Potter County Commissioners Court extends burning ban until February
The Potter County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to extend its temporary burning ban until February 20, 2022. According to the order signed by Judge Nancy Tanner, due to the persistent dry conditions associated with the persistent strong winds region, the ban will remain in effect for 90 days.
Potter County Fire Chief Richard Lake spoke of the lingering dry conditions that prompted the burn ban to remain in effect during the meeting.
“The drought index has been steadily increasing,” Lake said. that we get considerable humidity. “
Under the ban, there will be no outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of Potter County due to the fire hazard presented by the drought conditions. Over 95% of Potter County is below drought level two, indicating the danger of wildfire is severe due to soil and pasture conditions. Around the same time last year, a similar burning ban was imposed by the county.
In other fire service related agenda items, the commissioners’ tribunal unanimously approved three Snider Motorsports Polaris Ranger Crew XP-1 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for a total cost of $ 114,201 to replace existing inventory that is well past the date of use. The recurring cost of maintaining older vehicles was a big factor in purchasing new vehicles that the fire department said will save money in the long run. The three current vehicles have been in use for over a decade.
Lake said the vehicles were needed for personal search and rescue on land and to get to areas where traditional fire trucks cannot safely access. Vehicles are modified with fire fighting equipment and may have water tanks with pumps which are paramount in fighting fires in remote areas. Vehicles are also used to evacuate people from hazardous areas in small numbers at a time.
“It sounds like a lot of production for three UTVs, but at the same time, we’re saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and possible damage to fire trucks and everything in between,” Lake said. “We use them all over the Panhandle.”
A report was also presented to the court that the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Amarillo Residents’ Office seized more assets than any other office in the department’s Dallas field division. In the past year, Amarillo’s office seized more than 3.79 million assets and approximately 416 pounds of methamphetamine.
When discussing possible future agenda items, District Three Commissioner John Coffee spoke of the plight of the building that the Amarillo Senior Citizens Association (ASCA) purchased from the county in 2019. So that he was in the process of removing asbestos from the county structure, the site was stripped of copper, which has now made the cost of renovating the building to standards at around $ 2 million, according to current ASCA Executive Director Jeff Whitsell.
Potter County Court and county officials appeared to be somewhat oblivious to the plight of the building sold to ASCA and spoke of the ramifications of the building not being used for the purpose sold or reverting to the county.
“I want them to have this building to make it into something like they planned, but from what I’ve read, that’s not going to happen,” Coffee said. “It’s potentially an asset that’s going to come back to the county, and I think we need to hear from someone to tell us what they’re going to do with that asset in the future.”
The court said it would seek to address this issue in a future agenda.