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  • These recaps are a summary of noteworthy action taken during recent meetings of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court. To view full videos of the meetings and access the official approved minutes detailing all action taken in court, click here.

     

    February 13, 2024

    Action taken by commissioners at their February 13, 2024 regular meeting includes:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off.
    • Approved an order regarding the sale of fireworks for Texas Independence Day. No missile or rocket-style fireworks with sticks and fins may be sold or launched in Caldwell County from Feb. 25 through midnight March 2. Dry and windy conditions that could spark wildfires are likely during this time period, emergency management chief Hector Rangel said. Click here to view the order.
    • Approved a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month. Click here to view the proclamation.
    • Approved a proclamation recognizing February as Dating Violence Awareness Month. Click here to view the proclamation.
    • Approved resolutions allowing the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell County District Attorney’s Office to apply for state grant funding that can be applied toward salaries and equipment. The resolutions follow action taken last month by commissioners, who authorized the grant applications at a regular meeting in January.
    • Approved a resolution committing to co-locating its emergency dispatch personnel and equipment under the same roof as Lockhart and Luling. The three entities currently operate their own facilities independently. 
    • Approved a fee schedule for EMS ambulance services in the unincorporated parts of Caldwell County.
    • Approved a contract between Caldwell County and County Information Resources Agency for a website hosting package that will enhance the county’s abilities to disseminate information to the public. The county plans to make improvements to its website that will make it easier to view news and announcements as well as navigate departmental pages to find information they seek.
    • Approved a contract for legal services between the county and Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson for the collection of delinquent county-assessed fees and fines. 
    • Approved a development agreement between the county and Entrada Capital Group for the development of State Park RV Village at 10710 State Park Road.
    • Approved a preliminary plat for Cotton Gateway, a 1,280-residential-lot subdivision on approximately 397 acres east of SH 21 and William Pettus Road.
    • Approved a preliminary plat for Sunset Oaks, which consists of three commercial lots on approximately 47 acres at SH 21 and FM 1966.
    • Approved the final plat for Sagada Dos, Phase 2, consisting of 14 residential lots on 16.7 acres on Homann Road and Homannville Trail.

     

    January 23, 2024

    Commissioners held a regular meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court on January 23, 2024.

    Commissioners took the following action:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. The area has had plenty of rainfall to the point that the ground is not absorbing any more rain. Rain chances during the next two weeks remain high. The average Keetch Byrum Drought Index (KBDI) for the area is at 5, which indicates a lot of moisture. 
    • Approved a proclamation designating February 2024 as Career and Technical Education Month. Students and educators from Lockhart ISD attended the meeting and were present for the proclamation. Lockhart ISD Superintendent Mark Estrada said 92% of Lockhart ISD students are enrolled in a Career & Technical Education class, which is well above the state average for Texas. Students said they were learning the ropes and working toward certifications in fields that include healthcare, education, auto repair and agriculture. Joining commissioners were Blayn Hernandez, Charles Wilson, Guadalupe Arzate Rodriguez, Peyton Crabill, Jayden Kimball, Franzica Garcia, Alize Salazar and Lockhart High School principal Cynthia Vasquez.
    • Appointed Christine Ohlendorf to the board of the Caldwell County Community Services Foundation
    • Approved the submittal of a grant application for the Rural Law Enforcement grant program established by SB 22 to provide financial assistance to the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Mike Lane said a majority of the grant will be used for equipment. The court separately approved the submittal of an additional grant application for the same program for the district attorney’s office.
    • Approved the preliminary plat for CH Callihan consisting of seven residential lots on approximately 13 acres on Callihan Road and Bugtussle Lane.
    • Approved the final plat of Tenny Creek Ranch, a 20 residential lot subdivision on approximately 60.6 acres on Hall Road in Luling.
    • Approved a final plat for Spanish Oaks consisting of 11 residential lots on approximately 20 acres on Old Colony Line Road and Spanish Oaks Road.
    • Approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between the county and the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG), a signatory agent for the South Central Planning and Development Commission (SCPDC) for the county’s use of MyGovernmentOnline software to enable online permitting for development services. Commissioners said having access to the software should make applying for and receiving and tracking permits easier. The software is commonly used by counties.
    • Approved a donation agreement between the county and Sagada Dos LLC for the donation of $100,000 to build, maintain and repair a concrete road between the Sagada Dos Subdivision at Aguila Road off 1950 Homannville Trail in Lockhart. The area in that subdivision is flat and limited in its ability to drain properly. The road will need to be concrete and reinforced, which goes beyond the county’s maintenance abilities in the future. The donation will provide for future maintenance and repairs should it become necessary.
    • Approved the preliminary plat for Sage Hills Estates consisting of 12 residential lots approximately 62 acres on Tower Road.
    • Approved the Final Plat for Sandy Creek Estates consisting of 8 residential lots on approximately 27 acres located on Sandy Creek Road.

     

    January 9, 2024

    Caldwell County Commissioners held their first regular meeting of the year on January 9, 2024.

     

    Action taken by commissioners included:

    • Approving a recommendation by Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management to leave the burn ban off.
    • Voting to leave Pct. 1 Commissioner B.J. Westmoreland in place as Judge Pro Tem.
    • Appointing Buddy Vickery to the Caldwell County Emergency Services District No. 2 board.
    • Approving a licensing agreement between the County and At-Scene, LLC that would allow the county to access mobile applications that facilitate collection, storage and sharing of information by law enforcement at crime scenes. The program can make it easier for entities to share information. The county currently uses a similar program, but this alternative would represent a cost savings for the already-budgeted line item.
    • Approved a development agreement between the county and Schulle Farm Partners for an approximately 227 acre subdivision located off fifth street in Maxwell.
    • Approved a final plat for three lots at Duko Subdivision off FM 20.

     

    Commissioners also:

     

    • Heard a presentation from representatives of the Greater Austin/Travis County Regional Radio System, who updated commissioners on the project to update towers and radio equipment for compatibility with the LCRA Trunked Radio system, which the county is switching to from Motorola this year. LCRA is moving forward with the plan to move existing Caldwell County and City of Lockhart frequencies from their current locations to new county radio sites this year. See 10 pages of updates on that project here.
    • Heard from the Caldwell County judge on next steps for the newly created ESD No. 5. Commissioners voted to appoint the five-member board on Dec. 26. The judge said an information packet for the new board had been assembled and that the new appointees would need to attend a training program to learn what to do as commissioners of a new board. The county, along with the cities of Lockhart and Luling, will likely provide seed money to the new ESD so it can hire an attorney to help it get going. Once the board gets started, it will be on its own, although county commissioners will be available as a resource.
    • Watched as Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management Chief EMC Hector Rangel presented former Assistant Chief EMC Hank Alex with a plaque honoring him for his years of service to the agency. Alex became Assistant Chief EMC in March 2020 and wrapped up duties in December 2023, when he accepted a position as fire chief for Caldwell County Emergency Services District No. 2. 
     

     

    December 12, 2023

    Commissioners took the following action at their December 12, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off for another two weeks. 
    • Approved an order prohibiting the sale and use of fireworks with sticks and fins in Caldwell County during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
    • Appointed B.J. Westmoreland as the county’s Capital Area Council of Governments Clean Air Coalition representative for the next two years.
    • Reappointed Jerry Doyle, Coralon Busch and Greg Busch to the Caldwell County ESD No. 4 Board of Directors.
    • Approved a resolution establishing the Caldwell County Sexual Assault Response Team and appointing statutorily required members. The SART provides services to adult survivors of sexual assault. Caldwell County and Hays County shared a multicounty response team for many years, but following action taken in the 88th Legislature, each county is required to have a team supervised by that county’s court of commissioners. The team includes representatives from the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, the Caldwell County district attorney’s office, the Lockhart Police Department, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s, a sexual assault nurse examiner and a behavioral health provider.
    • Approved a professional services contract between the county and Doucet Engineering Associates for subdivision engineering services. 
    • Approved a preliminary plat for Spanish Oak Acres consisting of 11 residential lots on 20.03 acres.
    • Approved a preliminary plat for Deer Creek Subdivision for 14 lots on 39.46 acres.

