Llano County Commissioners undecided about accepting $100,000 LCRA grant

 

 

By Phil Reynolds
The Highlander

Llano County commissioners will try again today, Friday, Nov. 16, to agree on whether or not to accept a Lower Colorado River Authority grant for flood debris cleanup. They’ll also look at proposals from potential contractors for debris removal and they’ll make the results from the Nov. 6 election official.

That meeting will be at 4 p.m. in the county law library in the courthouse, 801 Ford St., Llano.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13 – postponed a day because of the Veterans Day holiday – commissioners did agree to let county crews pick up debris on non-county roads; heard a presentation from a federal agency authorized to provide grants to local governments; and extended the county’s time without a burn ban.

The debris pickup is allowed as long as doing so protected the health and safety of residents, Precinct One Commissioner Peter Jones noted in his authorizing motion. The wording is required because otherwise the Federal emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may not reimburse the county, officials said.

Even so, county workers aren’t permitted to go on private property to haul away flood debris. It’s OK, commissioners were told, “if the homeowner drags it out to the right of way.”

The federal agency is the Emergency Watershed Protection program, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

An agency flyer noted that grants would be limited to 75 percent of the actual cost; the county would have to put up the remaining 25 percent.

Commissioners didn’t agree on whether to accept a $100,000 grant from the LCRA. Precinct 3 Commissioner Mike Sandoval argued against it, saying the grant would be “only a token of the amount needed” and calling the offer “an insult.”

Sandoval noted that the LCRA considers its responsibility to extend only to navigable waters. Sandoval’s position is that if a body of water has boat houses on it, it’s navigable by definition.

But County Judge Mary Cunningham argued that “if they’re going to clean up the coast, I guarantee you next time there’s a hurricane, counties will be lining up for assistance.”

Commissioners tabled the matter until today’s meeting.

Today’s opening of proposals includes both debris cleanup and a monitor for that cleanup. Originally scheduled to be opened Nov. 7 but officials learned state law required a two-week period instead of one week, thus the action was postponed a week. Proposals were opened Nov. 14 and will be acted on this afternoon.

 

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