Commissioners begin budget talks for 2020

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The Pecos County Commissioners met on Monday, July 8 for a special meeting to hold a workshop on the 2020 budget and what building upgrades are needed for the future years.

The work was split up into the four precincts, representing Fort Stockton, Imperial, Iraan, Sheffield, Coyanosa, Bakersfield and Belding.

Going into the 2020 budget cycle, the county has zero debt, which they have now had for the last few years.

Judge Joe Shuster recommended putting $25,000 to $30,000 in each commissioners budget so architectural plans maybe be started for engineering needs in each precinct.

In Fort Stockton, one of the major projects the commission would like to begin is the Desert Pines Golf Course.

The proposed work would include a new building with several conference rooms able to hold simultaneous events.

The rooms would hold between 150 to 200 people, and would also offer a patio area.

Currently events such as quinceaneras are held at the Pecos County Civic Center, which sees its available dates for the year fill up by January.

The plan would also include a kitchen area for catering and a pro-shop for golfers.

The estimated cost for the project will be between $2.4 million and $2.8 million, which the county is hoping to share among the City of Fort Stockton, the golf association and other entities that will benefit from the facility, such as the Economic Development Corporation and Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The commissioners and the golf association agreed that many businesses and executives are coming to the area, and having additional meeting rooms would be beneficial.

Pecos County has seen a continued growth, especially from the energy sector, which is increasing revenue to the county.

“We have the ability and we owe it to the people of Pecos County to have better facilities,” Shuster said.

The commissioners are also looking at updating the Civic Center and the Pecos County Coliseum.

“We want to be able to give a good first impression,” said Shuster.

Other ideas addressed included:

• The city and the county are also looking at a new home for the fire station that currently sits on Nelson Street.

The department is outgrowing the facility and, with a new fire truck coming in September, it needs to start thinking about their options.

The proposed location would be somewhere near the temporary police department on 3rd Street and the former AT&T building on 2nd Street.

The fire department needs a facility that allows them both front and rear entrances so it can pull the truck through the building instead of having to back it in. The current building also lacks the height to accommodate the new truck.

• The Pecos County Sheriffs Office is also looking at new expenses for the next budget cycle.

Sheriff Cliff Harris is looking at adding another deputy, a new vehicle, as well as several programs that are mandated by the state.

One of the mandates, due by January, is a program that allows inmates access to a mental health provider at all hours of the day.

The program will cost around $25,000 a year.

The sheriff also has many of the deputies in various training courses, including those for mental health.

“My guys are going to school more than working the streets,” said Harris.

• Precinct 3 is looking at updating the Iraan Youth Center, the EMS station, and the community building complex.

A key step is determining whether the existing buildings should be restored or replaced.

The Iraan Airport also needs work, said commissioner Mickey Jack Perry.

He is explring adding new fencing to keep deer off of the runway, and fixing the exterior where areas needs to be mowed and better cleaned.

“I don't want to leave it all like it is,” said Perry.

• In Precinct 4 they are looking at upgrading the Coyanosa Community Center and the fire department building.

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