Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – The Palo Pinto County Commissioners Court has taken the necessary steps to secure a grant that will provide much-needed maintenance to 20 county roads affected by recent oilfield traffic and operations. In a special meeting Monday morning, at the Palo Pinto County Courthouse, commissioners unanimously approved the creation of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone to promote state funding for these infrastructure projects, as authorized by the Texas Transportation Code.
"What it essentially does for us is it grants us well over $500,000 that we can use to work on the roads that oilfield traffic has torn up and we haven't been able to get fixed because we don't have the money to do it," County Judge David Nicklas said. "Additionally, there are some other counties that are either not applying for it or will not be granted and all of that money rolls back into the fund and will be distributed out to us.
"There's some matching that we have to do, but that is more in line with the labor and equipment we utilize. So, we're not actually going to be out physical dollars to do it."
As part of this process, commissioners also unanimously approved county road reports for filing and the Senate Bill 1747 Prioritized Project List, which details and prioritizes all 20 roads set to be repaired. A wide variety of projects are listed from all over Palo Pinto County with varying costs and scopes of work.
Most of the projects show an estimated length of construction at one month or less while others are more extensive, ranging between four months to a year and three months.
Nicklas said utilizing the CETRZ for state funds on these projects is nothing but a positive for the county and its limited budget.
"It's a really worthwhile project for us," he said. "It's really going to help us use our tax dollars more wisely."
•In other business, commissioners approved the sale of a Bushmaster rifle to retired Precinct 3 Constable Noah Bragg for $699.95. Bragg retired from service at the end of January after 29 years and was replaced by former Palo Pinto County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Santifer. Bragg joined former Precinct 4 Constable James Roberts – who retired in November – as the second county constable to retire in the past three months.
Commissioners also sold Roberts a rifle in a past meeting to commemorate his 24 years of service.