All 4 commissioners and Judge Schuchart were present for the January 28 Commissioners Court meeting, with 12 guests present and an unknown number attending virtually.
The primary item for the meeting was approval to hold a bond election, which would be a $10 million bond in the form of a one-penny tax increase per $100 property valuation ($10 per year per $100,000). If you did not hear about this proposal from the Medina County Junior Livestock Show (MCJLS), you are not the only one out of the loop. Commissioner Jerry Beck (Pct. 4) said in the meeting that he had only heard of it a couple weeks prior, around the time of the previous Commissioner’s Court meeting; a petition had garnered 1600 signatures across the county but Beck mentioned hearing from a number of signers that they were not fully aware of the intent of the petition. The MCJLS’s lease on the show arena at the Hondo City Park is up in June so they and other interested parties will need to reach out and communicate their vision with the community in the coming months.
The project is still not completely defined in scope and has been budgeted to fit within a maximum one-penny tax increase (at the last meeting the MCJLS had an estimated value of $6 million but revised tax estimates led to the change of $9.5 million), which is less than the $20-35 million cost of similar facilities in other counties. The MCJLS described this as a first phase that would allow the county (who would be managing and maintaining the facility) to make this initial investment and increase the amenities as demand increases before deciding if or when to expand within the property. One component of the planning phase is making the layout conducive to later development of additional arenas, exposition halls, offices, auditoriums and RV slips as needed. Other agricultural or commerce-based county operations such as the offices for our county Ag Extension agent and Go Medina County program could potentially be co-located at the site as well.
Though a maximum tax increase of 1¢ per $100 valuation is expected, Commissioner Sittre expressed confidence that growth in the northeast part of the county will be substantial enough to cover the bond without requiring an increase to the tax rate. That growth is coming with limited need for county investment: developers have to pay for roads, bridges and utility connections—they must be willing to take the risk of investing if they want to reap the reward.
The bond election was approved 3 to 1 with Commissioner Beck voting in opposition, not based on the merit of the project but on the grounds that he has not had time to get informed on the matter and that previous “temporary” tax increases at the county level had not yet been returned to previous rates.
Discussion was had over a proposed bill in the state legislature which would forbid local governments from lobbying the state congress. If passed, local government would lose much of their ability to be heard by legislators and promote decisions which benefit their constituents. The lobbying group that currently represents Medina County costs the county $1,900/yr.
Quotes were accepted from Alliance for Community Solutions for security upgrades to the Castroville Annex and the jail for totals of $95,692.66 and $149,863.42, respectively. These upgrades include security doors with card readers, internal and external cameras, access keypad and numerous other security upgrades.
Change orders valued at $38,355 were approved for the D.A.W.I.C.H. building at 1402 Avenue M in Hondo. This brings the total value of all change orders on that construction project to $63,273 and a total project cost of $1,008,819; the contractor is Canco Construction, LLC.
Change orders valued at $-654.05, $-1,122.4 and $93.77 were approved for the Medina county annex and jail projects. The negative values reflect a decrease in project cost due to changes in flooring type and the positive value is for an additional water line; the contractor is Teal Construction Company.
Two contracts from BCKR Enterprise for cleaning services at the W.I.C. and District Attorney offices in the DAWICH building were approved for totals of $445 and $788 per month, respectively. BCKR Enterprise is a local janitorial services business in Hondo.
A request for approval was tabled related to a revised Master Development Plan for Potranco Oaks Subdivision in Pct. 2 off of FM 1957 (Potranco Rd.). It was tabled due to missing lot dimensions on the plans provided by MTR Engineers.
Preliminary approval was given to Rothe & Associates to plat the Devine Fields Subdivision in Pct. 4 off of CR 777; the described development is 11-acre lots without city water.
By Kyle G. Saathoff