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Small Victory Against High Speed Rail

At Commissioners Court, Wednesday, July 27th, Leon County Judge Byron Ryder announced that there has been a small victory against the High Speed Rail (HSR) project. In a federal court it was determined that Texas Central (builders of the HSR) do not have eminate domain.

?They are telling people that they have eminate domain and writing threatening letters,? said Ryder, ?but they do not have it according to federal law. Now it is up to the state to determine if they have eminate domain.? The attorney that is advising the group who are in opposition of the HSR, said at a recent meeting that he would like to see any letters land owners received from Texas Central.

Emergency Management Director Jim Carrigan reported concern for elderly people and others with poor health that do not have fans in their homes. A collection of fans was made and 30 of the fans have been dispersed to people who needed them.

?Thank you to all who have donated,? said Carrigan. ?We had 50 fans, and down to 20 now.? Anyone who wants to donate, the fan should be in working order or new. The best type are the box fans that are at least 12 inches wide. ?There has been one heat related death in the county,? said Carrigan. ?We really want to get fans to those who need them.?

Judge Ryder cautioned citizens that the Zika Virus is real along with other diseases that are contracted though mosquito bites. ?It is mosquito season. Be sure there is no standing water around your homes where mosquito can breed,? said Ryder.

The judge also reported that Leon County has been added to the list of counties who can seek disaster relief due to the heavy rains the county had in April and May of this year. This is federal funds that the county can use to reimburse itself for repairs that had to be made after the rains.

In the public comments section of the meeting, the court heard from John Radcliff of Oakwood. Radcliff said that he purchased property outside Oakwood about 35 years ago. Then he moved away, but now he has returned and found that the road he used to access his property had not been maintained.

?I would like to ask my commissioner,? said Radcliff, ?to open this road up again and maintain it, so not only myself, but a few neighbors, too, can all access our properties.?

Commissioner David Ferguson said he would take care of this right away. Radcliff seemed pleased.

The Burn Ban that began July 15th was ratified and remains in effect. All the cities of the county also have the Burn Ban anytime the county calls for a Burn Ban.

The Leon County Sheriff?s Department requested to be allowed to hire part-time in dispatch and deputies. The court voted to approve.

Carol Dickey and Cheryl Pane were in court representing the Centerville Art Commission and requested permission to set up booths on the south end of the parking lot in front of the old courthouse. ?We want to promote all genres of art and decided to have the booths on the same day as our Christmas Parade. It will be a Christmas Market on the Square,? said Dickey. Approval was given. The Christmas Parade and Market are scheduled for December 9th.

The court approved adding Commissioner David Ferguson to the Leon County Historical Commission.

Commissioner David Grimes was place on the Leon County Bail Bond Board.

Approval was given to accept the funds from Grant R for the Juvenile Probation Department. The money ($4,800) has already been received. The purpose of the grant is to provide a 24 hour a day service for juveniles in a crisis and in need of counseling. It is internet connection with a psychologist that the juvenile can access from the juvenile department.

This first part of the fund is to purchase the equipment needed to get set up, installation of WIFI and the software update. In 2017, the second part of the grant will furnish the actual service.

The court took action to vacate CR 337 and the original location of CR 338. CR 337 and the original CR 338 were temporarily closed in the 80?s for Westmoreland. Now there is a new CR 338. Westmoreland has letters from all their neighbors who once used the roads. They all now have alternative access to their properties and are in agreement to close the old roads.

The court approved allowing each department head to pay federal comp time hours owed to employees out of current budget and/or monies that the Departments have in their control.

An item to officially abandon CR 2185 was tabled.

Approval was given for a Right of Entry Agreement with Carter Ranch / Mattie K. Carter Trust, Ben Fortson trustee and for the Hold Harness Agreement with Carter Ranch / Mattie K. Carter Trust, Ben Fortson trustee.

Approval was given for a Right of Entry Agreement with Colter Farm / Walter Rainbolt and Jacqueline Gregg and for the Hold Harness Agreement with Colter Farm / Walter Rainbolt and Jacqueline Gregg.

The agenda item concerning the Jones / Carter drainage study on CR 239 crossing near the Trinity River was tabled. Commissioner Ferguson said that he was okay with the study but not okay with the bill received.

Emergency funds that were applied for in the amount of $9,313 were accepted by the court.

Two bids were collected for the purchase of a 2016 truck. Commissioner David Grimes accepted the lowest bid.

A new lease agreement for a copier for the Adult Probation Office was approved.

And the renewal of the online law library contract was approved.