County approves SH 130 plan


By LPR Staff

Caldwell County moved another step toward the realization of proposed Highway 130 on Monday.
During the Commissioners” Court session on Dec. 13, the court opted to take responsibility for the maintenance of Farm-to-Market (FM) 1386 in exchange for, among other things, relief from additional financial responsibility for a

cquiring right-of-way for State Highway (SH) 130.
“I”m opposed to paying $22 million for right-of-way,” said Commissioner Ronnie Duesterheft. “I just don”t think the citizens of Caldwell County can afford it.”
County Judge H.T. Wright was concerned, and wanted to be sure that the agreement included the costs that would be incurred by relocating homesteads and utilities that fall within the proposed right of way.
“I want to be sure that it”s understood [that the county has no financial responsibility for the relocations],” Wright said.
The commissioners speculate that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will move forward quickly with the construction of SH 130 through Caldwell County in 2005. Prior to the construction, TxDOT will level, re-pave and re-stripe FM 1386, which will then be incorporated into the Caldwell County road system.
According to the Court, FM 1386 functions primarily as a county road and is not unified with any part of the TxDOT transportation system.
The final agreement, approved by all present members of the Court, will require TxDOT to improve FM 1386 beginning at FM 1322 and moving nearly 7.5 miles east. In exchange for Caldwell County”s adoption of FM 1386, TxDOT will consider Caldwell County”s cost participation in the construction of SH 130 complete.
Presumably, the county will incur no additional costs in the acquisition of property for the right-of-ways involved in the construction of the highway.
The Court also considered the nomination to a director to the Caldwell County Appraisal District board. A seat on the board was left open recently when Ronald Wingard resigned his position on the Board.
Two candidates, Dave Moore and Frank Hinds, expressed interest in receiving the nomination. Both candidates, though perhaps thought controversial in some circles, are knowledgeable about the workings of the Appraisal District, according to Wright.
“I can”t support either one of them,” Duesterheft said.
Wright, along with the rest of the Court, acknowledged that both proposed nominees are outspoken critics of “the system,” even criticizing the Court from time to time. Regardless, Commissioner Charles Bullock opted to nominate Hinds to the Board and his motion passed 3 to 1.
There will be no county-wide ban on fireworks this season. Because of the recent rains, the Commissioners decided that the ground was wet enough to counteract fire hazards that might be cause by fireworks. They therefore opted not to impose any restrictions on fireworks during the 2004 Christmas/New Year”s season.
Recent changes in the needs at the Lockhart/Caldwell County Animal Shelter prompted Cheryl Schneider to come forward and request that the Commissioners amend the budget allocations to the shelter.
The animal shelter houses approximately 1,500 animals each year, and operating expenses are shared between Caldwell County and the City of Lockhart. Recently, unforeseen expenses have surfaced, due in part to a Department of Health Inspection and a software problem at the shelter.
The Court opted to contribute funds from the contingency account toward the expenses, which include updated tracking software and painting the indoor kennels at the shelter.
Judge Wright announced that he has been in contact with Governor Rick Perry”s office with regard to emergency assistance for the properties damaged by last month”s flooding. Wright said an agent from the governor”s office toured the county with a representative from Caldwell County Unit Road and assessed more than $125,000 in damages to Caldwell County roads and bridges as a result of the flooding.
The County is working toward earning state funding to repair the damages.
In brief Court news:
Veterans” Service Officer Larry Corpus assisted 59 individuals last month.
The Court reappointed Lucy Fielder and Melvin Bain to serve on the Board of Directors of the Plum Creek Conservation District.
They approved the sale of nine rural properties for overdue taxes.
They paid bills in the amount of $188,159.25, including nearly $61,000 for indigent health care and $22,000 for indigent legal defense.


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