Culberson County adopts tax abatement guidelines

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in Regular Session on May 21, 2018. The first business item on the agenda was a presentation by Wes Jackson representing Intersect Power regarding the proposed tax abatement for two solar projects in the northern part of the County. The Court passed a resolution to participate in tax abatement under Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code, and approved guidelines and criteria for tax abatement. Now that these guidelines are in place, the stage is set for the County to receive applications for tax abatement for any future economic development project that meets the criteria. Reinvestment zones will be considered on a case-by-case basis as the applications are submitted.

Jose Padilla of Linebarger, Goggan, Blair, and Sampson, LLP presented a report of the delinquent tax collection activities over the last four years noting that net collections during this time were approximately $500,000. All legal fees associated with the collection activities are paid by the taxpayer. The Court renewed the contract for delinquent tax collections for another five-year term. Judge Urias stated that he “really appreciates the way the firm works with the tax collector and the appraisal district.”

Rita Carrasco, JP #1, gave an update on the requirements for courthouse security and requested that the Court appoint the members to the courthouse security committee to begin the process. Carrasco also noted issues with transporting the mentally ill to facilities outside the county and requested that funding be allocated to cover the costs of transportation. The Court discussed budgeting for a full-time employee to handle transportation as well as other duties.

Commissioners approved a variety of improvements and acquisitions. The Nutrition Center will be getting a new HVAC unit for the kitchen area at a cost of $6178.00. The Culberson County Food Pantry will be getting a new storage unit and the Rainbow Express Day Care Center will be getting a new coat of paint for the playground as well as a canopy for the playground equipment. The Court also considered a proposal for replacing the cement at the City-County Park; work on this will commence once the payment terms and contract are reviewed by the County attorney.

The Court discussed the feasibility of establishing an Emergency Services District to oversee and fund EMS and fire services in the County to facilitate the expansion of services to the northern part of the County. This would be another taxing entity that would have to be approved by the voters. The process to establish such a district would begin by the submission of a petition signed by at least 100 voters requesting that the County take it to the voters to decide.

In other County business, the Court also

Tabled two tax sale proposals and denied one proposal as submitted by the Culberson County Appraisal District.

Approved the bond for Assistant Treasurer Angie Flores.

Approved two utility permits.

Heard reports on various County Projects.

Approved monthly reports.

Approved monthly payroll and expenses for April and payment of current bills.