Burn Ban in effect for Falls County
Beginning Monday, Aug. 10, Falls County residents in unincorporated areas of the county are prohibited from participating in outdoor burning, as the Falls County Commissioners Court finds that current circumstances would create a public safety hazard in combination with a controlled or uncontrolled outside burn.
Exceptions include burning activities related to 1) fire training; 2) public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; 3) planting or harvesting of agricultural crops; or 4) burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager, as outlined by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
A burn may occur with the authorization of Falls County Judge, Jay Elliott, and in coordination and supervision of a volunteer fire department. If a burn is approved, there must be a fire department member on-sit for the entire burn process.
Fires for cooking, gas grills, and barbeque pits are also exempt from the order.
Violations of the burn ban are considered a class C misdemeanor and violators may have to pay up to $500 in fines.
Personal Protective Equipment
Falls County received over $350,000 in personal protection equipment from the State of Texas this week from the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CATRAC.) Normally, Falls County would interact with the Heart of Texas Regional Advisory Council, but the entity has had trouble engaging in a PPE contract, so CATRAC is the closest available at the moment. According to the County Judge, N95 masks, Surgical masks, gloves, gowns, shields, and more were received, in quantities requiring more than one large Uhaul truck for retrieval. THe Falls County Sheriff’s Department helped with the process by supplying inmates to load and unload the products. They will be distributed to all four school districts in the county, to all nursing home facilities, and to first responders. It was suggested by Commissioner Nita Wuebker that the equipment also be distributed to the many daycare centers in the county, as well as to the Girl Scout troop and the Faith, Hope, and Charity non-profit group.
Roof replacement on the Falls County Jail has been completed, but other repairs are in order to be able to truly complete the job. The siding of the building has large dents in it, as well as the gutters are in disrepair. There is hope to complete these repairs within the next few weeks in order to finish the last piece of the roof. All that is left is to attach the overhanging flap, but it would be redundant to do so before completing the siding and gutters, as it would have to be torn off and redone if completed without the additional repairs. A final payment to Flores Construction is set to be paid, but it was discussed that five percent of the funds be withheld until the last step of overhang placement is completed.
The Falls County Jail is also awaiting bids on exhaust fans and air conditioning units that were damaged. It was stated that exhaust fans that still work (spin) can have dents hammered out and that the air conditioning units should each be tested one by one, as some have been replaced in recent years.
The Sheriff’s Department is still waiting to hear when vehicles will come back, as Chevy has a backup for parts and has given them at least a two week wait for those to come in. Some bids for the above named things have already been received, but Falls County Judge Jay Elliot plans to let them know that a sealed bid must be received in order to be considered.
Bids are also being received for repairs on the Falls County Museum building, as well as for the skylight in the Falls County Road and Bridge Office.
Falls County has entered into an interlocal agreement with the City of Golinda to trim brush along the side of Satin Road starting at mailbox 542 and going south until the Golinda city limits sign. The City of Golinda does not have the proper operating equipment in order to do this themselves, so they requested help from Falls County since they will be doing the portion of the County Road outside of city limits already. Golinda will be covering fuel, equipment and labor costs in the amount of $200.
Falls on the Brazos
Pea gravel from Conners Crushed Stone was placed at the Falls on the Brazos playground this week. Commissioner Nita Wuebker expressed her appreciation to the Falls County Sheriff Department for the use of their personnel to ready the area and placing the new gravel, to Falls County Road and Bridge for allowing the use of their equipment to move the gravel, and to Conner’s Rock for providing the donation. Future renovations were spoken about, such as taking out the more used picnic tables at the front of the park and replacing them with the less used, better condition tables near the back ends of the park.
Air Ambulance Services
Air ambulance services were discussed again, put off until the next meeting. The decision is between PHI Air Medical and AirMedCare Network (AMR.) Because the three Emergency Service Districts in Falls County are the ones paying for the services, they must agree on a company. The subject has been brought up to them, but some before the bid from AMR came in, therefore the item will need to be put on their agenda for the next meeting. The goal is to have a decision before the start of the new budget year. During this meeting, commissioners approved adding a line item in the amount of $1 as a placeholder for future funds in the budget. This will be a place for the ESDs to pay into and the County to pay the service selected out of.
The following items were approved by the Falls County Commissioners during the Aug. 10 meeting: the 2020-2021 investment policy; resolution for Home-Delivered Meals GRant Program for 2021 (Meals on Wheels); Falls County employee comp time payout schedule (if paying comp time;) 2021 Certificate of Obligation; minutes of the July 27 meeting; and paying of the bills/etc.