By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – Members of the Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court are considering the creation of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ) in order to secure over half-a-million dollars in grant funds from the state. Commissioners held a public hearing on the matter – which no one from the public attended – before a regular meeting, Monday morning, in the Palo Pinto County Courthouse.
According to a press release from County Judge David Nicklas, the Texas Legislature appropriated $225 million for county transportation project grants, $558,005 of which was allocated to Palo Pinto County by the Texas Department of Transportation.
The grant money can be used on transportation projects anywhere in the county, but, in order to receive the money, one of the state’s requirements is that Commissioners establish a CETRZ.
Nicklas assured taxpayers that a CETRZ would not increase or decrease taxes.
However, the CETRZ will use taxes from any increase in the value of the property within the CETRZ for transportation projects.
Nicklas said Commissioners must wait 30 days after the hearing before they can make a decision to create the CETRZ, but they can determine the boundaries of the CETRZ as soon as the next Commissioners Court meeting. TxDOT’s grant application deadline is Feb. 14, 2014.
In other business, Commissioners:
• Approved monthly reports for County Auditor, Treasurer, Sheriff, Emergency Management, Public Works and Information Technology.
• During the Sheriff’s monthly report, he mentioned the possibility that Palo Pinto County Jail may soon have the opportunity to house federal inmates, as Parker County’s jail is full. The county needs only to find room in the budget for these inmates, whose short-term stay in the local jail could yield a significant monetary profit.
• Opened sealed bids for Imaging Project for Marriage and Death records at the County Clerk’s office. Cogniserv supplied the only bids: $87,882 for marriages and $37,506.85 for deaths. The County Clerk will review the bids before a decision will be made at the next meeting.
• Approved Delinquent tax attorney’s annual report. The report was mostly positive, with 96.6 percent of original levy taxes collected this year.
• Retained Accurate Leak and Line to repair Palo Pinto County Courthouse sewer lines.
• Appointed County Auditor Steve Watson and Assistant Auditor Karen Cloud as authorized representatives to the Lone Star Investment Pool.
• Approved computer systems for Sheriff’s Department.
• Approved a new shredder for the Poston Building in Mineral Wells.