By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Cooke County commissioners took stock of the area’s continued drought and imposed a burn ban during Monday’s regular meeting.
Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher, who recommended the ban to officials, reminded the court that a decision to restrict outdoor burning had already followed months of consideration and an expectation of late-fall dryness.
The decision to impose a burn ban was tabled during recent commissioners’ court meetings, with officials advised to keep an eye on the continued lack of moisture. During Monday’s meeting, Fletcher cited an average county-wide Keetch-Byram Drought Index number of 615, which denotes a high state of drought.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while — and, I’ll tell you, we’re there,” Fletcher said.
Other meeting highlights:
• Commissioners approved a proclamation honoring outgoing Cooke County Attorney Tanya Davis for 22 years of county service.
• During the meeting’s public comments section, Randy Schmaltz of the Indian Creek Volunteer Fire Department announced Lake Kiowa was recently named a “Firewise Community” following participation in the “Firewise Communities” safety awareness program coordinated by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Schmaltz added that members of his newly-formed fire department will present a “meet-and-greet” at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Callisburg Elementary School.
• Commissioners approved acknowledging a letter of compliance by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality for the completion of the fiscal year 2012 compliance and technical review audit for the Gainesville Local Onsite Sewage Facilities Program.
• Commissioners approved these consent agenda items: fiscal years 2012 and 2013 budget amendments; monthly bills; payroll and related expenses; a collector’s bond from the Cooke County tax assessor/collector; the employee honesty bond for the staff of the tax assessor/collector; elected official’s bonds; surplus of office equipment; a $25 donation to the Cooke County Library in memory of Toni Powledge from Joe Conner, Kaycia Chambless, Kimberly Schumacher and Jennifer Johnson-Spence; a novation agreement between Otis Elevator (formerly United Elevator) and Cooke County; donation of a tree topper from Big Lots of Gainesville for the Cooke County Courthouse Christmas tree located on the first floor; filing of the Cooke County Library quarterly audit; the salvage or surplus of the Southwestern Bell Telephone system that was previously used in the courthouse; the salvage of doors and related hardware that were removed from the courthouse during restoration; and the bid specs for inmate phone service at the Cooke County Justice Center located at 300 County Road 451 in Gainesville.