Aransas County commissioners, at their regular meeting Tuesday, May 26, voted 3-2 to table Resolution #R-14-2020, which would have authorized the award of professional environmental services contract (for the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Project through the General Land Office for Hurricane Harvey Recovery) to Wild Associates for the Micro-hospital component, Phase I & II environmental site assessment. The contract is valued at $7,250.

Commissioner Wendy Laubach, attending the meeting remotely, asked, “I thought we weren’t going to do this until we cleared up the underlying ownership (of the property where the micro-hospital is proposed).”

Aransas County Project Manager John Strothman said the passage of the resolution was procedural “so we can move forward.”

Laubach responded, “We don’t even have an option on this property, and haven’t told the public.”

She then moved to table the agenda item, but it was never seconded.

Commissioner Jack Chaney asked if there is any downside to tabling the matter.

Strothman said only the timeframe, noting the long-term recovery team is working on many projects simultaneously, and if any part of a project can be completed, the team is trying to get it completed.

Commissioner Bubba Casterline asked if the grant money for the micro-hospital has been received.

“We haven’t been given any money, said Strothman. “No money has changed hands. If (when) the grant is approved, we can roll.”

Laubach then said any motion to approve the resolution should note the court is picking a contractor, but not moving forward, with the contingency to not pay any funds until the title of the real estate is cleared up.

“I think we need to tell the public where this (site for the micro-hospital) is,” said Laubach. “Say so on the record.”

County Attorney Kristen Barnebey then said, “We have gotten pretty far off the topic of the agenda item.”

Laubach said, “I’m uncomfortable doing an environmental study on property we don’t own.”

She then made the motion to table the matter. It was seconded by Casterline and passed 3-2 with Chaney joining them in support of tabling the item. Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills and Commissioner Charles Smith voted against tabling the matter.

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