County to seek grants to help repair roads
by MAC OVERTON
Dec 20, 2013 | 1064 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton<br>
MELINDA SMITH of Amazing Grants will begin work on getting the county a share of funds being allocated for rural road repair in areas of oil and gas exploration.
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton
MELINDA SMITH of Amazing Grants will begin work on getting the county a share of funds being allocated for rural road repair in areas of oil and gas exploration.
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The Upshur County Commissioners Court authorized Melinda Smith of Amazing Grants of Big Sandy to begin work with the court on the necessary preliminary actions related to the Country’s participation in the County Energy Transportation Infrastructure Fund (TIF) and possible creation of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ).

The action concerns getting the county a share of federal funds being allocated through the state for repair of rural roads damaged by exploration for oil and gas.

Judge Dean Fowler told the court that “there’s no downside to this.”

He said that $630,000 will be available to be used on county roads. Any money not allocated in the first round because some counties do not apply for it will be reallocated. The allocation weighs factors such as how much exploration is going on in a county, and how much road damage it is suffering.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Fowler said.

The county’s match of any grant would be 20 percent under the proposal, but Pct. 3 Comm. Frank Berka asked Mrs. Smith about qualifying for a 10 percent match he had heard about.

She said that was for “disadvantaged counties,” and the county would have to meet certain criteria. She said it could qualify for the 20 percent grant if turned down for a 10 percent grant.

Pct. 4 Comm. Mike Spencer made the motion to begin the grant work, and Pct. 1 Comm. Paula Gentry seconded it. It passed unanimously.

The court also approved appointment of Julie York as Family and Consumer Sciences agent, in the Extension Education Office located in the 9-1-1 building (old Gilmer National Bank drive-thru).

She previously has been an Extension agent in Oklahoma.

She will join the office on Jan. 6, and will begin full-time in Upshur County Feb. 1.

The court appointed Dennis Medlin of the East Mountain Volunteer Fire Department to fill a vacancy on the board of the Emergency Services District, created when long-time member George “Mick” Whisenhunt recently resigned. In his resignation letter, Whisenhunt said he had enjoyed his years on the board, but felt it was time for younger people to take over guidance of the district.

The court voted to advertise for bids for county fuel and Road and Bridge Department supplies and materials. Bids are due in by Jan. 30, and will be opened at the Jan. 31 meeting of the court.

The court took no action on requesting proposals for IT support and maintenance and infrastructure.
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