By LIBBY CLUETT
PALO PINTO – Haste did not make waste for Palo Pinto County Commissioners Tuesday as the court quickly approved accepting block grant funds to get some Palo Pinto residences tapped into the sewer system.
Commissioners approved a Texas Department of Agriculture contract after receiving a Texas Block Grant totaling $275,000.
Valree Thompson, who helped the county obtain the funding, presented some history and information on the Texas Block Grant and explained how the county must use the funds to get eight homes connected to the Palo Pinto sewer line for the first time.
The grant is targeted toward property owners in low- to moderate-income levels and enables them to get hooked up with the Palo Pinto sewer system grid.
Thompson said the county can make sewer system improvements through an amendment to the grant contract only if funds remain after these targeted homes are hooked up.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jeff Fryer asked if it was mandatory for a home owner with a septic system had to hook up to the system, to which Thompson answered, “No,” but added that they want to The recently awarded grant was submitted about four times, she explained, and has been in the Texas Block Grant process for seven years. She said this area is “very competitive” and, as a result, entities typically start on the bottom of the list and get bumped up with each grant application.
“We finally reached the funding criteria,” Thompson told commissioners.
The community development grant came through the Texas Department of Agriculture via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This grant requires a county match of $13,750, but she said it doesn’t need to be matching funds. Thompson said the match can come from costs related to paying county employees and equipment use.
After approving the contract related to the grant, commissioners approved advertising for requests for proposals and set procedures for two items related to the Texas Block Grant Program. They authorized RFPs and procedures for engineering services and for grant administrative services in conjunction with the proposed wastewater improvements.
In other business, commissioners:
• Discussed the future of the old Precinct 1 barn in Mineral Wells, located on South Oak Avenue. Commissioners agreed to put the building up for sale and were informed by County Attorney Phil Garrett that it lies in a flood zone, so if they turn off the power, they could never get it turned on again. He added that commissioners need to disclose that this property is in a flood zone “over and over so we don’t have any hereafters.”
• Opted to turn off utilities at the old bank building in Palo Pinto, since the county didn’t budget for renovations to the building.
• Authorized a report of eminent domain authority, which they will submit to the State Comptroller’s office.
• Were advised by Fire Marshal Buddy Harwell to wait until the next meeting before re-initiating a ban on burning large brush piles. Harwell told commissioners the bar ditches are dry and they should consider a burn ban “if we don’t get any rain.”
• Authorized a resolution regarding the 2013 Indigent Defense Grant Program formula grant.
• Authorized requesting for sealed bids for: motor fuel, road materials and asphalt.
• Approved plats and replats to the following subdivisions: Gaines Bend, Phase II, Block 3; Hill Country Harbor, Phase I, Block B, lots 60, 61 and 62; and the 7-R Ranch, Phase 2, Block H, lots 25 and 26.
• Approved painting and carpeting the district judge’s office.
• Certified the sheriff’s 2012 asset forfeiture report.
• Approved a request for G&F Oil to bore Grassy Ridge Road in Precinct 2. Commissioner Louis Ragle informed the court that this group would bore their line “well below the bar ditch and they are going to case it.”
By LIBBY CLUETT
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