|Trinity Standard - Local News
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Application process for CERTZ grant funding underway
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON — The application process is moving forward for the CERTZ grant Trinity County is hoping to be approved for soon. In a Commissioner's court meeting held on March 10, Rich Chamberlin, who is spearheading the process, was happy to announce that the initial application has been sent and most of the documents needed have been provided to the State. After several months of preparation the county so far has established their Zone, sent in their annual reports and sent in two applications. One application is for the monies that were pre-determined for the county by the state asking for $162,164. The other application is for additional monies that may be available to the county if other counties in the state choose not to take advantage of the funding available to them. If other counties choose not to apply, the monies pre-determined for their area trickles down into the remaining counties who were approved. That application asks for $1,173,282. The only remaining step is the approval of the advisory board members that were chosen by the Commissioner's Court. Biographies of the suggested members must be sent to the State of Texas for approval for a seat on the advisory board. In the guidelines of the CERTZ grant funding the county must establish an advisory board, whose members will serve two-year terms, to oversee and help with the process and use of these funds. The advisory board will be made up of volunteers and meet at least four times per year. The advisory board will be subject to the Open Meetings Act established by the State of Texas. The suggested advisory board members are: Alton Mericle, James A. Hassle, Billy Joe Slaughter, Matt Hawkins and Don Wilson. The Hurricane Ike 2.2 grant funding was also discussed at the meeting. Chamberlin explained, the funds may be released some time into April of 2014 and the bids for construction are being sent out and hopefully will be coming back in soon. The environmental study of which officials were waiting on is finally done and approved. Now it's time to get ready for the funds to be disbursed to the county. Another item on the agenda was to hear an update of the 911 re-mapping that has been going on for several years now. The Commissioner's and County Judge decided to take the re-mapping into the County's hands and make the process go faster and smoother. When the State of Texas ordered for the 911 re-mapping it was meant to make it easier for dispatch to give directions to an address they were being sent to. Used for EMS or police officers the 911 re-mapping is essential for making a rural area like Trinity County easy to navigate in an emergency. As things have progressed the new database that was created, Geographical Information Systems (GIS), has expanded into several different areas other than directions or addresses. The mapping database allows the navigator to see oil and gas deposits and other mineral works under ground. The expert hired by Trinity County worked for Penzoil, testing software that accomplished much of the same goals for large oil companies. Using this database will make it easier for the County to co-inside with not only the State of Texas but also help with oil and gas and industrial development. When the county decided to do their own mapping it became a much easier process. Having an internal representative available to the County has allowed improvement to errors that were being made previously and brought them to a zero-error status; now the county is on schedule. The county is hoping to establish a department within the county after the re-mapping is done to help promote technology growth within the county and utilize the database at any given time. In other news During their regular meeting the county approved monthly budget reports. So far, the county is 41% into the budget year and has 39% of expenses paid; 91% of tax collection has been paid as well. A report on the Justice of the Peace for Precinct one, books was presented to the court by Trinity County Auditor, Sheila Johnson. She explained the past problems that lead up to the investigation. Johnson is now handling prior tickets and fines for people who have paid but show an unpaid balance. The problems that came from monies missing in JP Pct.1's office are still being faced as residents are coming forward with new information. Johnson encourages the public to come forward if they have had problems in the past or are facing current problems.