Commissioners lift burn ban after soaking rains

Kevin Holamon
Brown County Commissioners Court

The Brown County Commissioners met in a special meeting Monday, with a short agenda.

Only five items required action on their part and, in a separate item two county residents presented an issue, with no action taken.

Joel Kelton, Precinct 2 commissioner, asked the court to approve lifting the burn ban, in light of the recent rains. Gary Worley, Precinct 1 commissioner, opened the discussion with a concern.

“The only thing I say about that is we need to think about fireworks in July,” he said.

Judge Ray West responded that if any action is to be taken concerning fireworks, there is a June 15 deadline for the fireworks on July 4.

“If we remove the burn ban today, then in another week I don’t think it would be dried up to put a burn ban back on,” Worley replied, “That’s the only thing I say we need to think about.”

“I’m not saying that we don’t need to remove the burn ban,” he added, “I’m saying if we remove it today, our finding next week may not be conducive to putting a burn ban back on to limit fireworks.”

“So we just need to think about if we’re going to, if we want to limit fireworks in July,” Worley said, “then the burn ban would probably need to stay on today, because we’d have a difficult time proving that it needed to be back on next week.”

Ultimately, the court unanimously elected to remove the burn ban.

The only other action item was a request by Kelton to enter into a short term lease for a used water truck, to be used on road construction, with the option to purchase the vehicle at the end of the “two or three month” trial term. According to Kelton, the vehicle is a 2007 off-lease, with 42,000 miles and has a purchase price of $42,081.90. The lease cost was not discussed, but Kelton said it would apply toward the purchase.

The court unanimously approved the lease, acknowledging a subsequent purchase would require a separate action.

The court also unanimously approved a request from Central Texas Opportunities to recognize the 50th anniversary of Community Action by proclaiming the month of May 2014, Community Action Month in Brown County.

Bill Werner and Jim McCall, residents of the Lake Shores area, presented information to the commissioners concerning the recent placement of a gate, along with a sign claiming the area a “private boat launch,” across a road they believed belongs to the county.

Werner identified it as County Road 546 and Beach St., but maps indicate it is an extension of CR 569. The residents suggest the road leads to a public boat ramp and should be accessible to the public. Larry Traweek, Precinct 4 commissioner, also noted the county has used the access to pump water from the lake for road construction purposes.

No action was taken, but Judge West recommended Werner research the property to determine ownership of the road, then to contact County Attorney Shane Britton or a private attorney to seek the removal of the gate.

The Sheriff’s Department requested and received approval of a pay increase for a deputy. Capt. Tony Aaron notified the commissioners that Robert Ramirez had been transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division, from the Patrol Division, which includes a $100 pay increase. The increase is already included in the budget, because the position had been vacated by the promotion of Sgt. Vance Hill and was just being filled.

Lastly, the commissioners reviewed the bills that had accrued since the last meeting and approved them for payment. The next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Monday, June 9.