Commissioners work toward state grant money for roads
by Tim Delaney
Mar 02, 2014 | 392 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eric Hartzell of Grantworks.
Eric Hartzell of Grantworks.
REFUGIO – Refugio County commissioners heard from Eric Hartzell, of Grantworks, Austin, at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Hartzell is making sure Refugio County receives grant money from the Transportation Infrastructure Fund awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation.

The 83rd Texas Legislature appropriated $225 million to aid counties impacted by the oil and gas industry to repair roads.

Hartzell said the March 14 deadline is nearing and the county is required to do a few things prior to that date to be eligible for the funds.

First, commissioners approved amendments to the county road reports to comply with Chapter 251 of the Texas Transportation Code.

Second, Hartzell said the county had to create a reinvestment zone to be eligible for the grant money.

He proposed a 55-acre area that would be taxed at the regular rate. As the property value increased, the additional money would be put into a special account that could be used for roads and matching funds from TxDOT.

Hartzell said the county also has to create an advisory board to implement the reinvestment zone money, naming a starting point and an amount of ad valorem taxes to place in the special account.

Commissioners agreed to meet in a special meeting Monday to name and approve the advisory board members for the reinvestment zone.

Hatzell said the county also has to prioritize the 21 roads it has chosen for the grant program.

Refugio County stands to receive $1.3 million from TxDOT with a $300,000 matching amount for a total of $1.6 million that will go to fix roads.

“There might be additional funds from counties that don’t apply for funds,” Hartzell said.

Hartzell noted that the total amount for all roads and road segments to be fixed would be about $3 million.

He said once the application is in, TxDOT awards in 30 days.

In other business, Refugio County commissioners voted to close, abandon and vacate Haynes Road off of Old Goliad Road.

The request to the county to take the road off its list of county roads was made by Lobos Del Blanco LLC through the Refugio law firm of Scanio, Teer and Cox.

Commissioner Gary Bourland said the 4,563-foot, 15-foot wide road was in his County Precinct 3.

“I’ve gone down there time after time cleaning up a mess,” Bourland said, before making a motion to give the road up. Commissioner Stanley Tuttle seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.

Commissioners also voted to approve matching funding for the Woodsboro Fire Department to purchase a life-saving 6.5 horsepower tool for wrecks. The tool cuts and rams to extricate car accident victims.

The $8,824 match to the Woodsboro City Council’s $8,824 will buy the tool at $17,648.

The money comes from the county’s un-allocated funds.

It was noted that most of the emergency calls to the Woodsboro Fire Department come from outside the Woodsboro city limits.

The Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Department also plans to give the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department its current extrication tool, which is much slower than the new tool will be.
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