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County awarded $12 million grant

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112323 DETCOG CommissionersTyler County officials received two checks totaling more than $12 million for mitigation projects, awarded from the state’s General Land Office (GLO) at the monthly meeting on Tuesday of the DETCOG Board of Directors in Livingston. Pictured left-to-right: Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher; County Auditor Jackie Skinner; Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham; County Judge Milton Powers; County Clerk Donece Gregory and Pct. 2 Commissioner Doug Hughes. Photo by Emily Banks Wooten | PCE

By Mollie LaSalle and Chris Edwards
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 Tyler County Commissioner’s Court held a special called meeting Monday morning, and with all members present, the meeting was called to order.

Pct. 1 Commissioner Joe Blacksher announced that the county has received a $12 million grant from the state’s General Land Office (GLO).

He said “the GLO emailed me last Monday, and said, you’ve got to justify two of your projects. Well, in the end, they emailed me back last Thursday to tell me we would be receiving the money.” Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham made the presentation at the Alabama Coushatta Multi-Purpose Center, Tuesday, Nov. 21.

The funding is part of a regional package of $68 million which is earmarked for mitigation projects and announced in September. According to Buckingham, who announced the funds in a news release at the time, the monies will “move forward projects that will protect the homes and businesses of those who live here.”

More than $42 million of that GLO money is earmarked for broadband and radio communications infrastructure. Tyler County will benefit from the broadband and radio funding, along with Polk; Jasper; Newton and San Jacinto counties.

County closes on Nutrition Center

Blacksher also announced that the county closed on the Nutrition Center Monday, November 20. He explained, “in 1985, an agreement was worked out to build the center with T.L.L. Temple Foundation grant money on Veterans Way Drive. Fast forward to now, about one to two years ago, we (the county) were approached by some of the members of the VFW Post and they were wanting to up the rent, they didn’t like the fact that there was an elected official in there, (the county judge)”.

The post was basically saying the county was in violation of the lease. Again, the county built the building with grant money some 38 years ago. Blacksher’s recommendation was to buy it and be done with it.

Subdivision regulations discussed

One item that had been tabled was brought up for discussion again. A variance filed by Timberland Branch Subdivision being developed by Joslin Development Group, LLC.

The developer is requesting a variance to be relieved from several requirements of the county’s subdivision regulations. The request was first presented to the Commissioners Court in September, and tabled. The development is comprised of 10-25 acre tracts in Pct. 4.

Last Monday, the court held a public hearing concerning the county’s subdivision regulations and an update to them.
Blacksher spoke on behalf of the topic during the hearing and said there were several revisions to the regulations suggested to fit the county’s situation. “We sat down and developed a plan more fitting for Tyler County,” he said, and added that individuals, such as GLS Engineer Jed Morris assisted in drafting the revisions and suggesting more suiting protocol.

Other Business

The court approved an order authorizing Christmas and New Year’s Fireworks sales, beginning Dec. 20, 2023, and ending at midnight, January 1, 2024. They also approved an amended county holiday calendar.

County employees will now be off Dec. 22-26, returning to work on Dec. 27. Commissioners also set term days and dates for the FY 2024.

The court approved an authorization authorizing GLS to advertise for bids on the Tyler County TDA contract number CDV21-0384-Tyler County SUD Water System Improvements. Morris with GLS spoke to the court about the future plans for this project; he also advised that the material and construction bids will be open for consideration on December 12, 2023 at the courthouse, and the commissioners could call a special meeting to hear the bids.

The county also accepted a $200 donation from Riley’s Funeral Home to the Tyler County Nutrition Center.

They also approved engaging Belt, Harris, Pechacek, LLC to perform the annual audit, and renewed the DPDesktop (DATAPILOT INC) Software and one year maintenance agreement.

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