     

    November 28, 2023

    Commissioners took the following action at their November 28, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off.
    • Reappointed Will Conley as primary voting member and Commissioner Ed Theriot as Alternate Member to the 2024 Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) Technical Advisory Committee.
    • Approved a participation agreement between the County and Tyler Technologies, Inc. for integration of the County Clerk's and District Clerk's case records into re:SearchTX. re:SearchTX is a web-based platform that allows registered users access to an online repository of court case information powered by the state’s e-filing database. Click here to read more information about how it works.
    • Promoted Christina Arias to Assistant Grants Administrator.

     

    Staff announcements at the meeting included:

    • The purchasing agent told commissioners the county had recently raised $263,540 from auctioning 31 assets. She thanked the Unit Road Department for its help with coordinating pick-up of sold goods and loading equipment.
    • The Caldwell County Animal Advisory Committee is awaiting an answer after submitting a grant for animal shelter workforce development in the county. Additionally, the committee has been working with Texas Humane Network to provide comprehensive animal cruelty training for law enforcement, attorneys and shelter managers. An event was originally scheduled for this fall but was rescheduled for February. An actual date has not yet been secured, but more information should be available in the next couple of weeks.

    November 20, 2023

    Commissioners held a special meeting to canvass the November 2023 general election, which included the state constitutional amendment election and the election to create Emergency Services District No. 5. The purpose of the canvass is to account for every ballot cast and ensure that every valid vote cast is included in the election totals. This involves accounting for every absentee ballot, every early voting ballot, every ballot cast on Election Day, every provisional ballot, every challenged ballot, and every overseas and
    military ballot. The canvass was approved unanimously. Caldwell County Elections makes election results available on its webpage.

    November 14, 2023

    Commissioners took the following action at their November 14, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Commissioners voted to leave the burn ban off.
    • Commissioners formally approved a tax roll of approximately $25.31 million for FY 2023.
    • Commissioners distributed their votes for the board that governs the Caldwell County Appraisal District. Each taxing entity in the appraisal district gets to cast votes in proportion to the size of that entity. The county is entitled to 1,614 votes that it may distribute between the nominees. Commissioners voted to cast 322 votes for Kayline Cabe, Sally Daniel, Kathy Haigler and Linda Hinkle and 321 for Alfredo Munoz. Matthew McGovern, a sixth nominee, received no votes. All taxing entities must submit their votes before December 15.
    • Commissioners voted for a resolution that repeals approval of an interlocal cooperation agreement between the county and the regional public defender’s office. Factors considered were costs to the county, a lack of need for the service, and the availability of local defense counsel that can serve as court-appointed attorneys. The court also took action after considering requests made by the district attorney and the 421st Judicial District judge.
    • Commissioners approved a blanket purchase order of $350,000 to be paid to the City of Lockhart to cover the county’s portion of EMS services per its interlocal cooperation agreement with the city.
    • Commissioners voted to table a decision on the fee schedule for EMS ambulance services in the unincorporated areas of Caldwell County. “We’ve had some conversations, and those are about to be updated,” County Judge Hoppy Haden said. “We’re hopeful we will have the updated copy of the fees to consider at the next meeting.”
    • Commissioners discussed next steps for the creation of Emergency Services District No. 5, which voters unofficially passed in the Nov. 7 general election.  The local canvas is expected to occur later this month, no later than November 20. After the local canvas has confirmed the official results, the county will order the creation of the district and appoint five people to serve as the initial emergency services directors. Commissioners will canvas the election and approve the official results at a meeting that has not yet been formally scheduled that will likely occur on November 20. Commissioners directed the county attorney to prepare and present them with a white paper that would serve as an explanation of duties, responsibilities and liabilities of directors to help prospective nominees make an informed decision. Commissioners said they were targeting the December 12 meeting for action on appointing the board and creating the new district.

     

    October 31, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners held a special meeting today to honor Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke on his retirement day. Read the full press release here.

     

    October 24, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their October 24, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Commissioners voted to leave the burn ban off.
    • Commissioners approved the appointment of Gloria Garcia as Caldwell County treasurer. Garcia will fulfill the remainder of the term that was vacated with the resignation of the previous Caldwell County treasurer.
    • Commissioners approved the reappointment of Billy Ray Buckner to the Luling Foundation Farm Board as the representative for Caldwell County.
    • Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the county to apply for a CAPCOG Regional Solid Waste Grants Program grant. The funding would be used to bring back the county-wide tire-only disposal event in FY 2024. The county grants administrator said that of the household waste disposal events previously held by the county, it was the most popular and was the one most requested by the public.
    • Commissioners approved contracts between the county and Dale Volunteer Fire Department, Delhi VFD, McMahan VFD and Southeast Caldwell County VFD for rural fire protection and emergency medical services.  The departments will now each receive $1,500 per month for fire protection services from the county, up from the previous $1,000 per month the department received for the past several years.
    • The contract with PHI Air Medical has been extended through September 30, 2024. ove an agreement between the county and PHI Health Air for membership into the PHI Cares Program. PHI Cares covers the uninsured or otherwise uncovered portion of the flight charges that may be incurred by people living in the county who require emergency air medical transportation on a PHI aircraft. The county paysvan annual membership cost for the program that covers each household in the county, with the cities of Luling and Lockhart paying for their portions of the membership. Each membership covers each individual member of the household who is a resident of Caldwell County, except for any person in the household who is a recipient of Medicaid benefits. 
    • Approved the professional services agreement for Someday Strategies, which will continue to handle professional oversight of preconstruction services for the project to build an evacuation center in Luling.
    • Commissioners approved a development agreement with RODG DT Lockhart PropCo for the Gristmill at Prairie Lea, an approximately 346-acre subdivision at SH 80 and Plant Road.

     

    October 10, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their October 10, 2023 meeting:

    • Commissioners voted to leave the burn ban off. The county judge lifted the countywide burn ban on Friday, October 6. Average drought index measurements for the county have fallen well below the threshold for what is considered drought.
    • Commissioners voted to approve an agreement between the county and the Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department for rural fire protection and emergency medical services. The department will now receive $1,500 per month for fire protection services from the county, up from the previous $1,000 per month the department received for the past several years. The agreement with Tri-Community is the first of five agreements up for consideration with area volunteer firefighters. The attorney for the county said plans were to meet with the remaining four volunteer fire chiefs prior to the next regular commissioners court meeting on October 24.
    • Commissioners approved a motion to deny approval of an agreement between the County and Futurity IT, Inc. for the use of Orion disaster mitigation software. The software has an approximately $21,000 annual subscription fee and the Capital Area Council of Governments provides disaster mitigation software at no cost to counties. Commissioners said they could consider revisiting the software should grant funding become available.
    • Commissioners approved a proclamation from the Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center designating October as Mediation Month. The Central Texas Dispute Resolution Center serves Caldwell, Comal, Hays and Guadalupe Counties and offers services to a half million people. More than 180 cases are mediated annually and each court case that is settled by the dispute resolution center saves the county approximately $5,000 a day in court time. The center also hosts minimum continuing education courses for attorneys and mediators as well as conducts peer mediation training.
    • Commissioners approved a resolution nominating candidates to be included on a ballot for the Caldwell County Appraisal District Board of Directors. Nominees include Sally Daniel, Kathy Haigler, Alfredo Munoz, Linda Hinkle, Kaylin Cabe, Quartermetra Hughes and Jackie Johnson.
    • Commissioners approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between the County and the City of Lockhart for the emergency medical services and emergency ambulance services in the county. Per the agreement, Lockhart will provide emergency medical services and ambulance services in the city limits and in the northern two-thirds of Caldwell County, and the county will pay Lockhart $350,000 annually and half of any costs the city expends on capital assets not exceeding $200,000. Capital assets include new ambulances, ambulance remounts and materials needed to outfit ambulances. Emergency medical services and ambulance services needs in the southern one-third of the county will be covered by Luling, although mutual aid agreements help ensure ambulance availability both where and when needed. The contract includes language that requires the city to collect data during the contract period, which the county judge said would promote continuing response and service improvements.
    • Commissioners approved a motion to amend the county’s solid waste ordinance. The commissioners voted to formally designate the 130 Environmental Park at 5200 N. US 183 as the area in which industrial waste is not prohibited. The action taken in court amends an ordinance passed in 2013 that previously designated 18 acre site at 6655 Seawillow Road as that area.
    • Commissioners approved a Chapter 381 Economic Development Agreement between the county and F3 Lockhart Owner LLC and F3 ColdCo Lockhart LLC to promote development of a $65 million, 300,000 square foot cold storage facility on 53 acres in Lockhart on FM 2001 near SH 130. Chapter 381 agreements authorize counties to make loans and grants of public money to promote economic development and stimulate business and commercial activity. The agreement includes a property tax rebate term of five years provided terms that include employing and retaining a minimum of 100 full-time employees are met. The Lockhart Economic Development Corporation is expected to consider a Chapter 380 agreement, which authorizes cities to provide economic development incentives, at a meeting this week. Following approval by the Lockhart EDC, the Lockhart City Council will vote on the agreement at their October 17 regular meeting.

