Staff report

Cooke County commissioners retained the ongoing burn ban in unincorporated county areas during Monday’s regular meeting in observance of what looks to be a dry fall season through 2013.

Fire Marshal Ray Fletcher cited an average Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) number of 687 through the county, high enough to register as a drought. Little to no rain is expected during September, he said, and most measured areas of the county have KDBI numbers high enough to qualify for “moderate” or “severe” drought status.

“It hasn’t been this high so far,” Fletcher said about local moisture during 2013. “Fortunately, our fire instances have not dramatically increased, though we are starting to see increases of wind today and later on in the week.”

Fletcher added that such increases are major factors in fire danger among residents who burn outdoors.

Other meeting highlights:

• County Information Technology Director Dana Sons submitted a resignation, set to become effective Nov. 1.

• Commissioners approved the transfer of $5,000 within salary lines in the Cooke County Justice Center.

• Commissioners approved an Emergency Medical Services budget increase in the amount of $99,046 to cover the cost of payroll expenses for the remainder of the fiscal year.

• Commissioners approved these consent agenda items: fiscal year 2013 budget amendments; monthly bills; payroll and related expenses; the purchase of a thermal imaging camera for the Cooke County emergency management and fire marshal department; a $300 travel grant from the Tocker Foundation for Cooke County Library Director Jennifer Johnson-Spence; the final plat for the seven-lot Polaris Point subdivision in Precinct 4 and a related maintenance bond; the acceptance of auction proceeds from the sale of Precinct 1 equipment in the amount of $5,206; renewal of a contract for the collection of delinquent taxes between Cooke County and Jim Robertson; a contract with Woodbine Water Supply Corporation for the installation of a water line on County Road 281; and a voting machine rental agreement between Cooke County and Muenster ISD.

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