County files lawsuit to remove Clerk, opposes bill raising property taxes

County Commissioners filed suit to remove County Clerk Lisa J. Wernette from office. Wernette was elected in 2007 and is in the midst of her third term.

A lawsuit was filed on Friday, July 21, 2017 by the County to have Lisa Wernette removed from her County Clerk’s position.

Wernette, in her third term, has been unable to perform her duties as Clerk, according to Judge Schuhart, for several months due to ongoing health issues.
Commissioners had hoped to reach an agreement with Wernette in which she resigned. Unable to do that the next step was to file a lawsuit to have her removed. There is over a year left on the elected term; the office is up for reelection in November of 2018.
Commissioners passed a motion that will allow them to advertise for the position if the Judge “hearing” the case decides to appoint someone to the position. Commissioners were agreement that they should have a recommendation ready in case the judge opts for an appointment of an interim clerk. Of course the final decision will be the Judges on the appointment.
A resolution was passed that essentially opposes SB1which will raise local property taxes 13.81% over the next two years to “help fund public education”. The resolution in part reads, “Medina County condemns the hypocrisy of Special Session tax gimmicks while calling for meaningful tax relief as proposed by Speaker Joe Straus.
The resolution states that the court is concerned that vilifying a school district as the cause of taxpayer increases is counter-productive to economic development in the State of Texas because the Information Technology Economy requires greater resources for education not less.
The resolution supports Speaker Straus’s proposal to use the States “rainy day fund”, a revision on the current public education funding system, to ensure adequate and fair funding of public education. The resolution further states only 21% of Medina County average tax burden is due to County property tax while more than half of their tax burden is due to school taxes.
Other Counties have signed a similar resolution.
Republican Party election judges
The following is a list of the Republican judges to work this year’s elections: Pamela Mathis, Dorothy Ahr, Rose Scholtz ,Janice Wright, Flora Gurt, Cathy Kammerer, Barbara Wardwell, Liz Harrell, Sally Lumus, Ofilia Sandoval, Betty Taylor, Maria Tschirhart, Linda Perkins, Eddie Havel, Mary Ann Stansbury, Martha Ortiz, Sarah Coburn, Erich Ehlinger, Kandace Ehlinger, Cappi Phillips, Lee Remy, Liz Cargile and Robert Peden.
Personnel Policy Updates
The following personnel policy updates will become effective on October 1, 2017. Funeral leave added for grandchildren and step-relatives; Full-time is defined as 30 or more hours, part-time is defined as less than 30 hours; consistent part-time that goes over 30 hours will have to be classified as full-time; PTO (sick leave) will increase from 48 hours to 80 hours per year, PTO can be used as vacation time on the approval of the supervisor, PTO time cannot be used for two weeks notice when leaving job.
Precinct 4 Business
Commissioner Jerry Beck received approval to purchase a 2012 Freightliner for $35,990 from Dogget Freightliner in Converse, TX. Bidding process was not necessary because purchase is under $50,000. According to Beck a new truck is needed because the current one is inoperable.
An old AC unit was declared salvage and authorized for disposal.
Sheriff’s Office Contracts
The automated Victim Notification Service (VINE) service agreement was renewed. There is a 3% increase in the service agreement.
A memo of understanding was approved for sexual assault forensic examinations with Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital. The service has been provided here for several years.
Phillip Fitch has resigned from the board of the Medina County Emergency Services District #2 effective as of July 18, 2017. At present there is no replacement. The ESD asked the Commissioners for any recommendations of replacements.
ESD #3 financial report
The financial report for the year ending in September 2016 was accepted. The report stated the ESD had $893,156 in expenditures and a budget of $940,631.
Vehicle Registration Fee
The Commissioners opted not to change their vehicle registration fee of $10 for the calendar year 2018. This is not the total fee charged by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, but what the County charges for a road and bridge fund. All monies collected must be credited to the county road and bridge fund and the amount cannot exceed $10 per vehicle registered.
Public Hearing
Permission was granted for Commissioner Pct. #1 Tim Neuman to advertise for a public hearing to consider reducing the speed on County Road 4526. The current speed is 60 mph. Neuman stated big truck traffic has increased and a posted speed limit is necessary.
By Trina Williams
Staff Writer