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County recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month, gets body cam funds

Child Abuse Prevention Month in Burnet County

The Burnet County Commissioners Court and child advocates dressed in blue for a reading of the county's proclamation April 12 recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month. Photo by Dakota Morrissiey

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Burnet County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, April 12, acknowledged it with a proclamation amid a sea of blue, the color representing efforts against child abuse and neglect.

A coalition of organizations raising awareness of the plight of neglected and abused children in Burnet County attended the Commissioners Court’s regular meeting at the courthouse in Burnet for the official reading and signing of the proclamation. 

“(Child abuse is) not gonna go away, unfortunately,” said Caroline Ragsdill, director of the Burnet County Child Welfare Board. “We hope we can make a dent, we hope we can bring awareness, put up signs around town, wear blue ribbons and give them to the churches, all in an effort to make people aware that it is right here in Burnet County.”

The initiative is spearheaded by the welfare board, the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center, and CASA for the Highland Lakes Area

County Judge James Oakley summed it all up with a quote from his late father, Roy Oakley: “Spilled milk is one thing, but when it comes to abuse and neglect, it’s never the children’s fault.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS

BODY CAMERAS

A $58,882 grant was accepted to purchase 42 body cameras for Burnet County law enforcement. The county will match the grant with $19,627 for a total cost of $78,510 for the cameras.

TEXAS INDIGENT DEFENSE COMMISSION COORDINATOR

The Commissioners Court approved the continued use of a grant from the Texas Indigent Defense Commission. The commission provides funding and support to the state’s 254 counties, ensuring that indigent residents receive adequate counsel and legal support when the need arises. 

The grant will go toward hiring a TIDC coordinator in Burnet County.

ROAD CREW UNIFORM BUDGET

The court also voted to increase the annual uniform budget for road and bridge workers to $200 from $150 a year. Precinct 2 Commissioner Damon Beierle explained that a rise in costs had reduced the number of pairs of blue jeans a worker could purchase from five to two. 

PAVING OIL BID

The court accepted a bid for paving oil from Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions. This was the only valid bid the county received, and it came in 48.6 percent higher than in 2021.  

Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery predicted fuel prices will soon return to reasonable rates, and he assured County Judge James Oakley and fellow commissioners the cost to the county will drop along with them. If he’s wrong and they do go up, the price will be locked in and cannot increase, he said. 

Burnet County is not alone in suffering from the effects of rising oil costs. The average crude oil spot price was $32.20 a barrel in March 2021. It reached $112.40 a barrel in March 2022.

TOURISM SPONSORSHIPS

Two applications for Burnet County tourism sponsorships were approved. LakeFest in Marble Falls will receive $500, and the Bertram Art, Herb, and Wine Festival will get $1,000. A sponsorship is awarded to applicants who can show an ability to promote business and tourism in the county. To learn more about requirements, visit the Burnet County tourism webpage. 

CHILD WELFARE BOARD APPOINTMENT

Lucretia Lehrmann was appointed to the Burnet County Child Welfare Board. The board is composed of appointed volunteers who work to support Child Protective Services in the area by providing beds and bedding, graduation expenses, scholarships, and fees for driver’s education, camps, and band, among other expenses.

BUILDING PERMITS

About 8,000 acres of land in the county are in conceptual development, reported Herb Darling, director of Burnet County Development Services. His departmental report reflected what he called unprecedented numbers of building permits. Twenty-three new wells are being drilled in The Ranches at Blackbuck Ridge development, and the department set a new record for septic construction, handing out 70 permits in March. 

Darling asked for patience as his department handles the enormous workload.

“It is just an extremely busy time of the year,” he said. 

Burnet County is currently in talks with Llano County to hand over the Horseshoe Bay record system, which would significantly ease the burden. 

Oakley also recognized Darling for his 25 years of service to Burnet County. His anniversary is April 16.

“Looking forward to the next 25,” Darling joked.

editor@thepicayune.com