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February 26, 2014

Commissioners green light roads’ project

RUSK — Cherokee County commissioners gave the green light Monday to a project designed to help repair county roads by creating special zones.

The court created a single, initial County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone from five parcels of land on County Road 3110 that had been identified as severely damaged by traffic from overweight vehicles.

These zones were created in 2007 by the state legislature, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, “as a value capture method for transportation projects, where … revenues are set aside to finance a project.”

By creating the zone, the county will qualify for CETRZ grant money, allowing precincts to receive funding to address infrastructure problems identified within each area.

While each commissioner submitted at least one identified problem road, they were unable to agree on which of those took top priority for repair, so they will determine this an at upcoming commissioners court meeting, said Pct. 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti.

However, she added, the group has until mid-March to submit their application for the grant money.

In other CETRZ-related action, commissioners nominated five county residents as members of a mandated CETRZ advisory board: Tim Ross, Zach Tonroy, Doug Hassell, Mike Murray and Pamelia Franklin Adams.

“They will review and advise, looking at our projects and keeping abreast of what's going on, making recommendations to the commissioners court as to what areas need to be addressed,” Pinotti said.

Also on Monday, the court voted 4-1 – with Pinotti casting the dissenting vote – against purchasing state-mandated signs from an outside source.

“The state has issued certain mandates that we must be in compliance with as of January 2015 with all the warning signs in the county, and we have until January 2018 to replace the county road signs,” Pinotti said, explaining that she requested these state-mandated items be purchased through the county's Road & Bridge undivided fund.

However, the court denied the request, pointing out the county already has a sign-making machine operated by Commissioner Kelly Traylor, she said.

“The only other option is to buy them out of our own budgets,” she said.

During the meeting, new county airport board members were appointed by commissioners: Joe Weaver, Scott Davis, Ed Snyder, Jan Pate and Jack Portbeck.

No action was taken on an agenda item regarding the sale of two Mack dump trucks to East Texas Mack under the Buyback agreement by Pct. 3, which would then purchase two new replacement trucks through the company's BuyBoard program.

A public hearing has been set for the March 10 commissioners' court meeting requesting that the speed limit along CR 1102 be set at 30 miles per hour.

“That's in (Commissioner Steven) Norton's district – it's a highly traffic road, and a lot of young children live along there. I understand these families contacted him to lower the speed limit to keep that area safer,” Pinotti said.

 

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