Sutton County Commissioners tipped their hats to County Clerk Rachel Duran Monday morning during a regular meeting on her efforts in overseeing and conducting the November 3rd General Election.

Commissioner Carl Teaff echoed remarks by Commissioner Bob Brockman on the availability, safety and overall efficiency during early voting and election day.

While the ballots were counted and outcomes reported, commissioners were not able to canvass the votes as usual on Monday due to a few technicalities in verifying voter status for a few individuals. However, commissioners will hold a special meeting as soon as they are able to certify the votes, according to County Judge Steve Smith.

As well, no action was taken on an agenda item to advertise for bonds for elected officials.

Commissioners again took no action on appointing a new health authority for 2021-2022. The matter will be revisited at a later date.

Currently, Charles Pajestka, M.D. is the designated health authority for Sutton County. Will Griffin, D.O. is the assistant health authority.

Commissioners discussed replacing Pajestka with Griffin as the health authority.

In other business, commissioners approved a change in budget line items for the Sheriff’s Office to pay for a camera system for sheriff patrol cars.
They also approved the receipt of a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Feral Hog Abatement Program grant in the amount of $20. The funds will be applied towards annual efforts to decrease the feral hog population in Sutton County.

Next, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of an amendment for the Pueblo Ranch subdivision as proposed by Commissioner Elect Lee Bloodworth. Their approval was given contingent upon Bloodworth collecting the required number of signatures as specified by County Attorney David Wallace.

At the request of County Clerk Duran, the commissioners also approved to advertise for an employment position in the clerk’s office. Then, they voted in favor of a Xerox agreement with changes as recommended.

In addition to approving regular consent items, commissioners also reviewed reports from individual department heads.

Regular consent items included the Accounts Payable. Poll worker wages were included in the payables so that they are compensated in a timely manner. Commissioners will ratify the payroll issue in their next regular meeting.

For the Office of Justice of the Peace, Judge Jody Harris reported 521 new cases for the month of October 2020. Of those cases, the Sheriff’s Office generated 366 and DPS 155. The JP’s office also closed 459 cases in October, according to Harris.

A total of $126,660.77 was collected by the JP’s office in October. The county retained $72,376.22. Harris also magistrate three inmates, granted two requests for attorney, issued one arrest warrant and conducted one inquest.

For the Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy DuWayne Castro reported a daily average of 7.5 inmates during the month of October. He also noted a cost of $2.31 per meal. There were 227 dispatch calls during October, according to the SO report. Seven civil process were received and nine were served. A total of 434 citations and warning were also issued during the month of October. Deputies also made one arrest for the month.

Librarian Deborah Brown reported over 800 adults and 71 children visitors during the month of October. She also said there was more than $400 collected in library fines during the month of October. The library is currently experiencing high computer usage, according to Brown and story time is still being offered.

Robert Hughes went over a few of the Road and Bridge Department highlights such as maintenance on area dams, roads and the cemetery.
Extension Agent Pascual Hernandez hit the high points in his report while commissioners gave it a look. Hernandez noted an upcoming multi-county Range and Pasture Workshop this month and ongoing stock show and 4-H activities.

Duran reported monthly totals for October in the amount of $5,249 for district court collections, $10,730.10 county court collections and $4,545 collected for public records.

In his report, Judge Smith noted that there has been a surge in COVID-19 positive cases forcing him to mandate wearing face masks when in public.
He also said that there will not be an in-person employee Christmas party this year.

Ideas are being considered for an alternative holiday celebration.

Smith also noted that Chris Cowen, P.E., has been hired to the position of district engineer for TxDOT’s San Angelo District.

With no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned.

Judge Steve Smith presided over the meeting. Commissioners Mike Villanueva, Bob Brockman, Carl Teaff and Fred Perez were present.

Commissioner Elect Lee Bloodworth was also present.

The next regular meeting of the Sutton County Commissioners is set for Monday, November 23, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. at the Courthouse Annex Building.