Sale and use of fireworks banned

In light of the Lake Trammell fire on Friday, June 10, some decisions were made by the Nolan County Commissioners at its regular meeting on Monday morning, June 13, 2011 at the Nolan County Courthouse.A major approval was made banning the sale and use of fireworks due to the extremely dry weather conditions. Audience input was offered at the beginning of the discussion, with most voicing their agreement in the ban.Sweetwater had already cancelled its professional fireworks show for the 4th of July celebrations and a majority of area towns had already banned aerial fireworks only. The commissioners had the authority to ban some sales or all sales, but had to declare the local lands as a disaster area as well. The declaration prompts some rule changes, and the ban now gives the Sheriff's Department more backing in enforcement, eventually leading to the issuing of tickets. The commissioners looked over the policy and held a discussion on the matter, approving the disaster draft and ban.Also following Friday's fire at Lake Trammell, the burn ban is still in effect for Nolan County for the next two weeks.Several purchases were also looked at during the meeting, including an interlocal agreement toward the purchase of a pontoon boat for the use of both Nolan County and the City of Sweetwater. The purchase, coming in under $24,000, would be evenly split among the two entities, in which the ownership would be in both names. The boat would be used during emergencies on the area lakes, mainly in search and rescue efforts but also for investigative purposes from a law enforcement standpoint.The current boat is no longer in service, being purchased in the mid-1980s. At the recommendation of the Texas Parks and Wildlife, the new boat would include an excellent sonar feature. In addition, anyone operating the new boat would be required to take boating and safety courses.Another purchase approved by the commissioners was for a 5,000 gallon water transport trailer for Precinct 1. The cost stands at $8,500.A discussion was held on the potential replacement and purchase of an emergency generator for the Nolan County Courthouse, a matter which has been discussed since February. The issue, however, was tabled in an effort to view the matter in detail at the upcoming budget hearings.More dialogue was heard in regards to a policy concerning the public use of courthouse grounds for community activities, a continuing discussion from the previous meeting. Nolan County attorney Lisa Peterson drafted the policy, which was viewed by the commissioners. As the document was approved, efforts to inform the public of the changes and stipulations of property use are currently underway.Furthermore, potential polling place changes were discussed and considered, which will take effect in the 2012 primary. A couple of major changes were of a voting site previously at First United Methodist Church to relocate to Broadway Baptist Church in Sweetwater. Other changes will be in a shared polling place, which will benefit voters in the smaller communities like Nolan, Blackwell and Maryneal in travel and will also eliminate confusion and hassle for voters. The costs towards the polling place and additional workers will also be shared; the changes were approved by the commissioners. The commissioners also approved the minutes from the May 23 meeting and received reports from the Nolan County Auditor, Treasurer, Clerk and the Veteran Service Office.