Mineral Wells Area News

County Meeting Highlight Reel

County Meeting Highlight Reel
March 29
09:03 2023

This week’s County Commissioner Meeting Highlight Video Includes Retirement Announcements and a Discussion By Local Food Growers Seeking a Water Solution

Video Recap of 3/27/23 County Commissioner’s Meeting

Palo Pinto County County Commissioners’s met this week and celebrated the retirement of two longtime employees, including a Commissioner and the County Auditor.

Mike Pierce, Commissioner of Precinct #3, is retiring after 33 years of service to Palo Pinto County at the end of March. Pierce said he was ready to pass on his duties to someone younger as is his heart wasn’t in it anymore.

“Sometimes you just know it’s your time,” said Pierce.

Mike Pierce, left, was presented an award for 33 years of service to PPC and will retire on March 31

County Judge Shane Long said it’s his duty to appoint a replacement and he will take applications until March 31 at noon in his office at the County Courthouse. The requirements to apply are shown in the image below.

Phyllis Banks, served PPC over 22 years and will retire as County Auditor on March 31.

Also retiring this month is County Auditor Phyllis Banks who dedicated 22 years of service to the County. Also former County employee, Johnny McKee, who has over 20 years of law enforcement experience, was appointed as the County Constable for Precinct #3.

Johnny McKee was hired as Palo Pinto County Constable Precinct #3

Also at the meeting, the Court took no action on the burn ban and it remains off. Burning is permitted but officials ask to be cognizant of the wind when burning.

Commissioner’s also took no action regarding the support of a regional water authority as they aren’t sure what that organization will look like at this point. State Representative Glenn Rogers has filed a shell bill in Austin that would establish a regional water district between Palo Pinto and four other surrounding counties to help create a “bigger voice” to help secure funding for improving water infrastructure in the area.

The Palo Pinto County Water Municipal District #1 provides drinking water to over 30,000 people(a number that continues to grow) in the region and is operating on a 60-year-old facility that is not up to TCEQ standards. Roger’s representative, Jeff Hinkson, says these letters of support are very important and they intend to work with each organization to draft letters in the upcoming weeks. More details on the viability of this regional water authority should be finalized by the end of April.

Also noteworthy at the meeting was the presentation made during public comments by Tai and Matt Saylor, who operate Rocky Hill Farms as well as are founding members of the Let’s Grow Crazy community gardens. They addressed the court regarding the Stage II water restrictions the city will impose on April 1. No outdoor watering of any kind is permissible, except for animals and pets. Fines up to $500 can be levied.

“I have a question for you. Is growing food a recreation?” asked Tai, referring to the classifications of garden growing as a hobby or recreation, by the TCEQ. Saylor went on to say she hopes the county will look into their concerns and find a solution so the community garden can still grow.

Community Garden volunteers Tai and Matt Saylor spoke to the court concerning the Let’s Grow Crazy Community Gardens inability to access water this season because of watering restrictions

Last year the LGC community garden used a little over 22,000 gallons of city water the entire season, and their request to City Manager Dean Sullivan for an exemption to the restrictions was not approved. They were offered large barrels of non-potable water.

The community garden volunteers are looking for solutions to keep their grow boxes viable without municipal water. One solution is implementing a rainwater harvesting system, but those are not cheap. LGC is hosting a Farm-to-Table dinner on Earth Day, April 22, to raise funds for a sustainable watering system that could keep the community garden growing through this drought. For tickets to the event, visit Let’s Grow Crazy