Falls on the Brazos could see makeover in 2021

Falls County officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding in conjunction with Mundo and Associates, Inc during the commissioner’s court meeting on June 22. The Civil Engineering firm, who also does city planning and economic development, will assist Falls County in pursuing a Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant. 

The endowment is called a Boating Access Grant. There are a number of facilities whose construction would fall under this funding, including but not limited to ramps, boat lifts, restrooms, sewage treatment facilities, showers, security lights, pump out and dump stations, and design costs. 

There is a cap of $500,000 for this competitive grant, meaning that the maximum amount of funds that the county could receive is $500,000. It is doubtful that Falls County would receive that much, as most Parks and Wildlife grants are allotted by population size, according to their website. 

The grant is a 75 percent matching grant, meaning that the grant can cover up to 75 percent of the total costs of the project. Falls County will be responsible for 25 percent of the costs, but these costs can be incurred via in-kind labor, equipment, or materials, as well as with cash money. Because this is a reimbursement grant, the county will be fronting all the money for the project to be compensated by TPWD upon completion.

The Memorandum states that Mundo and Associates will be receiving 12 percent of total project costs as their payment for design services and assistance through the application process.

Services will begin July 1, and are projected to include discussions on possible park improvements, seeking match opportunities that would go towards the 25 percent responsibility, and preparing the application.

Because of COVID-19, the application deadline was extended to Feb. 1, 2021. If the application is accepted and funds are granted, Mundo will also manage the park improvement project on behalf of the County. If it is not granted, they will attempt to submit the grant application again for Falls County in the next TPWD grant award cycle.

Storm Damage

The Falls County Sheriff’s Department and the Falls County Jail both were subject to incredible damages. Vehicles for the department were subject to hail damage, presenting to windshield damage as well as bodywork damage, while the Falls County Jail sustained extensive roof damage. Sheriff Scaman has already ordered repairs on the vehicles, but came before the Falls County Commissioners to present options for repairing the Jail site. Flores Construction was one of three bids considered and received the contract for replacing the roof on the facility. 

The company will handle all steps of the project, from removal of existing membranes to installation of the new materials to post-project cleanup. Services include a 60mm roofing material, instead of the standard 50mm and both a five and 20-year warranty on the services provided and materials used, respectively.

COVID-19 Updates

The Falls County Commissioners were updated that the City of Marlin was possibly going to implement a mask requirement in the coming days. Commissioners had few comments and accepted the information without taking action.

Free Trash Day

Commissioners approved planning for a Falls County Free Trash Day to be held Aug. 1. There is normally one per quarter, but due to COVID-19, the April date was not pursued. 

It has not yet been decided the number of sites that will be used this time around, nor if extra services, such as tire disposal, will be included. 

The County has a trash and disposal budget of $13,000 for the remainder of the year, according to Falls County Judge Jay Elliot. He said that this amount, combined with additional funds from the Heart of Texas Council of Governments, should be enough to cover the expenses.

Appraisal District Budget 

Commissioners looked over the proposed 2021 budget for the Falls County Appraisal District. It differs from the 2020 budget by -$17,523.90, coming out to $797,256.10 for the year. Questions arose on the subject of employee compensation, redirecting of funds, and share contributions.

The personnel budget is proposed with a $34,643.90 decrease, the contract services budget sees a $18,100 increase, a $5,100 increase in operating expenses, a $2,400 increase in the professional services budget, and a $8,480 decrease in the capital outlay budget.

Share Contributions are set to come from Falls County, Bremond ISD, Bruceville-Eddy ISD, Chilton ISD, Groesbeck ISD, Lorena ISD, Lorena ISD, Marlin ISD, Mart ISD, Riesel ISD, Robinson ISD, Rosebud-Lott ISD, Troy ISD, Westphalia ISD, the City of Bruceville-Eddy, the City of Lott, the City of Marlin, the City of Rosebud, the City of Golinda, Elm Creek Watershed, and the three Falls County Emergency Services districts. 

Each of these entities has an individual amount to pay, split up in quarterly payments. The first payments are expected to be received by December 31. 

Commissioners decided to revisit the subject of approving the budget once more information is received from the Appraisal District. Elliot said he had plans to ask Chief Appraiser Andrew Hahn a few questions, as well as passing on questions from the commissioners.

The Rosebud News

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