With no chance of rain in the immediate future, Commissioners voted unanimously to reinstate the County Wide Burn Ban. The ban became effective at the November 26 meeting, and prohibits all open fires. A Burn Ban Violation is Class “C” Misdemeanor and is punishable up a maximum of $500.
In other fire-related news, Commissioners approved an order formally creating Llano County Emergency District #4. The order comes after the November 6 election, when residents of Oak Ridge, located in the ETJ of Horseshoe Bay, voted overwhelmingly in favor of creating the district, 137 for, 12 against.
The action comes after several years of the Oak Ridge Property Owners Association struggling to raise funds to cover a fire contract that the area has with the City of Horseshoe Bay Fire Department. The subdivision does not require property owners to join the association, and all dues are voluntary. Each year the group also hosts a garage sale, but in the last couple of years, the group has had to dip into reserves to cover the fire contract. Without any other way to collect funds, the POA sought to create the ESD, which would allow them to collect taxes equally, from all property owners specifically for the contract. State law allows ESDs to collect up to ten cents per $100 property valuation. The fire contract costs a little more than $60,000 per year.
Once Commissioners approved the order, the next step was to appoint ESD Commissioners. The Court appointed Brett Beyer, Gilbert Blount, Wilda Meixner, John Puckett, and Vicki Rapp. The board will meet for the first time after January 1, 2013, and at that time terms will be determined; three of the Commissioners will serve a two-year term, and two will serve a one-year term.
Commissioners also approved the appointments of eleven Llano County residents to the Llano County Historical Commission. Sarah Franklin, Linda Goff, Vera Honig, Stanley Miller, Almarene Moore, Weldon Osbourn, Karylon Russell, June Shanks, Carl Shannon, Bill Stewart (Chair), and Winnie Tate-Morgan.
The Court voted to require any HOT grant requests that are not encumbered by the end of the County’s fiscal year to be void and the business would have to start the grant request process over.
Commissioners deliberated whether or not to purchase new radios for law enforcement and county employees now, or wait until after the first of the year. The money for the radios, which will cost approximately $112,928.21, is coming from the FY2010 Tax Notes for Capital Expenditures. The new radios would allow Llano County to have trunking capabilities and utilize multiple channels, which would allow them to be able to communicate with other agencies as well. The radios are another step in the tower project. Because of a concern for length of warranty, and the fact that the money is reserved specifically for the radios, the Court took no action at this time. Other concerns included the necessity of area fire departments to upgrade to allow compatibility with the county, and the cost associated with that. Commissioner Linda Raschke is going to look into ways to help facilitate the upgrades.