County approves contract in Presidio port expansion initiative
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
PRESIDIO COUNTY – County officials meeting Tuesday continued to make progress on a presidential permit to expand the port of entry in Presidio. Officials voted to approve a contract, contingent on a review and approval from County Attorney John Fowlkes, with S&B Infrastructure for engineering services for the Presidential Permit.
Upon approval of Fowlkes and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT), County Judge Paul Hunt will be authorized to trigger the work authorization documents to get the project rolling.
Hunt said that he would execute the work orders as soon as he gets the green light from TxDoT.
This project has been in the making for years, and includes participation from local, state and federal governmental entities in both the United States and Mexico.
County officials also voted to approve a proposed budget for the Presidio County Appraisal District for fiscal year 2013. The new budget includes a five percent increase in appraisal district employees’ salaries.
“The appraisal employees obviously have done a great job,” County Commissioner Eloy Aranda said, supporting the increase in salaries.
Hunt agreed to a certain degree, arguing that five percent was too high a rate increase. “For several years we gave good raises,” to appraisal district employees Hunt said, arguing that they did that to meet the salaries of other appraisal districts. “Last year we held the salaries and this year a three percent (increase) would be appropriate,” said Hunt.
“This board has always denied this budget,” Aranda said defensively.
“That’s not true,” Hunt said forcefully.
“They’ve done an excellent job,” Aranda retorted, “I want to approve it tonight.”
Hunt explained that the increase in salaries will ultimately lead to a 12 percent increase from last year’s appraisal district budget.
Aranda made the motion to accept the budget with the five percent salary increase. Commissioner Frank “Buddy” Knight seconded. Both Aranda and Knight voted in favor with Hunt dissenting. Commissioners Felipe Cordero and Carlos Armendariz were not present. With the three to one vote, the appraisal district budget was passed.
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