Nueces County Commissioners last week approved the appointment of a Corpus Christi attorney to the recently vacated County Court-at-Law No. 3 seat.
With 10 applicants expressing interst in the position, commissioners opted to appoint David Stith to the seat formerly held by Judge John Martinez, who resigned Nov. 4. Stith has 13 years experience as an attorney, both in civil and criminal litigation.
He also served as a member of the Coastal Parks Board and is the President Elect of the Nueces County Bar Association.
The vote was a majority 4-1 decision, with Precinct 3 Commissioner Oscar Ortiz casting his vote for Michelle Villarreal Kutcha, a Corpus Christi attorney with 16 years experience.
“I think he’ll be terrific,” County Judge Loyd Neal said. “He has a lot of experience on both sides of the law.”
Among the applicants expressing interest in the seat vacated by Martinez was Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, Place 1 Amanda Torres. Torres won re-election last year to her seat, defeating challenger Joe Benavides.
Commissioners also voted unanimously to formally accept Martinez’s resignation. Martinez later addressed the court during the commissioners’ meeting.
“It has been an honor serving the citizens of Nueces County,” Martinez said.
Stith will hold the office until November 2012. He will need to seek re-election to continue serving as a County Court-at-Law judge for a full term.
In other county business:
• County Commissioners unanimously approved renaming Bishop’s Amistad Park to Amistad Veterans Memorial Park, in honor of military service men and women who fought and died in combat.
Bishop residents had previously expressed a desire to name the park after two Bishop men who had fought and died in the Vietnam War.
However, Precinct 2 Commissioner Joe Gonzalez, a former U.S. Marine, said he preferred an all-inclusive name for the park that honored all veterans, not just a select few.
• Commissioners approved a fee increase for solid waste collection in the the rural areas of the county.
Absolute Waste Services Inc. requested a $1.38 increase in the current monthly rate for its rural customers, from $24.33 to $25.71, which commissioners unanimously approved. It is the second rate hike in two years for residents relying on the service for their trash collection, since county leaders approved a 46 cent increase in the rate last year.
According to the terms of its contract with the county, Absolute Waste can request changes in the monthly rate based on market conditions.
This year’s adjustment is due to an increase in the Consumer Price Index, according to a letter sent to the county from Absolute Waste President William Davis.