Memorandum of support for potential regional growth approved

By Chris Edwards

Commissioners approved a memorandum of support for the Texas Forest Country Stronger Economies Together (SET) team’s regional economic development plan at their regular meeting on Monday morning at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton.

The plan, which was drafted after a group of East Texas counties in the Texas Forest Country region were selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to participate in the SET program, which is designed to help multi-county teams strengthen skills and resources for collaborating on economic development goals, according to a press release issued by Texas A&M’s AgriLife extension. Trinity County Judge Doug Page said that if the program’s goals could see fruition, the region could possibly earn recognition similar to what the Texas Hill Country region enjoys. 

Prior to the discussion on the item, Precinct 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham inquired about another project that, although promising, had not been discussed for some time. The project in question was the planned bio-fuels plant, which was proposed by Oklahoma-based firm SR20 Holdings. County Treasurer Bob Dockens gave an update, and said that the project is currently on hold due to the price of oil making such a venture not profitable. Dockens also said that the company’s option on purchasing land in the county has exceeded its two-year window.

Another agenda item saw approval for the County Attorney’s office to apply, via e-grant, for grant funds to go toward the Victims Assistance Program. County Attorney Joe W. Bell said that the “odds are good that we’ll get it,” and that the amount his office wished to pursue is $40,000. The grant Bell’s office is looking at is issued through the office of Governor Greg Abbott. Precinct 3 Commissioner Neal Smith put a motion on the table to approve the County Attorney’s office to apply for the grant, and Commissioner Worsham provided a second.

In other agenda items, Commissioners also voted to:

• Change the previously scheduled date of a public hearing from February 27 to March 17. The hearing, which is planned to extend Texas Transportation Code laws to all roads included in the Westwood Shores subdivision, conflicted in its original slated date with a meeting of the Westwood Shores POA. 

• Approved a proclamation to recognize January 23 – 28, 2017 as “School Choice Week” in Trinity County. Judge Page read the proclamation, which stressed the critical importance of education in the area. Judge Page said that the observation of School Choice Week hasn’t happened in Trinity County heretofore, but it was brought to his attention by several educators in the county.

• Approved the compliance of SB546 for Trinity County Tax Assessor-Collector Lindy Madden-Warren. SB546 requires for county tax assessor-collectors to successfully complete 20 hours of continuing education annually. According to the transcript provided for Warren, she has completed 28.50 hours of continuing education credits for 2016.