     

    September 29, 2023 

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their September 26, 2023 meeting. 

    • Voted to leave the burn ban on. 
    • Approved the sale of fireworks for the Diwali holiday period, which is Nov. 5-Nov. 14, except for projectile fireworks that include sticks or fins. 
    • Approved a proclamation declaring October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 
    • Voted to ratify the interlocal contract with Texas State University for the 2024 tobacco enforcement program. Under the terms of the program county law enforcement is being asked to do 115 stings that are expected to net around $15,000 for the county.
    • Approved a resolution authorizing the grants administrator to apply for the Economic Development Administration Strategic Planning Recompete Pilot Program Grant, which is aimed at helping create programs to re-engage or engage workers who have left the workforce. Projects that could qualify for the grant money include improving broadband access, road construction to increase access to industrial parks, increasing available childcare and projects associated with building the evacuation center.
    • Also approved a resolution authorizing the grants administrator to apply for a grant that would help the county implement programs it’s developed. 
    • Tabled taking action on an interlocal cooperation agreement between the County and the City of Lockhart, for the provision of emergency medical services and emergency ambulance services in the county. 
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    September 19, 2023 (Special Meeting)

    Commissioners approved a professional services agreement between Caldwell County and American Structurepoint for services that include assisting with a capital improvement plan and potential bond election. The county is considering a bond election in 2024 to raise capital for road improvements. A representative of American Structurepoint said at the meeting that the services the company will provide includes communicating with cities and the SH 130 Concession Company about their existing road improvement plans and needs as well as making presentations to the public and gathering citizen feedback ahead of the election.

     

    September 12, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their September 12, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Temperature-wise, the weather for the next several days looks much improved, with highs projected in the low-to-mid-90s. However, conditions remain dry with only one real chance of rainfall over that period, Chief EMC Hector Rangel told commissioners on Tuesday. "The weather forecast gives us an 85% chance of rain on September 16, but other than that, the forecast is grim," Rangel said, noting that average KBDI levels for the county sit at 774, which is indicative of severe drought, making the potential for wildfires still high. At Rangel’s recommendation, commissioners voted to leave the burn ban on.
    • Commissioners approved the 2023-2024 budget and tax rate. Read the full press release here.
    • Commissioners approved an order regarding the creation of Emergency Services District No. 5, which will be decided during the November election. The supplemental order includes the City of Mustang Ridge in the proposed district, so Mustang Ridge voters will now be among those who will decide the fate of the new ESD, which would provide ambulatory services throughout the county.
    • Commissioners approved the appointment of Diana Coker to the Caldwell County ESD No. 2 Board of Commissioners.
    • Three recently awarded grants were accepted. They included a County Essential Services Grant for Capital Murder Trial expenses for $91,765; a State Automated Victim Notification Services grant for $18,030.39; and the Justice Benefits State Criminal Assistance Program (SCAAP) grant of $18,654.
    • Commissioners approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between the County and the City of Uhland for the improvement of Rocky Road and authorized the County Judge to execute it.
    • Two additional reserve deputy constables will join the Pct. 1 Caldwell County Constable’s Office. These two deputies will help cover the office’s school resource officer duties at Lockhart Junior High School.

     

    August 22, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their August 22, 2023 regular meeting:

    • County commissioners voted to leave the burn ban on another two weeks at the recommendation of Chief EMC Hector Rangel, citing high drought index numbers (743 KBDI), increased risk of wildfires spreading (Haines 5) and the recent spate of wildfires that have been keeping firefighters busy over the past few weeks. The next best chance for rain comes on Aug. 25 and Aug. 28, with a 40% chance on each of those days.
    • Commissioners tabled two public hearings and their associated discussion/action items. The public hearing on the budget was tabled due to the sheriff’s office and district attorney’s office determining it would incorporate funding made available by Texas Senate Bill 22, a grant program which was signed into law in June that provides additional money to qualified sheriff’s, constable’s and prosecutor’s offices in rural counties. The county judge said the move to table would give commissioners more time to review the proposed budget changes that include the sheriff’s office adding a lieutenant position and purchasing machinery and equipment, and the district attorney’s office increasing salaries. The tax rate hearing was also tabled because under Texas state law, government entities must approve their annual budgets before approving their tax rates.
    • Commissioners voted to approve elected officials’ salaries for Fiscal Year 2023-2024.
    • Commissioners approved a proclamation from the Capital Area Councils of Government (CAPCOG) that designates September as CAPCOG Preparedness Month. All residents, businesses, schools and communities are encouraged to develop emergency preparedness and resiliency plans and register at warncentraltexas.org to receive emergency alerts. Read the full proclamation here.
    • Commissioners approved a proclamation from CAPCOG designating September 18-22 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week to support awareness and promote strategies to prevent falls by older adults. Strategies include protecting those who are at increased risk of falling to participate in evidence-based programs such as Matter of Balance and reduce falls by utilizing strategies such as exercise programs to improve balance and strength, medication management, vision improvement and reduction of home hazards in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging. Read the full proclamation here.
    • Commissioners approved the nomination of Jason Rios of Luling to the Plum Creek Conservation Board of Directors.
    • Commissioners approved the election services contract and joint election agreement with the City of Lockhart, Lockhart ISD, City of Mustang Ridge, Oatman Hill MUD, Open R Fresh Water Supply District, Prairie Lea ISD, Waelder ISD and approved election day locations and the combination of certain election precincts.
    • Commissioners approved the preliminary plat for Luna Rosa, a 688-acre, 1,649-lot subdivision in Dale.

