Commissioners hear good news

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By Gilda Morales

County Commissioners met in regular session on June 7 and began their meeting with a presentation by David J. Dorrett, Managing Director of Aequor Management, on the company’s plan to open and operate a new sand mining plant in the county.   Mr. Dorrett reported that the company plans to begin operations around August or September, and will tentatively employ 50 people, including locals, in various positions.  According to Mr. Dorrett, the jobs will be permanent, stating that the plant would be in operation “as long as there is sand.”

Mr. Dorrett announced the plans after meeting earlier in the day with the Water District Board for water permits for the plant.  Mr. Dorrett stated that the meeting became quite contentious with numerous attendees objecting to the Board granting the requested permits.

Commissioners also voiced their concern about water usage but were reassured that usage would be minimal, or the equivalent of irrigating two circles.  Mr. Dorrett also told commissioners that Aequor would also be responsible for maintaining the County roads that will be used by the company, mainly John Conoly Road.  Aequor would also make improvements to the 5.1 mile stretch of road to FM 2185, by employing an emulsion-based topping or liquid asphalt.

Mr. Dorrett stated that the Town of Van Horn would also benefit from the opening of the plant in that Aequor would be upgrading and paying to use the gas transmission lines.

Other action taken by Commissioners included authorizing the use of a signature stamp for all County and District Clerk accounts, purchasing a new camera system for the jail, and approving continuing education hours for County Treasurer, Susie Hinojos.  The Court also approved a donation of $1500 to the City-County Library for their summer reading program, and voted to adopt an Indigent Defense Grant Program resolution.

Steve Mitchell, County Attorney, reported that the County had won the lawsuit filed against the contractor who was hired to do improvements on the Veteran’s memorial at the courthouse, but never did.  Mr. Mitchell stated that the County was awarded not only the amount paid to the contractor, but attorney fees and court costs, well in excess of the original amount, and placed a lien on the contractor’s property.