Road closure and landfill draw more ire from county residents￼
By Kyle Mooty
Concerns over a landfill and its possible operating hours as well as continual closure of a bridge forcing the rerouting of traffic has had many residents of Caldwell County voicing their opinions at recent Commissioners Court meetings.
The April 26 meeting was no exception. Several residents spoke against what they feel has been an unusually and unwarranted length of time for the closure of Black Ankle Road, where a bridge was removed. One resident, Doris Steubing, said she now is forced to travel about 1,000 miles per month just to feed her cattle because of the road closure, which forces her to go all the way to Martindale to come back to her land, which results in about 245 miles per week.
Steubing, who lives on Jolly Road in Maxwell, owns property on Tower Road and Dickerson Road.
“I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the way the bridge situation has transpired on Black Ankle Road,” Steubing said. “Nobody was ever notified of the bridge being torn out. We have to go all the way to Martindale, about 35 miles around, seven days a week now. I haven’t found any property owners that were notified that the bridge was going to be demolished. The school district wasn’t even notified of the bridge being taken out. I would like to know what the completion date is on this project. I was told it was going to be done in two months. I don’t know who is responsible for this, but I would like to have some answers and hold them responsible.”
The court was informed, weather-permitting, the project is two and-a-half to three months from being finished.
Kim Roland, lives on Dickerson Road, was also concerned about the bridge being out on Black Ankle Road. She said it was inconvenient and was affecting the fire and police in an area that is becoming more populated.
“The bridge must go in as soon as possible,” Roland said. “It’s been more than two months and this is unacceptable.”
Judge Hoppy Haden said, “Going forward, we need to have better notification.” Commissioner B.J. Westmoreland agreed, citing the lack of communication as a major issue.
The 130 Environmental Park just north of Lockhart has drawn the ire of several nearby residents, especially with the possibility of the operating hours being non-stop.
Susan Lane, who told Commissioners what the constant sound was like when the big trucks backed up at the site, said she lived directly across from the environmental park and also represented the Spanish-speaking residents of the area who were also worried about the noise, smells and possible pollution.
“We moved there to experience rural life,” Lane said.
Byron Fredrick, along with Lane, thanked Haden for putting the issue on the agenda. He said the original plan was for the site to be just for municipal waste.
“We do not need it to stay open 24 hours every day,” Commissioner Joe Roland said. “That would be adding insult to injury for the people who live out there.”
Commissioner B.J. Westmoreland added, “It would not be in the best interest for the residents out there for them to be operating 24/7.”
Commissioners Ed Theriot and Barbara Shelton said they were open to communication with both sides of the issue.
Haden read a resolution that commissioners passed unanimously opposing the landfill to operate 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
The 130 Environmental Park has filed the application to extend its hours with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, which is the only entity that will vote to accept or reject the request.
In other business:
Page Johnson with the Caldwell County Children’s Caravan said Caldwell County ranked among the unhealthiest of counties in Texas. And that 91.8 percent of all patients the Caravan has seen are under insured, “which is just mind-blowing.”
The van, which serves as a doctor’s office, cost $240,000 per year in operating costs, according to Johnson.
“Most of these children wouldn’t get the health care they need due to lack of transportation and/or cost.,” Johnson said. “We treat patients ages 0-18 regardless of their ability to pay. Last fiscal year we saw 205 new patients and we administered 1,145 immunizations.”
Hector Rangel, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the little rain that has been received allowed for the grass to be green and was granted his wish to keep the burn ban off for now.