    August 8, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their Aug. 8, 2023 meeting:

    • Commissioners voted to keep the burn ban on for another two weeks at the recommendation of Chief EMC Hector Rangel amid drought conditions that have continued to deteriorate with no rain in the forecast over the next two weeks. Red Flag Warnings – which are implemented when risk of wildfires is especially high – have been a near daily occurrence. The average KBDI levels that measure drought were at 688 as of Tuesday morning, well above the drought threshold of 575. Two fires that occurred over the past week in the county were recognized as “big fires” by the Texas Forest Service, which Rangel thanked for their effective response to Caldwell County’s fires. He also thanked the Caldwell County 4-H club for donating sports drinks and water for firefighters, noting that they were well appreciated and getting much use.
    • Commissioners approved a motion to schedule a public hearing for August 22 to set and approve the proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2024. The no-new-revenue tax rate, which is the rate that when applied would produce the same amount of property tax revenue in the new fiscal year as the one approved last summer, is 46.06 cents per $100 valuation. The voter approval tax rate – or maximum tax rate commissioners can approve without triggering an election – is 46.92 cents per $100 valuation, which is the no-new-revenue rate multiplied by 1.035. Caldwell County can legally set the tax rate as high as 46.93 cents per $100 valuation without triggering an election due to a provision in Senate Bill 2 approved in 2020 that gives the county will have the ability to save, or “bank,” up to three years of unused increments. The banked unused increment rate can be used by a county to exceed the voter-approval rate. Prior to Senate Bill 2’s approval, counties could approve a new tax rate up to 8% higher than the previous year without triggering an election. During discussion, the county judge indicated commissioners would consider the voter approval rate for FY 2024.
    • Commissioners tabled consideration of an order that would send the potential creation of Caldwell County Emergency Services District No. 5 to voters. Commissioners are seeking support from all taxing entities in Caldwell County. The county desires formal approval from the cities of Lockhart, Mustang Ridge, Martindale, Maxwell, Uhland, Staples, Luling and San Marcos. The item will be considered at a special meeting at 9 a.m. August 16 to give San Marcos time to consider formal approval at a public meeting.
    • Commissioners approved a proclamation designating Aug. 19 as River Appreciation Day, commemorating local commitment to San Marcos River cleanup and preservation efforts.
    • Commissioners approved a scope of work for engineering services for Capital Improvements Plans and Programs (CIPP) and bond support services with American Structurepoint Inc. Per the terms of the agreement, American Structurepoint will work with the county to identify and rank improvement needs on county infrastructure over the next 20 years and will pinpoint the highest priority projects for a five- year period. The company will also work with the county to build consensus for potential bond elections to pay for those projects, as well as identifying other funding sources.

     

    July 25, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their July 25, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Commissioners voted to keep the burn ban on for another two weeks at the recommendation of the County Office of Emergency Management. Chief EMC Hector Rangel reminded the public to have a water source handy and have a spotter watching the job site when working outside with welding torches or hay cutters.
    • Commissioners tabled the order to submit the proposed creation of Emergency Services District No. 5 to voters to give the cities of San Marcos, Staples and Mustang Ridge time to express formal consent to the creation of the ESD, which would provide emergency services that include ambulatory services throughout Caldwell County. The county desires formal approval and participation from the cities of Lockhart, Martindale, Uhland, Luling, San Marcos, Staples and Mustang Ridge. The order is expected to return for consideration at the August 8 regular meeting. Read the full press release here.
    • Commissioners approved a resolution allowing the county to provide matching funds for the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Texans Feeding Texans Meal Delivery program.
    • Commissioners acknowledged the notification of the awarding of a US Department of Transportation Grant to Caldwell County for $22,942,500 with a commitment from SH 130 Concessions for the balance of funds to support the construction of a new gated travel plaza for truckers. The new travel plaza will likely divert some truck traffic from I-35 and allow truckers to call ahead and make sure there’s a vacancy before they stop. The plaza is expected to have restroom and shower facilities as well as an onsite restaurant. The county submitted the application for the grant on SH 130’s behalf and the action taken by commissioners authorizes the county to negotiate the required grant administration documents between itself, SH 130 and grant administration resources as needed.
    • Commissioners approved the submission of a 2023-24 Feral Hog grant application seeking funding up to $20,000 available through the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Funds will be used for programs aimed at controlling the feral hog population in Caldwell County, including the feral hog bounty program.
    • Commissioners approved the submission of a Rural and Tribal Assistance Pilot Program Grant of $360,000 to the U.S. Department of Transportation for third-party project development support.

     

    July 11, 2023

    Caldwell County Commissioners took the following action at their July 11, 2023 regular meeting:

    • Commissioners voted to reinstate the countywide burn ban at the recommendation of Chief EMC Hector Rangel, who noted that firefighters had been responding to more calls lately. Vegetation has dried out, soil moisture has decreased and there are few chances for limited rainfall in near future forecasts.
    • Commissioners approved a resolution amending a development agreement with Ranch Road Bollinger, LLC for the Bollinger Subdivision located at Sundance Court (FM 2720). The amended agreement allows for new minimum lot widths and square footage as well as garage, parking and driveway requirements.
    • Caldwell County Commissioners approved a resolution disapproving the Caldwell County Appraisal District’s FY 2024 budget. The appraisal district is independent of county government and has the authority to set its own operating budget – which is ultimately paid by taxpayers – subject to the disapproval of local taxing entities. The resolution disapproving the proposed budget addresses staff pay increases averaging 16.6% that took effect in the 2023 fiscal year and an additional 5% raise proposed for appraisal district employees in FY 2024. During that same period, combined salary increases (actual and proposed) for the chief appraiser and deputy chief appraiser were 48% and 53% respectively. Caldwell County employees received a 5% raise in FY 2023. “I know people at the appraisal district work hard and deserve to make a better wage, but people here at the county do, too, and we’re struggling to give them a 3% raise – and we have been cutting the proposed budget to keep that 3% raise, meaning we’re not growing our critical infrastructure – our sheriff’s office and unit roads – the way we want to. I wish they could have spread their pay raises out over a five-year plan,” Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said. The appraisal district’s budget will go into effect as proposed unless half of the 22 taxing entities in Caldwell County oppose it. Read the full resolution here.
    • Commissioners approved the final plat for Village Ranchettes, Phase 2, consisting of 13 residential lots on 106.3 acres on Taylorsville Road.
    • Commissioners approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between the county and the regional public defender office for indigent legal defense services.
    • Commissioners approved a development agreement between the county and Johnson Trust Investments, LLC and Flintrock Office Suites, LLC, for an RV and boat storage facility and industrial park at 5133 N. US 183.
    • Commissioners approved an application form for when an exemption letter from Caldwell County is requested for development purposes.

    June 26, 2023

    At their June 26 regular meeting, commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. Chief EMC Hector Rangel said that conditions were drying out fast with daily high temperatures pushing past 100 and the next best chance for measurable rainfall coming on July 6. The average Keetch-Byrum Drought Index figure for the county is 220, but some areas of the county have a figure above 400 (with 575 being the drought threshold). The chief asked motorists who are towing items to please make sure that chains are not dragging the ground — it could cause a spark that would have the potential to ignite grass located along the side of the road, where vegetation is drier than in some areas.
    • Approved a proclamation commemorating the 17th anniversary of the death of U.S. Army Private First Class Kristian Menchaca, who was a former graduate of the Gary Job Corps Center who earned a certificate and completed the security officer program. He was killed following an insurgent attack on a U.S. Army checkpoint south of Baghdad, Iraq and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals. Retired Business Engagement Liaison Randolph Goodman and Gary Job Corps staff and students attended the meeting and listened as the proclamation was read. Read the proclamation here.
    • Reappointed Tom Bonn to the Bluebonnet Trails Community Services Board of Trustees.
    • Rescheduled the public hearing to hear public comment on the creation of ESD #5 for July 25. The statute requires the public hearing to be posted 21 days before it takes place and has to be published in the newspaper of record for two consecutive weeks prior.

