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Court seeks rare grant for roads
by Tim Delaney
Dec 16, 2013 | 75 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REFUGIO – The Refugio County Commissioners Court approved applying for a Transportation Infrastructure Fund grant on Tuesday morning, Dec. 10.

The action came after a presentation by Denman Netherland, representing Grantworks Inc. of Austin.

The new grant is a one-time offering through the Texas Department of Transportation.

“The state decided to take from energy industry funds and give it back to road and bridge,” Netherland said.

The grant money then could be used to fix or repair roads damaged by oil & gas traffic.

She said a total of $225 million is available to counties and up to $1.287 million is available for Refugio County if it applies by the Feb. 14 deadline.

However, the grant requires a 20 percent cash match or about $250,000 if Refugio applies for all that is available to it.

“A grant for roads and bridges does not come along very often,” she said.

Commissioners also approved 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, as a public hearing date in the county commissioners courtroom.

The public hearing would address any concerns from county residents about raising taxes for the projects funded by the grant and also to set the reinvestment zone boundaries of the projects.

Netherland said a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone, or CETRZ, has to be created to meet the requirements of the grant.

That zone would not limit the areas grant money could be spent on.

“I think this is one of the greatest things that has come along from TxDOT,” said Commissioner Ann Lopez.

Commissioners also approved a five-year residential tax abatement for Nathan and Corrin Eby.

The Ebys constructed a residence in Bonnieview and invested more than the minimum requirement of $150,000. Their investment was $180,000.

Also commissioners approved a five-year abatement for Eby Land Barons Inc. for construction of a metal building costing more than $150,000.

The five-year abatement begin in 2014 and begin with an 80 percent abatement, followed by a 60 percent abatement in the second year, a 40 percent abatement in the third year, a 20 percent abatement in the fourth year and a zero abatement in the fifth year.

Commissioners also approved a computer purchase for Justice of the Peace Emo Riemenschneider’s full-tim clerk at a cost of $1,346. The money would come out of the technology fund.

Commissioners also approved a resolution among the county, the county Democratic Party and the county Republican Party for a joint primary election and possible runoff election, March 4 and May 27 respectively.

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