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Commissioners study Mass Gathering Permit

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    Pictured (L-R, front row): Grimes County Veterans Services Officer, Jay Lafferty; American Legion Post McCluskey Post 640 Adjutant Gary Williams; Commander, Charles Hopper and Vice Commander, Steve Storey. Pictured (L-R, back row): Commissioners Phillip Cox and Barbara Walker, Judge Joe Fauth and Commissioners David Dobyanski and Chad Mallett.

The Grimes County Commissioners Court held a Regular meeting Wednesday, Sept. 11, and among the agenda items discussed was a Mass Gathering Permit for events in Grimes County.

Pct. Commissioner David Dobyanski advised that Aug. 31, a trail ride began on FM 149, traveled CR 222, FM 2819, FM 1774 and back to the FM 149 starting point, with most of it happening after dark. According to DPS Sgt. Alease Wilson, this particular trail ride spanned 9 miles and required additional enforcement services from the game warden.

Describing similar situations that have occurred in Washington and Grimes County, Wilson said, “They violate rules of the road…have AT-Vs, go carts, golf carts, and it creates a really bad taste in the mouth of your citizens who live on these roadways when they are leaving or trying to get back to their homes.”

According to County Attorney Jon C. Fultz, a Mass Gathering Permit is the law. He described the frustration of the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office and the challenges of controlling these events that can get out of hand, as well as “putting landowners in a place where access to their property is compromised but also putting the safety of the folks in the trail ride at risk, and the folks who want to use these roads. It needs to be managed from the point of safety and a Mass Gathering Permit will be an inroad in this effort.”

Discussion included oversight of permit rules, making event promoters and landowners aware of the permit and informing law enforcement and first responders. According to Fultz, Washington County adopted Mass Gathering and Right of Way permits, and approval resides with the county judge and oversight with the Emergency Management Coordinator.

Penalties for permit violations apply to the promoter(s) with up to 90 days in jail and a $200 fine.

Roans Prairie streets,

alleys vacated

Commissioners unanimously approved the application of Anthony Pasket, Dale Walkoviak, Sidney Walkoviak, Bobby Moriarty, Laura Pasket, Gary Moriarty, Rodney Floyd and James Clepper, Jr. to vacate portions of Mayfield Alley, Seventh Avenue, Johnson Street, Penelope Street and the 20-foot alleyways in Blocks 23, 34, 35, 36 and 37 in Roans Prairie. The properties are located on the southwest corner of SH 90 and SH 30.

County attorney Fultz said, “The transportation code says specifically that if a road is vacated, the road to the center of the road is then owned by the abutting landowner. We had to examine all of the roads and find which landowner was going to absorb the property to the middle of the road if it was abandoned, and in doing that, we had to draft the order before you who is going to absorb the roads and property where the road exists.”

Fultz continued, “I would say it’s a significant part of Roans Prairie. It’s the entire southwest side within three or four blocks of the crossing of where 90 and 30 is. There are a whole lot of alleys that have never been built out.”

Fultz briefed the court on the history of how the railroad laid out plats for cities and towns at the turn of the

20th century and since Roans Prairie never incorporated, the property is under the purview of the county.

Road and Bridge engineer Harry Walker confirmed lack of road development and underground utilities and said, “It has not been developed in decades and there are streets not on the public tax rolls. The wishes of the adjoining property owners are such that they would like to see the development go in a different direction and I think it’s in our interest to support that…it facilitates future development by the affected property owners and will put a number of acres back on the county tax rolls.”

Property exchange

Commissioners approved, with one dissenting vote from Pct. 4 Commissioner Phillip Cox, moving forward with publication regarding the exchange of real property in the vicinity of the proposed justice center. It was suggested that access from SH 90 would alleviate traffic on FM 149 around the school, Law Enforcement Center (LEC), the justice center and be beneficial during an LEC lockdown.

Discussion covered appraisals, surveys, publication requirements, and the need for turn lanes. Cox favored tabling the motion pending further discussion about construction of the proposed justice center. He also desired a written statement from TxDOT addressing safety on SH 90.

Other court action:

•Approved consent agenda items that included Treasurer’s list of claims and bill, payroll, the Treasurer’s monthly report for July 2019 and authorized advertisement of affidavit of same, budget amendments and/or line item transfers.

•County Judge Joe Fauth signed a proclamation naming Sept. 20, 2019 as POW/ MIA Day in Grimes County.

•Failed to approve certificate pay for the Criminal Deputy District Clerk due to a lack of a second to the motion.

•Approved an agreement with Grimes County Go-Texan Committee permitting Go-Texan exclusive use of the fairgrounds for one week which includes Go-Texan weekend, in consideration of the purchase by Go-Texan of two electronic display boards valued at $17,000 located at FM 3455 at SH 90.

•Approved adding Police Cadet to SO1 pay grade.

•Approved agreements between Grimes County and Anderson-Shiro CISD and Iola ISD to provide and manage the School Resource Officer Program.

•Approved variance requests from a property owner on CR 203 to divide her 4-acre parcel of land into two 2-acre parcels, and from a property owner on Oakwood Drive to divide his 8-acre parcel into two parcels of 4.255 acres and 3.745 acres.

•Approved the addition of 10 handheld radios to the Grimes County 700/800 radio count, nine to the fire departments and one to the county judge.

•Approved the preliminary plat for Kenzie’s Subdivision off CR 127.

•Approved the transfer of internet service from USFon to BVCOG.

•Approved the 2019-20 Interlocal Agreement for fire protection services between the City of Navasota and Grimes County in the amount of $93,241.

•Received a Road & Bridge report from engineer Harry Walker related to bridge work, chip seal project on 7 miles of county roads, mowing and ditch work and status updates on Hurricane Harvey grant process and other projects being bid.

•Approved the 2019-20 vendor agreement with the Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging for congregant and home-delivered meals with the county judge as signatory.

•Approved the 2020 Holiday Schedule reallocating 8-hours for Independence Day which falls Saturday to Friday, July 3, 2020.

•Approved in separate action, both the Code of Conduct Policy and Fraud Policy to the Personnel Policy.

•Reviewed the District Judge’s compensation order for the county auditor and assistants, per Local Government Code 152.031(b).

•Approved the 2019-20 contract for County Funding for Emergency Medical First Responders, Inc. for pre-hospital medical services in the amount of $15,000 and authorized the county judge as signatory.

•Approved the 2019-20 Memorandum of Understanding in the amount of $6,000 with the BVCOG Transportation Partnership Program to provide transportation services for Grimes County residents.

•Tabled action on the proposed 2019-20 budget to Sept. 25 meeting.

Burn ban status

No action taken. Ban remains in effect.