     

    June 14, 2023

    At their June 13 regular meeting, commissioners: 

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management Chief Hector Rangel noted that there had been an increase in fires and urged citizens to take proper precautions to avoid causing wildfires in conditions that are poised to become drier over the next several days as temperatures climb above 100 and chances of rainfall remain low.
    • Approved a resolution allowing the sale of fireworks over the Independence Day holiday, with an exception made for aerial fireworks involving sticks or fins.
    • Approved a proclamation declaring June 19 as Juneteenth, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas. Although President Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery in 1863, slaves in Texas waited an additional 2 1/2 years to receive word of their liberation when, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston and announced slaves had been freed.
    • Rescheduled the next regular meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court for 9 a.m. Monday, June 26 to resolve a scheduling conflict.
    • Approved a resolution setting a public hearing date for 9:30 a.m. Monday, June 26 to receive comments regarding a petition to create Caldwell County Emergency Services District No. 5. The county’s ambulance services contract with Ascension is set to terminate midnight on Sept. 30. Creating a county-wide ESD would allow the new entity to shoulder the burden by levying a tax and making a steady stream of revenue available to provide emergency services. The Texas Health and Safety Code authorizes qualified voters who own taxable real property to petition the court to order an election creating an ESD that includes their property. More than 100 such voters have signed the petition. 
    • Approved a resolution authorizing the Caldwell County grants administrator to submit a grant application for funding to be used for a tire-only solid waste event. Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke noted that last year’s event was a success and that he had heard a large number of requests from citizens requesting a similar event this year.
    • Approved a preliminary plat for Acorn Oaks consisting of 60 residential lots on 93 acres located on Acorn Road, with “significant modifications” to be made to address unbuildable lots and public safety concerns.

     

    May 9, 2023

    At their May 9 regular meeting, commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. The area has had substantial rain and very few fires. The Keetch-Byrum Drought Index (KBDI) is an average of 121 for the area, which is substantially below the drought threshold.
    • Approved a resolution allowing the sale of fireworks for Memorial Day weekend. The order allows for the sale of fireworks in Caldwell County, but disallows the sale of fireworks with sticks and fins.
    • Approved a resolution supporting the Texas Opioid Settlement Term Sheet. The resolution essentially agrees to the settlement outlined by the attorney general and allows the county to opt in to the proceeds from the lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.
    • Approved an amendment to an advance funding agreement with TxDOT for the replacement of a bridge on Holz Road at Elm Creek Branch. There was previously a match by the County required, but the amendment to the agreement removed the match, so the bridge will be replaced at no cost to the county.
    • Ratified the county's opting in to the Texas Opioid Settlement with Allergan, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart.
    • Approved a budget amendment to add $500,000 from a donation by Kinder Morgan for new unit road equipment, and approved a requisition for $303,259 to provide Doggett Freightliner with a purchase order for new dump trucks that will speed up the county's efforts to pave roads.

     

    April 27, 2023

    At their April 27 regular meeting, commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. 
    • Approved a proclamation designating May 1-5 as Air Quality Awareness Week.
    • Updated the county’s records management policy to state the records management keeper as the county judge, rather than specifically naming the judge.
    • Listened to residents that expressed concerns about how a TCEQ permit application by Paloma Wastewater and MJD Endeavors for a wastewater treatment facility at County Road 221 and 222 could affect Plum Creek. Commissioners made recommendations regarding their experience with previous TCEQ wastewater permit applications. No action was taken.
    • Directed county staff to direct staff to review the county’s contracts with local VFDs for rural fire protection.

     

    April 11, 2023

    At their April 11 regular meeting, Caldwell County Commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. Caldwell County Chief EMC Hector Rangel told commissioners there had been a house fire in the Lytton Springs area that had resulted in a “total loss of property, but no loss of life,” and said people are continuing to burn brush and leave it unattended and advised them to exercise more care and pay attention when outdoor burning. But the good news is that recent rainfall in the county has ranged from 2-4 inches and the average Keetch-Byrum Drought Index reading is 11 (the drought threshold is at 575). Rangel recommended leaving the burn ban off.
    • Heard a presentation about the Caldwell County Veterans Service Office from Dr. Al Dos Santos, Veterans Services Officer. Dr. Dos Santos explained to commissioners and the public what services are provided, how the money is spent and the benefits the office provides to veterans in the community. He also reminded the community that the Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony will be held May 29 at 10 a.m. at the American Legion Post #177 at 215 East Davis Street in Luling. See the full slideshow here.
    • Approved a proclamation for Caldwell-Travis Soil & Water Conservation District Stewardship Week, which will run from April 30 until May 7. The week focuses on the importance of healthy soil, clean water and effective conservation practices and natural resource management to maintain both.
    • Held a public hearing on a re-plat of the Longhorn Ranch & Cattle Company Subdivision, Lot 8 and Lot 9 on Primrose Lane (CR 214). No action was taken.
    • Approved the final draft and solicitation of qualifications for an RFQ for an engineering services pool. Engineering services firms will be able to submit their qualifications to the county for consideration to be included in the pool. Once established, the county will be able to select a firm for smaller projects rather than go out for an RFQ every time there is a project. County Judge Hoppy Haden said the pool would be able to cover many of the small projects the county does.
    • Approved a preliminary plat for the Dewberry Point subdivision consisting of 74 lots on 97 acres in Lytton Springs. The process with the subdivision actually began in October 2001 but sat idle for years before resuming.
    • Approved a motion to ratify a contract with RingCentral for a new cloud-based phone system.

     

    March 28, 2023

    Here is a summary of the highlights of the March 28 meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court:

    • The burn ban will remain off for another two weeks, following action taken Tuesday in Caldwell County Commissioner's Court. Chief EMC Hector Rangel said firefighters had responded to a number of illegal burns lately, with people trying to burn items such as lumber, refrigerators, tires and furniture. In some cases, the black smoke on the horizon was visible all the way from Travis County, he said. Please remember to only burn natural brush — that is what the burn ban being off permits.  Report illegal burns to the  Caldwell County Environmental Enforcement Unit. There is now a link to their contact information and a downloadable complaint form on the Caldwell County home page. Click here to be directly routed to their page: https://www.co.caldwell.tx.us/page/caldwell.Code
    • Commissioners approved an order allowing the sale of fireworks in Caldwell County for San Jacinto Day, with the exception of aerial fireworks that include sticks and fins. Read the order here.
    • Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden proclaimed April Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Awareness Month this week at Caldwell County Commissioners Court. Sexual Assault Awareness Month, observed each April, is a campaign that aims to increase awareness about the causes and risk factors for sexual assault and empower individuals to take steps to prevent it in their communities. National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Prevention services and supports developed by this collaboration can help to protect children and strengthen families. Read the proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month here and the proclamation for Child Abuse Awareness Month here.
    • Commissioners approved an amendment to a contract with PHI Air Medical for a reduction in cost associated with nationwide membership upgrades. Any individual who resides within the boundaries of Caldwell County may elect to upgrade his or her membership to a full national household membership, which shall include coverage outside the Caldwell County Service Area, for an additional $30 per year. That coverage would only extend to any current PHI Cares service areas and shall only apply to transport aboard a PHI aircraft.
    • Commissioners approved an amendment to an interlocal cooperation agreement between Lockhart ISD and the county for SRO law enforcement services. Read the resolution here.
    • Commissioners approved two development agreements: one between RFJJ HWY 21 LLC and the county for the development of the 152-acre Tomahawk Subdivision located at SH 21 and FM 1824, and another between Lennar Homes of Texas Land and Construction and the county for the 491-acre Cotton Gateway Subdivision at SH 21 and William Pettus Road.
    • Approved the designation by ordinance of an area of the Ardesia Storage Product Innovation Zone and a Chapter 312 Tax Abatement Agreement related to the project. The zone will be located at FM 1185 and US 183 and is a portion of the property that the 130 Environmental Park is located on. The project includes the placement of multiple battery pods that will store power off of the Texas power grid but can provide power back to the grid during periods of extreme peak demand such as winter storms or heat related events.

