Comal County Commissioners extended the current burn ban for another 90 days during their weekly meeting on Thursday.

The extension begins upon expiration of the current ban, which went into effect July 26, on Oct. 23. The measure, which prohibits outdoor burning in unincorporated county areas, will continue for another 90 days or until rains reduce the drought.

“We had some rain yesterday but we’re still sitting at 677 on the KBDI (Keetch-Byram Drought Index),” Fire Marshal Kory Klabunde said, referring to the index that measures drought in Texas counties. Commissioners usually approve burn bans after Comal’s KBDI exceeds 500 points. The county’s lowest KBDI indicator was at 515 points Thursday morning.

Burn bans prohibit open flames outdoors — including trash burning, campfires and torches. Residents can barbecue on grills with lids set off the ground; welders are advised to use spotters for outdoor work and keep water sources nearby.

Also Thursday, commissioners heard from Elizabeth Bowerman, president of the Comal County Conservation Alliance, who urged they consider purchasing two land tracts 

totaling 610 acres as habitat for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.

The county’s Regional Habitat Conservation Plan protects habitat for endangered wildlife species identified by federal law. Last year, CCCA officials asked commissioners to consider future purchase of at least 500 contiguous acres to meet the area required by federal statutes.

“You said to us that we needed to bring a specific project and opportunity to take action,” Bowerman said. “Well, that time has come.”

Bowerman said the area comprised two of seven tracts formerly connected to the Old Boy Scout Camp off Farm-to-Market Road 32.

“Both are located are completely or mostly located in the county, in the section known as the Devil’s Backbone,” she said. “They are on sale and available and prime habitat for the golden-cheeked warbler, and can be used as mitigation credits for habitat that had been destroyed in other places in Comal County.”

Commissioners could not comment on Bowerman’s proposal, presented during the citizen’s comment portion of Thursday’s meeting, which included a proclamation designating county observance of Wednesday, Oct. 23 through Thursday, Oct. 31 as Red Ribbon Week, which annually promotes drug-free choices for area school children. 

Commissioners on Thursday also approved:

• Amended plats, final plats and/or infrastructure construction surety agreements and/or extension requests for sections and units of the Canyon Lake Forest, Veramendi, Meyer Ranch, River’s Edge at Mystic Shores, Cypress Cove and Mystic Shores subdivisions.

• Comal County Historical Commission’s application seeking 2020 Texas Historical Commission grant totaling $4,500 — with a county match of $4,500 — for $9,000 total in preparations to nominate Main Plaza for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

• A Veterans Treatment Court’s application for $150,000 in Texas Veterans Commission grant funding. County Court at-Law No. 1 Judge Charles Stephens, who presides over the court, said the additional $50,000 requested will fund a probation officer during the 2020-21 program year.

• A Governor’s Office Victims of Crime Act grant totaling $129,533 (including matching funds totaling $26,000) to support the salary of a crime victim services liaison officer for the Comal County Sheriff’s Office. 

• Appointment of Reed Flora to the Comal County Child Welfare Board of Directors.

• Authorizing Justice Court Technology Funds for upcoming professional development and training events for the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace office.

• A line-item budget transfer of $645,000 for road department purchases of capital equipment, originally planned in the 2020 budget but available in the current budget, and remaining 2019 expenditures.

To access Thursday’s video and agenda, visit www.co.comal.tx.us/agenda.htm.

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