By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula
COLDSPRING — With the year coming to an end, the court addressed changes in the county, including adjusting precincts with new census data and looking into closing roads that are hot spots for illegal dumping.
With Census data coming out in November, and in compliance with Census Redistricting Laws, an area of the county in Precinct 3 defined in-part by Highway 150, Millard creek, FM 945 S, Butch Arthur Road the East Fork of the San Jacinto River, and back over to Millard creek will now be in Precinct 1.
Residents in the affected area can expect to receive a notice in the mail.
The court approved the change unanimously.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, several county residents raised concerns over the lack of recent repairs on Butch Arthur Road in Precincts 1 and 3.
While new culverts recently have been installed, decades of neglect have started to cumulate under the weight of industrial trucks that use the road to access several businesses. Reports of mud coming through cracks in the pavement and damage to trailers and vehicle fronts have been reported and are attributed to potholes that have been continually patched throughout the years.
With close to a million dollars budgeted from FEMA-related money set to go into redoing the entire road next year, residents are still wondering why roads are worse than ever, especially with recent raises in tax rates.
The court noted patchwork had halted on the road since there are plans to replace it. County Judge Fritz Faulkner also made comments about plans to stabilize the road better to accommodate heavier vehicles.
“Give us a little more time, they’re going to fix that road,” Faulkner said.
Led by Lt. Ryan Bowen with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, a proposal for a new office and impound building was approved by the court. While plans were approved, bids will still be needed for the project, as the costs is anticipated to be more than $75,000.
The new building will be used to house dispatch workers, who are currently working with aging infrastructure and a lack of radio communication with a tower recently being damaged by lightning. Money from the project also is budgeted to fix the tower and improve radio communications. The building would also house detectives at some point.
While bids will be placed, the county also intends on using their in-house maintenance staff for projects to help cut down on costs.
In a separate matter, a portion of Caldwell Loop West will be abandoned by the county following an unanimous vote.
After deliberation over easement closures, making sure no residents would be left without road access, and notices were made in the paper, the measure was approved in part to return some land to nearby landowners and to install gates on the road to help mitigate excessive illegal dumping in the area.
The next meeting will be held Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. in the San Jacinto County Emergency Shelter in Coldspring. Public comment can be made at the beginning of the meeting.