Wise County Commissioners pursue grant dollars

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, January 25, 2014
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County commissioners are jumping through hoops to secure state grant money that will help repair roads affected by oil and gas production.

The state legislature in Senate Bill 1747 authorized the disbursement of funds through the Texas Department of Transportation.

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. If awarded, it also requires a 20 percent match by the county.

In their meeting Monday, commissioners will consider approving the boundaries for a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ), which must be designated to apply for the grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

A CETRZ is a zone in a county that is affected by oil and gas exploration and production activities. 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 grant money and matching funds provided by the county can be used within the zone or in other parts of the county.

Commissioners Monday will also consider approving an advisory board of directors for the zone, which is another requirement of the application process. It must include up to three oil and gas representatives and two public members.

In a special meeting Wednesday, commissioners decided to appoint the following individuals: Laura Anderson, senior landman with Devon Energy; Tommy Weatherly with Trinity Materials; Mike Moyers, landman with Aruba; and citizens Kristina Kemp of Paradise and Jimmy Kirk of Decatur.

The board is set up to advise on the establishment, administration and expenditures of the CETRZ.

Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Monday in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur. The public is welcome.

Other items to be discussed include:

  • an amended Wise County Fairgrounds agreement,
  • a consent agenda policy, and
  • new polling locations.

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