In their last meeting of 2013, Anderson County Commissioners held a public hearing Friday that will allow for the creation of a transportation reinvestment zone, and give the county a shot at a grant totaling at least $314,000.
According to County Auditor Karin Smith, the county is eligible to receive the Texas Transportation Infrastructure Grant for funding of county road improvements and is required to create a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ) in order to receive those monies.
“The grant requires a 10 percent match, and we could receive more than the $314,000,” Smith said, with Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston reporting that the county would be applying for three times that minimum amount.
“This grant is the result of a lobby by Texas county commissioners and others to be compensated for damage done to roads destroyed by heavy trucks,” Johnston explained. “We can create one or multiple zones.
“This will not increase or decrease taxes at all,” the judge added. “Once we create the zone, any tax increases down the line will have to be used for transportation.”
The county can disband the CERTZ at any time, Smith reported, and if that happens that money will go back into the county's general fund.
Johnston also told commissioners that a board made up of representatives of the energy industry and resident taxpayers will need to be created within the next month.
In a meeting on Dec. 9, commissioners approved a retainer agreement with Austin-based law firm of Allison, Bass & Associates, LLP, who will assist the county in completing the steps involved in the grant process.
“This is a great opportunity for us as a county to receive these funds to help maintain our county roads,” Johnston said previously. “And with just a 10 percent matching rate, we put in $30,000 to get $300,000. That is a very good thing.”