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Llano County bills rancher $68K for non-compliance on grazing lease

Llano County Commissioner Jerry Don Moss

Llano County Commissioner Jerry Don Moss signs the paperwork for a $68,000 invoice to the holder of a lease on over 17,000 acres of county-owned land. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Llano County commissioners billed a Tom Green County rancher $68,000 for failing to comply with a contractual brush management plan on 17,000 acres the rancher leases from Llano County. The land is part of an original grant given by the Republic of Texas in the 1840s to help fund public education and is held in trust by Llano County for the benefit of the Llano Independent School District.

Llano County is one of the only counties in Texas to still own its land allotment, which it currently leases for roughly $201,000 per year to rancher Randy Mangam. Ninety percent of all profits and proceeds from the land go to Llano ISD; 10 percent goes to Burnet County for use by the Marble Falls and Burnet school districts.

The Llano County Commissioners Court approved the bill during its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 13, at the recommendation of Commissioner Jerry Don Moss, who oversees the management of the land on behalf of the county.

“He is a good rancher. He takes care of the ranch. He has just kind of fallen behind a little bit, and we’re going to get him to catch up,” Moss told after the meeting.

Part of Mangam’s lease agreement with the county dictates that he conduct $80,000 worth of brush management a year to help maintain the rangeland. Mangam has not done enough brush clearing to satisfy the lease agreement, according to Moss. Commissioners entered executive session to discuss the matter then emerged into open session to issue the $68,000 invoice to cover the land that had not been cleared. 

Moss said that Mangam has been a good tenant thus far and holds the lease until 2026. 

Mangam’s lease began in May 2016. Although the county was not required to go out for bids on the lease, commissioners did so anyway. The more than 30 bids submitted ranged from $3 per acre to Mangam’s high bid of $16.37 per acre. The lease amounts to about $281,000 per year, including the brush management plan.

“Thank God Llano County, throughout the years, has kept (the land),” Moss said. “As long as I’m involved, it’s not going to be for sale.”