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Commissioners check off grant application requirements

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, February 1, 2014

County commissioners took steps Monday toward the completion of a grant application in hopes of securing more than $2 million from the state. The money will be used to repair roads affected by oil and gas production.

Monday morning they approved an order creating a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ), an advisory board and an ad valorem increment account. All of these things are application requirements and are due Feb. 10-14.

The funds are being disbursed through the Texas Department of Transportation as authorized by Senate Bill 1747. Every county in the state was assigned an allocation with the highest being Andrews County at $8.7 million and the lowest being Hudspeth County at $92,407.

Wise County’s initial allocation for the grants is $2.2 million, but they could be eligible for more. If awarded, it also requires a 20 percent match by the county.

This is where the CETRZ comes into play.

Any revenue captured from increases in property value within this zone will be used to cover the county’s 20 percent. After the 20 percent match has been met, the additional revenue will continue to be used for road repair.

The CETRZ approved by commissioners Monday is named Wise County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone No. 1, and it includes properties west of Farm Road 51 and along Greenwood Road approximately 1.25 miles. It’s situated between FM 51 and Farm Road 730.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns said at a special meeting Jan. 22 that this area was chosen because Targa is building a natural gas processing plant – the Longhorn Gas Plant – in this area, and obviously, property values would increase.

Property owners in this area will not pay increased taxes. The designation simply earmarks for road repairs any future property tax revenue over what was collected in 2013.

This money will go into the ad valorem increment account, the creation of which was also approved Monday.

Also, although discussed at the Jan. 22 meeting, commissioners formally approved appointments to the advisory board of directors for the zone, which had to include three industry representatives and two public members. Those appointed are Laura Anderson, Devon Energy; Tommy Weatherly, Trinity Materials; Mike Moyers, Aruba; Kristina Kemp of Paradise and Jimmy Kirk of Decatur.

Commissioners’ attorney Thomas Aaberg said Friday that the grand jury is expected to approve a road report that has to be submitted with the application, and county engineer Chad Davis is working to complete a prioritized project list for the application.

OTHER BUSINESS

Commissioners also made a few changes to the Wise County Fairgrounds agreement. Aaberg said after using it for a month, a few issues were discovered that required minor changes.

They also:

  • tabled discussion of a consent agenda policy;
  • accepted a $272.60 donation to Cans for Canines;
  • approved Oncor’s application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity for a proposed 138 kV transmission line in Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties;
  • approved easement requests for Targa Midstream Services on County Road 2625 in Precinct 1 and Devon Gas Services on County Road 3550 in Precinct 4.

Commissioners’ next meeting is 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 10, in the third-floor conference room of the Wise County Courthouse. The public is welcome.

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