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Commissioners hear update on buyouts

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SanJacCountySealBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — San Jacinto County Commissioners discussed a grant designed to help homeowners recover from the damage done by Hurricane Harvey, and what it means to the property owners who have applied for help.

At the commissioners’ regular meeting on Wednesday, Tyler Smith, the vice president of community investment for GrantWorks, described the program and gave updates on its status.

Smith said the Hurricane Harvey Recovery buyout program, buy properties damaged in the hurricane for pre-storm fair market value, demolish the property to create open land and provide relocation expenses and incentives.

Of the 45 people choosing to participate, all have received an offer, and all are somewhere in the title process or near closing a sale, Smith said.

Sales will be closing within the next 8 weeks, he said.

Commissioners questioned the need to have the property owners out of the structure prior to closing, since once closed, grant requirements state the home must be demolished within 90 days.

Commissioner Laddie McAnnally said the court should have known this beforehand to be able to tell their constituents. Smith said that the county does have some flexibility in granting time to vacate, but the requirement was put into place to keep the county from become de facto landlords.

In other business, the county:

•approved application and signatories for a Texas Department of Agriculture grant;

•proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month;

•proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month;

•approved a contract with Avenu Enterprise Solutions for record keeping;

•approved terminating the contract with Aflac regarding the company’s billing and payroll deduction requests;

•approved DiAnna Adams as county investment officer;

•approved the county investment policy and procedures;

•approved to amend subdivision rules regarding easements;

•approved bond renewal for Robert Freyer Jr.;

•approved the fixed asset capitalization threshold to $5,000; and

•approved a contract with Bleyl Engineering for services on a grant to rebuild Fostoria Road.

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