get them back on the roll, paying taxes, and I’m for that.”
Six of the purchases were from the bid process, but West explained most of the resales were properties that had not received bids originally and had languished.
“When that happens, someone can come along and make an offer, which isn’t surprisingly just about what’s owed in back taxes.”