     

    March 14, 2023

    At their regular meeting on March 14, 2023, Caldwell County Commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off at the recommendation of Assistant Chief EMC Hank Alex with the Caldwell County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Alex said the average KBDI is at 186 — still well below the drought threshold — but has been increasing by 5 to 11 points daily with things drying out. Rain is in the forecast at the end of this week and early next week.
    • Approved a resolution required for the grant department’s application for an Other Victim Assistance Grant to support the Victim Services Department at the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office
    • Approved a resolution in support of legislation to create the Maxwell Municipal Utility District. 
    • Approved a resolution in support of legislation to add the powers of a municipal utility district to the Open R Freshwater Supply District.
    • Approved a motion to open a new operating bank account for the Tax Assessor’s/Collector’s Office. The county auditor said separate operating bank accounts were common in larger counties and that it improves the bank reconciliation process.
    • Approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between Hays and Caldwell counties for the improvement of a stretch of FM 2001 that runs through both counties. The FM 2001 East Project consists of proposed improvements for the approximate 2.541-mile corridor from Graef Road to southeast of SH 21, including construction of two travel lanes (one in each direction) with varying shoulders in the interim timeframe and the construction of two additional travel lanes in the ultimate timeframe (to be determined). Hays County will managing the process for acquiring project right-of-way and associated easements in Caldwell County. Caldwell County will provide assistance in negotiations with landowners as needed. 
    • Heard a report from Doucet Engineers, who noted that work on Biggs Road is now complete and the process to close out the project is in progress. Commissioners thanked Engineer David Clark for his diligence in managing the projects and bringing them to completion.

    February 28, 2023

    At their regular meeting on February 28, 2023, Caldwell County Commissioners:

    • Approved a motion to leave the burn ban off. While conditions have become drier in the past couple of weeks, the Keetch-Byrum Drought Index remains more than 450 points below the threshold for drought. 
    • Passed a resolution approving a “2023 Criminal Justice Division Office of the Governor County Essential Services Grant” application to defray the costs associated with an upcoming murder trial.
    • Passed a resolution supporting the enactment of legislation by the 88th Texas Legislature to authorize Caldwell County to require that owners microchip their dogs. No such legislation has been filed yet, but Senator Judith Zaffirini has indicated she would file the legislation on Caldwell County’s Behalf, Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said. Approval of the legislation is a necessary precursor to that. The legislation would not require microchipping, it would simply allow counties to require microchipping, Commissioner Ed Theriot clarified.
    • Approved a resolution supporting legislation to provide counties with wind and solar power facility siting authority. Haden said a number of counties are supporting such legislation because their counties are covered in windmills and it’s hard for them to attract tourists. He said we have “no fewer than five solar facilities in Caldwell County right now, with the smallest one taking up 1,000 acres. “We’re talking 5,000 acres of commercial land covered up with solar panels with no ability to do anything else with the land and it’s taking viable land out of agriculture,” Haden said.
    • Amended the Chapter 381 Economic Development Agreement with Visionary Fiber Technologies to increase the rebate in years 6 and 7 of the 10-year agreement from 50% to 66%. The total incentive is estimated to go up by $47,000. The reason for the amendment is due to VFT making an additional $10 million investment into its company to build a new 6,800-square-foot building and is creating new jobs.
    • Approved a form contract for the reimbursement of county-expended funds by sheriff’s office cadets in certain circumstances. The contract seeks to help prevent other agencies from poaching cadets who are training to be Caldwell County deputies.
    • Heard an update on the Biggs Road project. The project engineer told commissioners on Tuesday that Biggs Road would be paved “either today or tomorrow.” The process to close out the project will begin afterward.

     

    February 14, 2023

    At their Tuesday, February 14 meeting of Caldwell County Commissioners Court, Commissioners: 

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. Keetch-Byrum Drought Index numbers are incredibly low, with an average reading of 35 in Caldwell County. A reading of 575 indicates drought conditions are present. Caldwell County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Chief Hector Rangel said firefighters had responded to a few fires over the past week, including an outdoor burn in which tires, freezers, construction material and plastic toys were set ablaze. “Please don’t burn those items,” Rangel said. “It’s illegal.” 
    • Authorized the sale of fireworks in the county for Texas Independence Day, excluding sticks and fins. The order expires midnight on March 2. 
    • Approved an outdoor music festival permit for Old Settlers Music Festival. The Festival is set to take place at its usual site in Dale from Thursday, April 20 through Sunday, April 23. 
    • Approved proclamations declaring February to be both Dating Violence Awareness Month for Teens and Young Adults and Black History Month. 
    • Approved a $175 rental rate for the county’s polling equipment. 
    • Took action related to a plan to transition to making use of the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Trunked Radio system. Commissioners approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between the County and the LCRA for radio equipment and services on December 27, 2022 and the equipment the county needs to make use of the LCRA’s system has been ordered, Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said Tuesday in court. Commissioners approved a trio of actions related to the project, including a budget amendment to transfer $3.57 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding that will pay for the project, approval of the blanket purchase order, and payment of an $892,500 invoice for equipment that has been ordered. Read more about the project here. 
    • Heard an update on the Biggs Road Project from engineer David Clark of Doucet & Associates, who said it was nearing completion. Construction is expected to be complete by the middle or end of next week, he said, with paving occurring at the end of this week or early next week. 

     

    January 24, 2023

    At their January 24, 2023 regular meeting, Caldwell County Commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off.
    • Approved a proclamation declaring February to be Career and Technical Education Month.
    • Approved the appointment of Natalio Ramos and Tony Collins as commissioners of Caldwell County Emergency Services District #2.
    • Approved the appointment of Alicia Thornton and Alex Worthington to the Caldwell County Animal Control Advisory Committee.
    • Approved a development agreement between the county and the Permian Highway Pipeline for a compressor site. Compressor stations are large industrial facilities that maintain the flow and pressure of natural gas by receiving gas from the pipeline, re-pressurizing it, and sending it back into the pipeline system. The Caldwell County site will be one of four installed along the pipeline that runs through the state that would supplement the two stations already in existence. Per terms of the development agreement, the site would be located along Jolly Road off FM 2720. The site would be obscured from view by fencing and would be set up in a way that doesn’t allow the noise level to exceed 55 decibels, which is conversation-level noise. The nearest home to the site is 500 feet away. The second-closest home is located 1,800 feet away. Kinder Morgan VP of Public Affairs Allen Fore said the extra infrastructure would support natural gas transport to Central Texas and the Hill Country, noting that the winter storm of 2021 had showcased the necessity of natural gas for helping prevent loss of power. Fore said it had been determined that placement of one of the four new stations in Caldwell County was necessary for logistics.
    • Approved a $1 million donation from Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline, LLC to the County. Half of the donation will be used to procure new dump trucks for the County’s unit road department, which will speed up the paving process. Approximately $300,000 of it will be split between Lockhart ISD, Luling ISD and Prairie Lea ISD, with the individual amounts awarded determined by the number of students enrolled in each district, and the remaining $200,000 will go toward the purchase of an ambulance.
    • Approved a budget amendment that allows the county to use grant money it received from the state to purchase rifle-resistant body armor for 53 officers with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell County Constables’ offices. The amount of the grant totaled $42,804.15.
    • Gave Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke the green light to submit applications for a trio of grants. The grants would allow for the construction of a gated truck stop facility that would give truck drivers a safe, secure place to stop and rest on SH 130, the preparation of the 2025-2030 FEMA-Approved Hazard Mitigation Plan (which will be necessary to receive grant money from FEMA for future projects), and funds for labor and overtime at the Caldwell County Jail.
    • Approved a resolution that exempts property that will be used for the county’s new evacuation shelter in Luling from competitive bidding requirements and approves the purchase of the property.
    • Heard an update on the Biggs Road Project. The wet weather has delayed the project, but riprap and guardrails should be installed later this week, with paving set to take place next week.

