The Terry County Commissioners Court had a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday morning Nov. 22, 2021. After the call to order, invocation and pledges, the Court went into the items of business. The first was to approve the past meetings minutes. The second item of business was to pay bills for the county.
Moving on to item #4, the Court approved its annual Texas Indigent Defense Commission fund (TIDC). This fund is formulated by population, how many cases are filed, whether they are felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile cases.
According to TIDC data, in 2020, Terry County paid out a total of $180,819.28 for court-appointed attorneys and the TIDC granted Terry County $24,445.00 of that. During the meeting, Terry Co. Auditor Jan Hudson said, “This is something we renew every year for the little bit assistance we get from the state.” Terry Co. Judge Butch Wagner mentioned the approximate amount the county will receive this next year is around $27K. Commissioner Mike Swain made the motion to accept the resolution with Commissioner Ernesto Elizardo seconding the motion and it passed with all four commissioners voting yes.
The next item of business was to discuss and consider fireworks during the December Firework Period (December 20, 2021, to 12:00 a.m. Jan. 1, 2022.) The Commissioners determine their decisions on firework sales and using fireworks based on the current conditions. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) which is governed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that Terry County is under both D0 which is abnormally dry and D1 which is moderate drought. Also, NIDIS shows that 42.60% of Terry County falls under D1. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) shows Terry Co. at a 566 which is above moderate drought. Precinct 3 Commissioner Martin Lefevere made the motion to not have the sale or to use fireworks in Terry County. Precinct 4 Commissioner Elizardo seconded the motion, and the motion was carried unanimously. Both Precincts 3 and 4 are under moderate drought.
The sixth agenda item the Court received was the Brownfield Fire & Rescue Department quarterly report from BFRD Chief Dennis Rowe. In the report from January 1, 2021, to October 31, 2021, the dept. has run a total of 137 calls. The city has had 79 and the county has had 58. During the third quarter, the BFRD was part of two events which were a fire prevention series at Wellman-Union ISD and the BFRD participated in the Halloween activities on the square. The report also showed the dept. received a grant from the Forest Service for a new set of tools. The requirement for the grant is a maximum cost-share of 75% of actual cost not to exceed $15K.
In the report, Chief Rowe also explained he is working on the bids for the new fire truck and radios that were budgeted for the 2021-2022 fiscal year through the City of Brownfield. Chief Rowe recently told the Brownfield City Council, “Even if we ordered today, they are 15 months out, so we are looking at about a two-year turnaround for the new fire truck.” This situation stems from the national supply chain crisis where businesses that build and fit out fire trucks are having a hard time getting the parts needed to finish the products.
Chief Rowe also has been in contact with Insurance Offices Service (ISO). The ISO gathers information on municipal fire protection agencies in communities throughout the United States. The ISO then analyzes the relevant data out of each community using their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). They then assign a Public Protection Classification rating from 1 to 10. The lower the rating is, the better the protection class is, which in turn lowers the insurance premium for property owners. About six or seven years ago the City of Brownfield went from a protection class of 5 to 4.
The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting will be on Monday, December 13, 2021, at 9:00 a.m. in the Terry County Courthouse basement.