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County grant focuses on 'resilient' infrastructure

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Grimes County Commissioners Court held its last Regular Meeting for 2021 Wednesday, Dec. 15, and approved the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) subgrant award letter for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program DR-4332 in the amount of $142,500 and authorized the county judge as signatory. The County’s in-kind match of 25% is not to exceed $37,500.

EMS Coordinator David Lilly said, “The main focus of this planning process is to look at our needs for infrastructure, to improve the infrastructure to make us more resilient.”

According to Lilly, the match must be paid upfront but tracking volunteer hours and labor will enable the County to recapture some of the matching funds. Program participants will include county commissioners, mayors, members of law enforcement and the fire departments, Road and Bridge, and “anybody who needs to be at the table.” Lilly said the stakeholders’ kick-off meeting will be held the third week in January and announcements will be made soon to get “maximum participation.”

He added, “We want the public to know what we’re doing going forward. The focus is on making the county safer.”

SH 6, SH 90 STEP grant priorities

Commissioners approved the Grimes County Sheriff’s Office’s request to apply for a TxDOT Traffic Safety E-Grant for fiscal year ending 2023.

GCSO representative Capt. Ryan Rutledge told commissioners, “We were prequalified due to the number of accidents that have been reported in Grimes County.”

According to the STEP project description, officers will make enforcement of the following a top priority – driving while intoxicated, speeding, occupant protection (safety belt and child safety belt), intersection traffic control and distracted driving – while performing enforcement activities under the grant. In addition, officers will make it a priority to conduct enforcement activities during Christmas, New Year’s, spring break, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

Public education is a required component of the STEP grant and includes five presentations at the high schools as well as through multiple media sources.

Rutledge said three “zones” have been selected for enforcement focus and those are SH 6 between CR 318 and CR 324 which includes the intersection FM 2, SH 90 from CR 180 to FM 149 East and 12593 SH 6 at Hilco Roofing to FM 2988.

TxDOT’s portion of the STEP grant is $39,970.55 and the County’s match is $10,159.57.

Animal shelter lease amended

Commissioners approved amending the lease agreement with Grimes County Animal Rescue to change the shelter’s location, amend the construction start date and have the ability to review the design.

GCAR board president Kristen Carrell confirmed some design modifications but said capacity remains the same at 30-40 dogs.

She responded to concerns about smell and noise in relation to its proximity to the Justice Center.

Citing the shelter’s design by Shelter Planners of America, Carrell said, “It’s designed in a way that it can be easily cleaned regularly so smell is only an issue if it’s not cleaned properly.” Carrell said drainage

Carrell said drainage and sloping of the floors make cleaning easy with a water hose. As for noise, she said the indoor-outdoor run setup will help “significantly,” as will the large play yards.

Carrell said, “What we’ve found in our foster program, is when you allow the dogs to run in the fenced area, when they’re running, they’re not barking unless they’re chasing a horse or something like that. The ability to have them out there cuts down on the noise.”

She said trees and foliage will form a buffer shielding the Justice Center from some of the noise.

Commissioner David Dobyanski said, “The main focus of the shelter is to get the dogs and cats rehomed and not keep them in the shelter.” Carrell added, “If you

Carrell added, “If you can envision an airport hub, that’s what we want to be like more than an animal shelter. Right now, in our foster program, we’ve been shipping 20-30 dogs a month up north. The goal is not to be holding 40 dogs in there making noise.”

As for a construction start date, the project which began seven years ago, is $20,000-$30,000 shy of breaking ground.

Fee changes

County Clerk Vanessa Burzynski announced that Jan. 1, 2022, civil case filling fees will increase to $350 and probate filing fees to $360 as a result of a legislative mandate.

Justice Center ribbon cutting

Judge Joe Fauth announced the ribbon cutting for the new Grimes County Justice and Business Center, 270 FM 149 West in Anderson will be held Dec. 31 at 11 a.m., followed by a facility walk-through.

Other court action:

•Approved Consent Agenda items which included the treasurer’s list of claims and bills, payroll, budget amendments and/ or line-item transfers and audit reports of Payroll for the period of Sept. 25-Oct. 8 and Oct. 9-Nov. 5.

•Approved a proposal from RCI submitted by Tax Assessor-Collector Mary Ann Waters for records retention in the amount of $8,787 and authorized the auditor to amend the budget to cover the expense.

•Reviewed the contract with BVR Waste and Recycling.

•Approved the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) Risk Management Pool liability renewal for 2022 with an increase in deductible from $500 to

$1,000 due to auto accidents. •Approved procurement of The Ambrose Group to provide appraisal services for the Grimes County CDBG-DR Voluntary Buyout Program GLO Contract #20-066-003- B966.

•Approved procurement of JLL Valuation to provide appraisal review services for the Grimes County CDBG-DR Voluntary Buyout Program GLO Contract #20-066-003- B966.

•After a public hearing with no comments against, approved the replat of King Oaks Section 2, Lot 279R, in Pct. 1. •Approved a Change Order in the amount of $229,557.50 to utilize the balance of 2016 GLO Grant funds.

•Approved the Brushwood Hill Plat in Pct. 1. •Approved the 2022 Commissioners Court schedule with Regular Meetings to be held on the first and third Wednesday. •Approved the Grimes County Justice and Business Center, 270 FM 249 West in Anderson, as the new site for commissioners court meetings beginning Feb. 2, 2022.

•Approved a Resolution Requesting the Public Sale of Property Acquired by the Grimes Central Appraisal District at Delinquent Tax Sale. •Approved the reappointment of Jared Patout as the industrial rep and appointment of Rodney Floyd as the agriculture rep to the Bluebonnet Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors.

•Discussed and reviewed a request from Anderson Water Company for ARPA (America Rescue Plan Act) financial assistance with action to be considered in January 2022.

•No action taken related to ARPA expenditures except to add Anderson Water Company to the list.

Burn Ban: The burn ban remains lifted.

Commissioners court may be viewed in its entirety at www.facebook.com/GrimesCountyCourtHouse.