Schleicher County Commissioners met Monday, September 19th to handle a light agenda.

Among other business, the commissioners approved applying for an airport maintenance grant through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The TxDOT RAMP (Routine Airport Maintenance Program) grant requires the county to pay $5,000 in matching funds. The commissioners directed County Judge Charlie Bradley and County Treasurer Jennifer Henderson to manage the grant funds when they are received.

The commissioners also reviewed and approved the county’s accounts payable and payroll check registers as presented by Henderson as well as a report presented by County Clerk Mary Ann Gonzalez.

Under new business, Justice of the Peace Phil Edmiston brought up the need to utilize the courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse for court proceedings, instead of the Memorial Building. He noted that the county has set aside funds to build a new courtroom annex, or to renovate an existing building. He suggested the funds be used to upgrade the existing second-floor courtroom.

Judge Charlie Bradley replied that the second-floor courtroom is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act since there is no elevator access in the courthouse. Bradley also explained that the courthouse stair well is too narrow to install a wheelchair lift. He further noted that any renovation project in the courthouse would require the involvement of the Texas Historical Commission.

The Memorial Building was first used as a courtroom for grand jury proceedings after the law enforcement raid on the YFZ Ranch in April of 2008. The building also served as a courtroom when the first two of the YFZ Ranch trials were held. At that time, District Judge Barbara Walther, who survived polio in her youth, wore leg braces. Also, then Attorney General Greg Abbott, who attended some of the grand jury and court proceedings, required the use of a wheel chair.

Bradley advised Edmiston that the county began setting aside money in 2010 for a new courthouse annex to be built on the courthouse square. The fund started with $500,000 with another $250,000 being added the next year. The fund currently has slightly more than $1 million, but construction costs have gone up.

Bradley said he hopes the fund will some day pay for a renovation of the Memorial Building.

Edmiston raised the question of voter accessibility, especially during the early voting period. He said he knew of two “voting irregularities” where voters entering the courthouse were exposed to people openly talking about the election. Edmiston continued by saying that elderly citizens have trouble getting into the courthouse for early voting.

Bradley brought the discussion to a close by saying that understood to Edmiston’s concerns, but added that he was trying to keep the county out of an American With Disability Act lawsuit. Bradley seemed to be done with the topic and said that he was moving on with the meeting.

For his part, Edmiston replied, “Keep putting a bandage on it.”

Bradley presided over Monday’s meeting with Commissioners Gary Gibson, Steve Nelson, Kirk Griffin and Chris Meador in attendance.

The next meeting of the Schleicher County Commissioners Court is slated for 9 a.m. on Monday, October 3rd in the Memorial Building.