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No Airport for Leon County

In Commissioners Court, Wednesday, January 24th, Leon County Judge Byron Ryder reported that the federal funds available to build an airport in the county are no longer available. Leon County will remain one of the three counties in the state of Texas that does not have a regional airport. One of the other counties without an airport has a population of about 150; the other is located in the Davis Mountains.

Ryder also announced that a burn ban is now in effect for the county. Though some areas of the county have had rains, most of the county has not had enough and the winds have been high.

A request from Leon County Sheriff Kevin Ellis to purchase rifle vests was approved. The sheriff?s office has received a grant for this purchase. Twenty three vests will be ordered.

Commissioner Dean Stanford reminded the audience of a meeting at the Leon High School on Tuesday, January 30th to look at and discuss the assessment plan from the High Speed Rail. Representatives from the Texans Against the High Speed Rail will be at the meeting.

Commissioner David Ferguson reported on the recent Delta Fowl Event held at the Expo. About 550 people attended, and, according to Ferguson and others, the meal was excellent. The Delta Fowl supports the youth and gave away 30 guns during the evening to young hunters.

A donation from the Leon County Tea Party for the Sheriff?s Office was accepted. The donation of $100 will go into the sheriff?s training department.

District Court Judge Michael Davis introduced himself to the court and audience. Davis was appointed to Leon County by Governor Greg Abbott after the late Judge Bascom Bentley resigned due to health issues. Davis is currently campaigning to retain his position and will be on the March Republican Primary Ballot.

Ron Goldsmith of Black & Veatch reported to the court on performing an assessment of Leon County?s radio equipment. Goldsmith said that the county?s current dispatch system is outdated and there should be a remote dispatch system. The infrastructure in the county is in bad shape according to Goldsmith. ?You are one lightening strike away from having no radio.? Goldsmith also cautioned the court to not spend money on new equipment without a plan.

Currently, there is grant money available for which the county has applied or will apply. Judge Ryder said, ?We want to be proactive. If awarded the grant, we can update the dispatch and console and a backup.?

Commissioner Joey Sullivan asked Goldsmith where the plan was. Goldsmith said that the plan was Phase 1, and when the county purchased Phase 1, he could produce the plan. The cost for Phase 1 is $50,000.

Commissioner David Ferguson pointed out that if the court agreed to purchase Phase 1, that would take up most of the grant funds and not enough would remain to update the equipment. It was decided that if the grant money is awarded, the county can purchase equipment that will be interchangeable with the county?s future plans for communication equipment.

Angelina Reynolds of Bryan spoke to the court about the ?Voice for Children? program. ?Voice for Children? is a volunteer program that specializes in being an advocate for children who enter the court system. The volunteers are court appointed and follow a child through the system to gather information and help make decisions in the child?s best interest. The program has been active for 16 years but only recently has Leon County been included in this program. Reynolds said that currently the program is involved in three Leon County cases. The judge thanked Reynolds for the work she and other volunteers do for the children.

The court approved a change in plans for the Centerville Arts Commission?s December event. The Christmas Parade will take place on the second Saturday of December. And the Student Art will be displayed in the old courthouse on the Friday night before the parade.

The court approved awarding B-5 Construction Inc. for TxCDB Plant 1 improvement for Southeast Water Supply Corporation. Funds for the improvement will be from a grant of $214,000.

Approval was given for the cooperative working agreement for the Sexual Assault Resource Center (SARC).

A resolution for a Homeland Security Grant was approved. Also approved was the audit and annual report for Southwest Leon County Emergency Services District No. 2. And the 2017 4th quarter investment report was approved.