     

    January 10, 2023

    At their January 10, 2023 regular meeting, Caldwell County commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off. Caldwell County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Chief Hector Rangel noted that grass was dry and winds had been high, however, contributing to a few grass fires that had occurred since Jan. 1. The fires were attributed to causes ranging from a mower blade striking a rock, causing a spark to unsupervised burning brush piles. Those conducting burns were asked to leave a 25-foot radius around their burn piles and keep plenty of water on hand. 
    • Approved a proclamation recognizing former Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Raymond DeLeon for 20 years of service to Caldwell County, who recently retired from his post. DeLeon thanked the county for allowing him to serve for two decades and said he would continue his public service to the community as an educator with Lockhart ISD. Judge Yvette Morales won election to his former seat in November.
    • Approved the appointment of the new Caldwell County Animal Control Advisory Committee. The committee will be tasked with discussing potential ways to improve animal control in Caldwell County and bring recommendations to commissioners. Carol Jones, Jan Brown, Christina Arias and Caldwell County Animal Control Officer Carl Townsend will serve on the committee.
    • Approved a few beginning-of-the-year housekeeping items. Pct. 1 Commissioner BJ Westmoreland will serve as  Judge Pro Tem.  Commissioners will continue to hold regular meetings on second and fourth Tuesdays at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the Caldwell County Courthouse in 2023.
    • Approved the increase in the number of part-time reserve deputy constables in Pct. 4 from 10 to 14. The new deputies will provide a law enforcement presence at Lockhart ISD’s three elementary schools and at Pride High School to satisfy an agreement with the school district, which will compensate the county for the cost of the additional personnel.
    • Heard an update on the Biggs Road Project from engineer David Clark, who said wet weather had delayed progress on the project but that work would continue this week with backfilling. Following that, guardrails and riprap will be put in place before paving. Completion of construction is expected by the end of January. See a detailed report here.

     

    December 27, 2022

    At their December 27 regular meeting, Caldwell County commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off at the recommendation of Caldwell County Homeland Security and Emergency Management, noting that Keetch-Byrum Drought Index levels continue to be well below the drought threshold after a spell of dry cold weather. But exercise caution while burning, says Assistant Chief EMC Hank Alex, who said firefighters had responded to three structure fires and three brush fires over the Christmas holiday. "We're looking good, but we do have some dry grass out there," Alex said.
    • Approved proclamations recognizing Pct. 4 Commissioner Joe Roland and Pct. 2 Commissioner Barbara Shelton, whose successors will be sworn in and take over at the first meeting of the new year. Roland, who chose not to seek re-election, will be succeeded by Dyral Thomas. Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden presented him with a plaque honoring him for 32 years of service to the court. Roland, who served on eight commissioners courts, thanked his fellow commissioners for putting up with him. "It's been our pleasure, commissioner," Haden said. Commissioner Shelton, whose four-year term expires in January, will be succeeded by Rusty Horne. "Her dedication to her job was obvious," Haden said before presenting her with a plaque.
    • Approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between the County and the LCRA for radio equipment and services.
    • Approved the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office’s participation in the Texas LESO program, also known as the 1033 program, for the potential procurement of Department of Defense surplus. “It’s something we do every year,” Haden said. “We occasionally get access to surplus equipment. We have a couple of large all-terrain vehicles that we got at no cost. This is just approval to continue that program should something come available.”
    • Enjoyed their third annual visit from a rogue paper wasp that fluttered past commissioners during a discussion item. No commissioners were stung this time. In 2020, the county judge was stung when Commissioner Ed Theriot struck a wasp but unintentionally caused the flying insect to collide with his face. In 2021, the judge avoided injury when the bug explored the dais but flew away without incident.
     

    December 13, 2022

    At their December 13 regular meeting, Caldwell County commissioners:

    • Voted to leave the burn ban off.
    • Voted to approve a December fireworks order that restricts the sale or use of fireworks in Caldwell County by prohibiting selling or shooting fireworks with sticks and fins through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The order expires Jan. 1 or when the Texas Forest Service determines drought conditions exist, whichever is earlier.
    • Welcomed a special presentation by Capital Area Rapid Transit System’s  (CARTS) Dave Marsh, who welcomed Commissioner Pct. 2-elect Rusty Horne to the CARTS board and thanked outgoing Commissioner Barbara Shelton for her service as a member of the board of directors. Shelton said it had been a pleasure to work with CARTS and help citizens. County Judge Hoppy Haden remarked that Shelton attended every class, made it to every vendor booth at every conference and took her job very seriously, and said her work on the CARTS board was just one example of that. 
    • Denied the approval of a $3,000 donation to Keep Lockhart Beautiful for Christmas lights, and recommended they request a donation from the Caldwell County Community Services Foundation.
    • Tabled taking action on the appointment of a Caldwell County Animal Control Advisory Committee. Commissioner Ed Theriot said issues related to stray animals in Caldwell County are on the rise and that a lot of the reason for that has to do with increasing population in the rural parts of the county. The county plans to create a committee that will examine these issues and find options to help mitigate the problem. A discussion/action item regarding the potential appointment of a committee will be placed on the Dec. 27 agenda.
    • Approved a lease agreement between Aqua Water Supply Company and Caldwell County, which will rent the company’s old office building on FM 1185 for $10 per month. The building will house the offices of Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 and Caldwell County Constable’s Office Pct. 4, as well as serve as a satellite office for the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.
    • Heard an update on the Biggs Road project from Engineer David Clark, who said the wet weather had created a bit of water and mud on the site. He said crews were expected to pump the site out and complete backfill later this week, provided the rain subsided. He also said the road could reopen once the road had been backfilled and the base and guardrail was installed. Paving will be scheduled after the road base is complete. Clark anticipates final walkthrough will take place in the first part of January.
    • Approved a motion directing county staff to negotiate with LCRA and bring back a proposed contract for communication systems for consideration by the court. Motorola Solutions currently handles the county’s radios and towers, but deputies have reported occasions on which they have been unable to communicate with dispatch and have had to use their cell phones to communicate, including when inside buildings and in certain parts of the county. Deputies who addressed the court said they had each previously worked for sheriff’s offices that were on the LCRA system and had much better success with those radios.
     

    November 22, 2022

    At a regular meeting on November 22, 2022, Commissioners:

    • Heard an announcement from Pct. 1 Commissioner BJ Westmoreland, who reported that the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees had approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between Caldwell County and Lockhart ISD for law enforcement services at a called meeting on Monday, November 21. Commissioners had previously approved the county’s side of the agreement at a called meeting on November 17. Deputies from Constable Pct. 4 will provide a law enforcement presence by way of an armed peace officer at elementary schools located within the district and Pride High School. Lockhart Junior High School and Lockhart High School have School Resource Officers made available through the Lockhart Police Department who serve those campuses. Read the terms of the agreement here.
    • Unanimously voted to leave the burn ban off at the recommendation of Caldwell County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Chief EMC Hector Rangel. Rangel had a couple of additional notes for commissioners and the general public. He said the National Weather Service had reported that a dry period was expected to resume on Saturday, and urged the public to get their brush burning done while conditions were favorable. He also advised people who use heat lamps to keep their livestock warm to avoid placing the lamps close to wooden structures such as decks because of the obvious fire risk. 
    • Approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between Caldwell County and the Texas Division of Emergency Management allowing for the use of County radio equipment by TDEM County Liaison Officer Mark Mayberry. The County will loan a Motorola APX4000 Mobile Radio with Lapel Microphone and Charger to TDEM. , TDEM assigned the liaison officer to Caldwell County as part of a statewide effort to provide more comprehensive state support for Texas communities, and improve emergency management capabilities locally and statewide.
    • Approved the appointment of a selection committee to score the request for proposals for IT managed services for the county. Comprising the committee will be County Judge Haden, PCT 1 Commissioner BJ Westmoreland, Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke, County Auditor Danie Teltow, and Purchasing 1st Assistant Gabi Balboa.
    • Approved the canvass of the November general election. Of a total 25,149 registered voters in Caldwell County, 11,417 total ballots were cast – a 45.40% turnout. Full official results will be posted on the County Elections website.
    • Heard a report on the status of ongoing GLO infrastructure county road projects. The project to repair Biggs Road remains on track for mid-December completion. The concrete construction on the box culvert is complete. Crews will focus on the road subgrade next week. Engineer David Clark said there had been no new issues with traffic control or neighbors. The certificate of construction completion for the improvements on Political, Black Ankle and Witter Roads is circulating for signatures, he added.
     

