|Corrigan Times - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
DETCOG board learns sequestration already effecting counties, schools
COLDSPRING —The Board of Directors for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments heard about one effect the Federal Government's Sequestration of funds is already having on the region's counties and school districts. Texas Association of Counties Representative, and former Houston County Judge, Lonnie Hunt, updated the board on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's letter saying that 11 of DETCOG's 12 counties are required to return 8.5 percent of the 2012 funds they received from the Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act. That legislation sets aside federal payments to offset the loss of property tax or logging revenue from the National Forest. The 8.5 percent would represent the return of almost $119,000 the counties and schools have already received. DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles and Hunt are working with U.S. Senator John Cornyn's offi ce to arrange a video conference with U.S. Senator, Ted Cruz and and congressmen representing the DETCOG region to see what can be done to stop the money from being returned. DETCOG Executive Director Walter Diggles later reported on the successful Fair Housing Workshop recently held in Lufkin for county judges, mayors and housing authorities in the DETCOG Region. That workshop was conducted by the Fair Housing Director for the Houston HUD Office, Christina Lewis, and was attended by the Director of the Houston HUD Field Office, Dr. Edward Pringle. Following that report the board adopted a resolution recognizing and declaring April as "Fair Housing Month" in Deep East Texas. Tuesday, April 9 has been declared as "National Service Recognition Day" in observance of the contribution made to communities, states and the nation by those participating in programs like AmeriCorps and Senior Corps (Forster Grandparents, RSVP and Senior Companions). Those programs are a unique public-private partnership that address some of the most pressing challenges facing our communities and nation, from educating students for jobs in the 21st century to supporting returning veterans and helping communities recover from natural disasters. A model declaration for mayors and county judges to use in recognizing the contribution made by those volunteers was distributed at the meeting.