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Tyler County Booster - Local News

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County OKs agreement with disaster groups

Tyler County Booster

by Valerie Reddell

County Commissioners approved an agreement with the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) and the Catastrophic Medical Operations Center (CMOC) that would make the county an official member of those statewide organizations to address catastrophic medical events. Emergency Management Coordinator Ken Jobe explained that the county has not been a participating member of SETRAC or CMOC since it typically involves health care entities. Recently, Jobe has taken on a more active role in planning emergency response to potential catastrophic medical events so it necessitates the county, as his employer, signing onto the agreement. Commissioner Martin Nash asked about any potential cost connected to the execution of the agreement, and Jobe said the only expense would be related to him attending meetings, which would be covered by Emergency Management's departmental budget. Commissioners also unanimously agreed to approve a resolution in support of a special prosecutor to handle cases involving violence against women, funded by a grant from the Violence Against Women Act. County Judge Jacques L. Blanchette explained that commissioners would see a similar resolution on the next agenda for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant. "The county stands to be a recipient in the next (funding) cycle," Blanchette said. "We receive this pretty regularly." Grants under VOCA and VAWA are awarded annually by the U.S. Department of Justice through the Deep East Texas Council of Governments. Tyler County is also in the running for grant funds to offset expenses related to preparing its Hazard Mitigation Plan. A bid from Langford Group earned the highest score when bids were opened and scored at the last meeting, Jobe said. Hazard Mitigation Plans are a FEMA requirement before the county can seek other grants, Blanchette said. The costs range from $30,000 to $40,000. Neighboring Polk and Jasper counties are moving forward on mitigation plans without grant funds, but Tyler County has a "strong probability" of receiving the grant to offset plan costs. Matching fund requirements can be satisfied by in-kind expenses the county incurs through staff time working on the project. Commissioners also approved a request for proposals on the Courthouse Clock Tower Restoration and Repair. Templates are available for anyone who wishes to make a proposal for engineering services related to the renovation. A notice will be placed in the Booster and a comment period will follow. County Auditor Jackie Skinner reported to commissioners that the county's health insurance plan for employees would see a 5 percent cost increase for the coming year, amount to $40 per employee. Skinner indicated that the increase was acceptable, especially considering the county saw a decrease the prior year. "I recommend we keep it and start on open enrollment," Skinner said.

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