    November 17, 2022

    At a called meeting on November 17, 2022, Commissioners:

    • Approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between Caldwell County, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and the Lockhart Police Department for law enforcement services. As part of the agreement, the County will assign its deputies to provide law enforcement services for the city when requested by the Lockhart city manager or Lockhart’s city police chief provided the county has personnel available. The County will cover deputy overtime as it is accrued but will bill the City monthly for services rendered. Read the terms of the agreement here.
    • Approved an interlocal cooperation agreement between Caldwell County and the Lockhart ISD for law enforcement services. Deputies from Constable Pct. 4 will provide a law enforcement presence by way of an armed peace officer at elementary schools located within the district and Pride High School. Lockhart Junior High School and Lockhart High School have School Resource Officers made available through the Lockhart Police Department who serve those campuses. Read the terms of the agreement here.
    • Authorized Constable Pct. 4 to appoint additional reserve deputies without further approval from commissioners.
     

    November 8, 2022

    At their November 8, 2022 meeting, Commissioners:

    • Voted to keep the burn ban, which had been lifted two days earlier, off. 
    • Approved a motion to allow Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden to enter into negotiations with Aqua Water Supply Corporation for office space located at 2990 FM 1185 in Lytton Springs. If an agreement can be reached, the building would provide office space for Justice of the Peace Pct. 4, Constable Pct. 4 and would serve as a satellite sheriff’s office. Judge Haden said the building needs minimal remodeling and that the move would free up helpful office space on Main Street in Lockhart.
    • Approved charging a $400 inspection fee for mass gathering permits. Haden said he had asked counsel to look into instituting a fee and had discovered a number of surrounding counties were charging up to $400 for such permits. The inspection and approval process involves a lot of departments and consumes a large quantity of man hours, the judge noted. Commissioner BJ Westmoreland agreed that the size of events taking place in the county more than justified the charge. The new inspection fee was approved unanimously.
    • Received a status update on the ongoing project to replace the culvert crossing on Biggs Road. Engineer David Clark said the project was ahead of schedule and should still finish up in mid-December. He also noted there had been no further vandalism to traffic control boards in the area, adding that they were still keeping an eye on it.
    • Denied a Chapter 381 Economic Development agreement to a company involved with Project Exodus, but left the door open for future negotiations. The company’s identity was not disclosed due to a non-disclosure agreement that is typical of economic development projects. 
     

    October 27, 2022

    At a special meeting held Thursday, Caldwell County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve an agreement between the county and PHI Health Air for membership into the PHI Cares Program. PHI Cares covers the uninsured or otherwise uncovered portion of the flight charges that may be incurred by people living in the county who require emergency air medical transportation on a PHI aircraft. The county will pay an annual membership cost for the program that covers each household in the county, with the cities of Luling and Lockhart paying for their portions of the membership. Each membership covers each individual member of the household who is a resident of Caldwell County, except for any person in the household who is a recipient of Medicaid benefits. Read the full agreement with the county here. 

     

    October 25, 2022

    At their October 25, 2022 meeting, Commissioners:

    • Voted to keep the burn ban on.
    • Reappointed Tom Owen as the director of the Plum Creek Conservation District.
    • Approved a $900 donation request from Caldwell-Travis Soil & Conservation District for Fiscal Year 2023.
    • Approved the adoption of a HUD Uniform Relocation Assistance Plan related to the Evacuation Shelter Project in Luling. Caldwell County received funding assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the General Land Office – Mitigation program for a Hurricane Evacuation Center to be developed within the county. The County has initiated their Uniform Relocation Assistance (URA) Plan to assist any persons or businesses that were displaced as a part of this federally funded project. The Initiation of Negotiation date is June 14, 2022, based on the County’s decision to select the approximate location in Luling occurring on this date. If you believe that you have been displaced as a result of this project, please contact Caldwell County at the contact information below and provide documentation showing legal occupancy (i.e., lease, utility bill) as of the ION date established. For additional information regarding this notice, please contact Caldwell County Grant Administrator Dennis Engelke at (512) 359-4686. Click here to read the full URA plan.
    • Voted to categorize election workers as part-time county employees. Human Resources Director Bob Bush referred to the move as a “bookkeeping move they needed to clean up.” The move means that workers would have taxes withheld from their paychecks and would have to complete a background check as is required by county employees. The motion was approved 3-1 with Commissioner Barbara Shelton voting no.
    • Voted to appoint Clemente Verastegui as Pct. 1 Constable for the duration of the term of longtime Constable Smitty Terrell, who died in September. Verastegui, who has been a Caldwell County employee since 2019, is a corporal with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office’s civil division, and prior to that, he worked for the county as a bailiff. He will hold dual commissions, working in his current capacity for the sheriff’s office and as Precinct 1 Constable for the remainder of his term, which expires December 31, 2024. The motion was approved 3-1 with Commissioner Shelton voting no.
     

     

    October 11, 2022

    At their Oct. 11 regular meeting, commissioners:

    • Voted unanimously to keep the burn ban on.
    • Approved proclamations declaring October Manufacturer’s Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
    • Authorized Grants Administrator Dennis Engelke to move forward with finalizing a grant that will outfit 57 officers with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office and Caldwell County constables’ offices with custom-fit rifle-resistant body armor units. Read the full press release here.
    • Approved the employee holiday schedule for 2023.
    • Heard an update on ongoing road projects in Caldwell County. As of the morning of the meeting, work had been completed on Political, Black Ankle and Witter roads. With those finished, crews were scheduled to begin work on the Biggs Road project on Oct. 17. Message boards have been installed and are on site. Work on that project is scheduled for completion by early December. Click here for map, click here for written directions.

     

    October 3, 2022

    At a special meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court, Commissioners approved an order declaring unopposed candidates elected to office in the 2022 November General Election. 

    • Juanita Allen, for District Clerk
    • Teresa Rodriguez, for County Clerk
    • Angela Meuth Rawlinson, for County Treasurer
    • Rusty Home, for County Commissioner Precinct 2
    • Matt Kiely, for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
    • Shanna Conley, for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
    • Anita Deleon, for Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 

     

    September 27, 2022

    • Caldwell County Commissioners reinstated the burn ban at the recommendation of the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management. 
    • Commissioners signed a proclamation for National 4-H Week celebrating the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service for 115 years of providing experienced-based education and a proclamation honoring the Texas Extension Education Association
    • Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the Caldwell County Grant Program for Community Action-Meals on Wheels Rural Capital Area
    • The Caldwell County clerk will handle elections administrator duties for the 2022 November election following action taken in Commissioners Court. In the absence of an elections administrator, the county clerk is statutorily the official responsible for coordinating elections and other administrative duties pertaining to that role. The elections administrator role became vacant earlier this month when the person who previously occupied the position resigned, citing health reasons.
    • Commissioners approved shifting elections administrative duties to the county clerk as well as other housekeeping items associated with ensuring a fair election, including establishing temporary branch polling places, fixing the compensation for election workers, appointing precinct election judges and approving a central counting manager, assistant manager, tabulation supervisor and assistant tabulation supervisor.
    • Commissioners voted to continue holding regular bimonthly commissioners court meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.
    • Commissioners voted to table deciding on approving an interlocal cooperation agreement between the county and the LCRA for radio services. 
    • Commissioners discussed whether to amend the Caldwell County siting ordinance to designate the land upon which the 130 Environmental Park sits as the only land upon which a landfill is permitted. The siting ordinance currently designates a gravel pit in a different area of the county as the site on which a landfill can be built. Changing it to the land upon which the current landfill is located would prevent the construction of future landfills in the county. No action was taken on the item.
    • Commissioners approved a resolution with the 130 Environmental Park expressing support for its revised permit application with the TCEQ that increases its daily operating hours and adds Saturdays to its schedule in exchange for numerous concessions designed to enhance residents’ access to the landfill and the landfill’s contributions to quality-of-life enhancements for county residents.

     

     

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