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Commissioners Discuss Aviation Grants

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By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Commissioners Court met in a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 23 highlighted by a discussion of aviation grants.

Towards the end of the meeting the commissioners were asked to consider requesting allocation from the Fiscal Year 2020 CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to be used with the TxDOT Aviation Improvement Grant for the Houston County Airport.

“This is not the grant we have been discussing. This is separate through the CARES Coronavirus and this is $20,000. It is not the ramp. It is $20,000 the airport would be receiving to use as they see fit. Our first step is to request this grant and then the next agenda item is to talk about something it can be used for,” County Judge Jim Lovell said.

With very little discussion, the matter passed unanimously.

The next agenda item concerned adopting a resolution to apply for a grant with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division to make improvements to the Houston County Airport’s Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS).  

There is a grant available to replace the AWOS system which is not operational,” the judge said. “From what I hear it’s very important at the airport. It is at a cost of 75/25 match. The estimated cost of the AWOS is $150,000. Our part would be $37,500.”

Lovell explained the $20,000 grant previously approved could be used for the match “… meaning the county would be out $17,500 for a $150,000 AWOS system.”

Precinct Two Commissioner Willie Kitchen said the AWOS system had been inoperable for quite some time and was needed to help maintain safety at the airport.  

A motion to move forward on the measure was unanimously approved.   

In other matters brought before the court:  

  • The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
  • The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county were approved.
  • The Houston County Compensatory and Treasurer’s Reports were received as information by the commissioners.
  • Salaries for new and/or transfer employees were approved.
  • The court approved renewing health coverage for employees with Blue Cross/Blue Shield through the Texas Association of Counties (TAC).
  • The court decided to continue participation in the Texas County and District Retirement System.
  • The commissioners renewed liability insurance for auto, general, public officials and law enforcement for Fiscal Year 2021 through the TAC Risk Management Pool. 

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.

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