At its meeting on April 28, Brewster County Commissioners recognized Judy Stokes’ 19 years service as executive assistant to the Sheriff’s Office. Stokes received a plaque presented by Sheriff Ronny Dodson for her dedication and commitment as she retired on April 30.

In other business, Dodson asked commissioners to approve a contract for Fort Stockton-based AG Oilfield Services to build a fence around the impound yard at the county’s Sunny Glen Cooperative Building.

“Since the new administration has come in and with the influx of illegals coming through, we are seizing a lot of cars,“ said Dodson. “We are taking all the Border Patrol seizures. The impound lots we have behind the jail are packed all the time, so we want to build a bigger impound yard.”

Dodson said some of the vehicles had been sold, and others would be up for sale. The proposed bid amount for the fencing was around $14,700, and included a security surveillance system. Commissioners then approved the contract.

In other news, Big Bend Regional Hospital District Executive Director J.D. Newsom updated the court on new initiatives to assist a wider range of clients for its indigent healthcare program, a local government taxing entity covering both Brewster and Presidio counties.

“This year, we surpassed the number of clients in the first six months over what we did last year, and I would like to see us double the number of people we provide with medical assistance,” said Newsom.

Newsom also said the hospital district recently increased income eligibility limit for prospective clients who may not have qualified for the program under previous guidelines. Preventative dental services and vision services were added to the list of new benefits, along with other healthcare initiatives.

Brewster County Tourism Council Executive Director Robert Alvarez provided an update on travel and tourism, and was pleased with visitation numbers. Alvarez said the National Parks Service planned to increase the numbers of campsites to book online, as visitation has increased significantly around Big Bend National Park.

According to Alvarez, there was close to a $30,000 increase in hotel-motel occupancy taxes collected compared with 2019.

“This is going to be a banner year for visitation and hotel occupancy in Brewster county,” said Alvarez, and added that business was booming for sales tax collections due to fuel and food purchases.

Finally, Emergency Management Coordinator Stephanie Elmore requested a 45-day renewal of the countywide burn ban, and commissioners approved.

The next regularly scheduled commissioners court meeting is set for Wednesday, May 12, at 9:30 a.m. via Facebook Live.

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