Burn ban still in effect for Nolan County

The Nolan County Commissioners' Court met for the final time in 2010 for a regular session on Monday morning, Dec. 27, at the Nolan County Courthouse.Several items were on the agenda to be considered by the commissioners. Among them were an upgrade regarding postage. The Pitney-Bowes postage meter and lease agreement was due for a system upgrade. There have been minor problems with the current equipment, but some much needed cleaning has been done to fix the problems. The upgrade includes new features such as tracking packages and any new training would be performed by the company. The new lease agreement is actually cheaper than the one currently in place, and an approval was made to upgrade.Another approval made was in regards to the new mileage rate for the new year. In 2011, the regulated standard rate from the IRS raises the price up to 51 cents per mile. The rate goes up yearly, with most city and counties following suit to stick with the IRS regulations. The raise will go into effect on Jan. 1 and should not affect any travel budgets.The burn ban that is currently on Nolan County was also discussed and considered for removal, with a report from two precincts that an inch and a half of rain was received from the previous rainfall. However, Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden noted that the combination of high winds and tall grass could still lead to dangerous conditions, thus leading to an approval for the burn ban to still be in effect on the county.One topic of discussion that was tabled at the meeting was the response that is to be made to Travelers Insurance for the new recommendations on liability. The changes that Travelers recommended were concerning the applications forms that are currently being used by the county. The date of high school graduation can no longer be on the application, as it dates the applicant. Statements about possible background and driver's license checks, drug testing, motor vehicle records from the past three years and equal opportunity employment should be on the applications and implemented. There appeared to be no problem in placing the statements on the applications, but should background checks need to be implemented, an agency would need to be hired to perform the checks. Lisa Peterson stated that while law enforcement can personally perform background checks, elected officials are unable to do so. The request for the response was received on Dec. 9, and the county has 60 days to respond.Also at the meeting, an update was presented from Ray Browning with the Nolan County Health Department for emergency preparedness to the court. Browning, a new city employee, recently took a trip to Austin to acclimate himself to the position. He informed the commissioners that the current level is at intermediate, and not at the highest level of advanced. While the county is fully compliant in its current plan, several plans will need to be revised in the new year, as it had been five years since the last revision. The plan is to have the revisions done some time in April, with Browning pledging to work alongside the county to complete the revision process and possibly get them to the advanced level.Other items approved were the minutes from the previous meeting held on Dec. 13, as well as the three reports that were received from the department heads.