By JUDY SHERIDAN
Parker County proceeded with plans to win state grant funding for roads damaged by oil and gas producers last week by holding a public hearing on the creation of one or more County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones.
Engineers also submitted 11 road projects to include in the zones, including three in Precinct No. 4: East Bankhead Highway, White Settlement Road and Clear Lake Road.
Legislators have required that counties create CETRZs in order to compete for $225 million in grants they have set aside for fiscal year 2014.
A CETRZ surrounds a planned transportation project and captures the new property taxes generated inside it, according to TxDOT.
“The CETRZ will not increase or decrease property taxes,” Judge Mark Riley said. “It will utilize taxes from the increase in value within that to go strictly for transportation projects. The money generated in the zone cannot be transferred to the General Fund or used for any other purpose.”
The grant estimated for Parker County currently is about $1.27 million Riley said, with the county ponying up about $254,000, a 20 percent match.
“There is a possibility that more money would be available to apply for, because there will be some counties that aren’t going to apply I’ve been told,” he said, “but that would come later in the process.”
Chris Bosco, of Freese and Nichols, who has worked with commissioners to prioritize county road projects, named 11 roads as candidates for the CETRZ application. The improvements — which consist of 2 inches of asphalt along the length of the roads and 8 inches of flex base on base failure areas — total $11.5 million.
“We’re submitting more than what is allocated,” Bosco said, referencing the $1.2 million estimate.
“If other counties that are eligible elect not to submit, there could be opportunity for that to go up. We want to make sure we’ve submitted well above our amount, so we don’t have to re-evaluate.”
East Bankhead Highway top priority
East Bankhead Highway, from FM Road 1187 to Ranch House Road, was listed as number one on a prioritized project list presented by Bosco. Engineers estimated the total repair cost at $1.07 million with the county paying $213,920.
White Settlement Road, from FM Road 3325 to the county line, was listed as priority number five. Repairs are estimated at $1.75 million, with the county contributing $350,860.
Clear Lake Road, from the Weatherford city limits to Airport Road, was number ten on the list, with a $452,000 price tag and the county paying $90,440.
Other projects listed and prioritized were:
Pct 1: Veal Station Road(8), Old Springtown Road(6), Knob Road(3), Harms Drive(11).
Pct.2: Advance Road(2), Adelle Road(7).
Pct.3: Fox Road(9), Thompson Road(4).
For all but one project, the road’s right-of-way serves as the CETRZ.
“Since the Precinct 1 grounds actually are adjacent, one of the parts of the application is to include the road’s right-of-way and one parcel along the road,” Bosco said. ”We chose that the Precinct 1 grounds, the property the county already owns, be encompassed in Veal Station to meet those requirements.”
Riley said the CETRZ boundaries would be finalized at the next meeting.
Commissioners must wait 30 days after the public hearing to authorize the grant application, now due March 14. An advisory board, comprising oil and gas industry representatives and county residents, must also be appointed.
“Did you say that’s a 20 percent match?” Dusty Renfro asked after the presentation. “If that number grows on us it could be significant.”
“I don’t think we have to use all of it,” Riley replied.
Auditor Mike Rhoten asked if the county’s matching funds could be in-kind instead of cash, with the donation of man-hours, materials or equipment, and the judge replied that he would ask the law firm hired to submit the application.
The grant can be used to pay for engineering services as well as legal fees, Bosco said.
East Bankhead Highway a top priority
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Suspicious house fire under investigation
The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.
Parker County Attorney John Forrest will ask county commissioners for additional funds as county budget discussions begin this year; he hopes to hire another attorney to help with an increase in Child Protective Services cases.
Firefighter arrested on child sex assault charges
A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested Monday, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
Developer withdraws site plan
ANNETTA —A controversial 34-home subdivision proposed for a 41-acre tract on Duncan Road will not go forward as planned, according to action taken by both the proposed developer and the Annetta Town Council after a public hearing Thursday night.
Aledo City Council to meet July 24
The Aledo City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 24, in the Aledo Community Center, 104 Robinson Court, Aledo.
Fires damage business, home
Two separate fires around 2 p.m. July 15 damaged a Willow Park business and destroyed the home of a Weatherford family.
Letter to the Editor
Thursday night, July 17, I was present for a surprisingly interesting experience when State Representative candidate Matthew Britt addressed a small group of supporters, followed by a question and answer session.
ESD 1, Annetta South close on fire station site
Parker County Emergency Services District No. 1 and Annetta South officials said Tuesday that the ESD is homing in on a site for a new fire station to serve residents in the Annettas and surrounding areas. Annetta South is expected to consider a zoning change to accommodate a new station next month.
Registration has begun for Aledo ISD
Aledo ISD enrollment for the 2014-15 school year began yesterday, July 21, and students new to the district need to register before school begins, Monday, Aug. 25.
County scrambling to fill elections post
Former Parker County Assistant Elections Administrator Laura Watkins, who sought, but was not appointed to the post of Parker County Elections Administrator after Robert Parten retired, last week began work as assistant elections administrator for Palo Pinto County, Palo Pinto County Elections Administrator Judith Evans has confirmed.
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- Suspicious house fire under investigation