COUNTY JUDGE LEWIS OWENS

Val Verde County Judge Lewis G. Owens makes a note during the Wednesday meeting of Val Verde County Commissioners Court. The judge and several administrators attended the meeting in the old county-court-at-law courtroom, with the four county commissioners participating via internet video.

Val Verde County Commissioners Court on Wednesday voted to continue ongoing food distribution efforts without any changes, at least for now.

The court voted 4-1, with only Val Verde County Judge Lewis G. Owens giving a dissenting vote, to continue with the county’s existing food distribution efforts and to discuss the issue again at the court’s next meeting.

Owens led a discussion of the county’s food distribution efforts during the court’s July 8 meeting.

At the time, he said there were “issues” with the food distribution events being staged by three of the four county commissioners.

Owens said there have been traffic accidents at all of the distribution sites, adding, “We all know there’s a need, but we have people going to all of the locations over and over and over again.”

The court during its July 8 meeting discussed looking into using cards for which residents would register in advance to prevent “double-dipping” at the food events and designating a single location from which to distribute food.

On Wednesday, when Owens called for discussion of a food distribution policy, he initiated the discussion by reiterating his concerns about the problems arising from the food distribution events.

“We’re back on this again. What do you all want to do, or do you just want to quit talking about it?” Owens asked.

County Commissioner Pct. 2 Juan Carlos Vazquez then made a motion to continue the food distribution events for at least “a couple” more weeks “and come back and talk about it again at the next meeting.”

“Why don’t we just take it off the agenda completely? We’re not going to change it. It’s just going to stay the way it is from now on, each commissioner doing their own thing, and that’s fine,” County Commissioner Pct. 3 Beau Nettleton said.

County Commissioner Pct. 1 Martin Wardlaw gave the second to Vazquez’s motion.

Owens told the court he is “getting complaints” and reiterated there have been accidents at all three of the food distribution sites, at Precinct 1, Precinct 2 and Precinct 4.

“You all are opening up a lot of liability for us with the cars where they’re at,” Owens said.

“I agree with you. I think we need a single food distribution system that works, but I don’t think we’re going to get there,” Nettleton said.

The court then voted 4-1, with Owens voting against the motion.

“I think it’s needed. I just don’t like the way it is,” Owens said as he cast his vote against the motion.

After the meeting, Owens said he believes that too many people who don’t need the free food are showing up at the distribution events and that the people who need the food aren’t able to get the food they need, adding the food distribution events are held during the day, when most people work.

“I voted against it because there has to be a better process,” Owens said.

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