Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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February 22, 2014

Road repairs top county agenda

RUSK — County commissioners will vote on whether to create one or more special zones that could help raise funds for road repair.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones (CETRZ) were created by the Texas Legislature in 2007 as a value capture method for transportation projects, where revenues are set aside to finance a project.

Pct. 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti, who brought the proposal before the court earlier, said five parcels of land on County Road 3110 were identified for the proposed zone because of the severe damage the road sustains as overweight vehicles – primarily operated by the oil and gas industry – travel along it.

“It's really bad. It's one big pothole. And we have fixed it over and over and over, but the base under the road” is damaged, she said.

By establishing the CETRZ and qualifying for grant monies through it, however, commissioners could get funding to help address infrastructure problems in their precincts.

After creating the special zone, commissioners will determine which road projects take priority, then appoint a board of directors for the CERTZ board before submitting the grant application, due by early March, Pinotti said.

 "The last count I heard, only about 60 percent of the counties actually made application (for the grant)," she said. “There could very well be a second round of grant monies, because all the money that's left over that the counties did not go for will go back in the pot and will be reallocated to the counties.”

CETRZ funds would bolster work being done by the county as it addresses road projects.

“I had to calculate how much it would cost to fix every road in my precinct, and it was over seven-and -a-half-million dollars,” Pinotti said. “My budget is only about $400,000 for road this year.  So this is a really good opportunity to get some free money to fix our roads.”

Also during Monday's meeting, commissioners will:

• Consider permission for Pct. 3 to sell two Mack dump trucks to East Texas Mack under the Buyback agreement, as well as consider permission to buy two new Mack dump trucks through BuyBoard from East Texas Mack;

• Consider holding a public hearing on setting the speed limit to 30 miles per hour along County Road 1102;

• Consider approval to appoint new Airport Board members;

• Discuss and approve the purchase of signs and materials, and approve of Road & Bridge Undivided paying for necessary supplies;

• Consider approval of monthly reports from Pct. 3 Constable Eddie Lee and Pct. 2 Constable Jack White; and

• Authorize payment of the bills, payroll and transfer of funds.

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