County to pursue legal action against local contractor

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By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in Regular Session Monday.  After an executive session to consult with the County Attorney, the Commissioners voted unanimously to pursue legal action against a local independent contractor, Joe Angel Tarango, for breach of contract. Tarango was contracted last fall to perform work on the WWII Memorial at the Courthouse with the work scheduled to be finished by December 14, 2016.  Tarango was paid 50% down in order to purchase the materials needed for the project.  However, by the deadline the work had not even been started. Attempts by the County to either get the project completed or the down payment refunded were unsuccessful. In the meantime, the County has hired another contractor to make the improvements to the WWII Memorial.

Judge Carlos Urias briefed the Commissioners on difficulties purchasing necessary food and supplies during after-hour emergencies since the County only has one credit card which is kept under lock and key in the auditor’s office.  Urias cited an instance where he used his personal credit card to purchase food during a recent manhunt since a County credit card was not accessible. County Treasurer Susie Hinojos reminded the Court that many years ago all County officials had American Express Cards, but the cards started getting abused. The County Auditor at the time brought the issue to the Court and all cards except one were cancelled. The Court authorized the County Auditor to apply for a VISA card for the Judge to be used during emergencies only.

To kick off a lengthy airport improvement process, the Court adopted an Airport Improvement Resolution with TXDOT to act as the County’s agent. A $1.595M grant (with a 10% match from the County) will ultimately be used for runway rehabilitation, taxiways, lighting, and other needed improvements. The Judge reported that the existing runway lights are operating again and that the striping is ongoing. The Court also passed a resolution for an AWOS grant.  To sum up the airport talk, the Court discussed sending a representative to the Aviation Conference in San Marcos in April.

The Court then approved a Resolution and Contract with Government Capital to finance two vehicles, a 2017 Chevy Suburban and a 2017 Chevy Tahoe, for the Sheriff’s Department.  These vehicles will be purchased through the Buy Board fully equipped for law enforcement use at a cost of $94,696.

In other County business, the Court also

•Offered kudos to the entire staff at the jail for an excellent inspection.

•Conducted an Executive Session with action following in open session.

•Passed a resolution authorizing the submission of a TDA TCDBG Planning Grant application.

•Approved payment of $3,989 to Supreme Glass for doors at the City-County Park.

•Heard reports on County Projects.

•Approved monthly payroll and expenses for February.