Commissioners Court discuss land swap agreement
By PAMELA GRANT
Coryell County’s Commissioners’ Court met on Monday morning to discuss items such as the land swap agreement between Copperas Cove and Coryell County and matters pertaining to the Sheriff’s Office.
The meeting took place in the Commissioners’ Courtroom in Gatesville starting at 9 a.m. Coryell County Judge John Firth as well as precinct commissioners Don Jones, Daren Moore, Kyle Matthews, and Ray Ashby were in attendance to vote on and discuss all matters on the agenda.
One of the big topics on the agenda was the recently-approved land swap agreement between the City of Copperas Cove and Coryell County. Monday’s discussion focused on the new location of the Justice of the Peace courtroom which will be on 210 S. 1st Street in Copperas Cove, formerly the location of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation.
“The real advantage for [Copperas Cove] is that there’s never been one piece of property that’s been large enough to build, long term, a new City Hall,” said Coryell County Judge John Firth. “The other advantage of that location for the city is that—if you look at their renovation plans for downtown—they’re putting millions of dollars into downtown renovations along Avenue E, Avenue D, and extending all the way, when it’s completed, to South 1st Street. So, they’re going to have a City Hall right adjacent to that downtown renovation area, and it really is a great location long term for the city to build a new City Hall.”
The swap will require minor changes to be made to the justice of the peace precinct boundary lines; however, those changes will not go into effect until the new building is operational.
Also discussed were three items with relation to the Sheriff’s office. The first was action to approve a contract for the removal of biohazard materials. Coryell County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mark Wilcox explained that they have a lot of evidence from old cases which must be disposed of in a specific manner. The evidence includes items like narcotics and bloodied clothing.
“This is the only legal way we can get rid of some stuff and clear up some space,” said Wilcox.
The commissioners also accepted a 2006 Chevrolet ambulance which was given to the Sheriff’s Office by the Coryell Memorial Hospital Authority.
The third item was action to approve an agreement with Purified H2O Inc. to provide water purification machines for the Sheriff’s office and the jail.
The commissioners also approved action to recommend that State Highway 36 between North Fort Hood in Gatesville to Temple be included as a major corridor in the official State Highway Trunk System. They feel that certain segments of State Highway 36 could be made safer. They are hoping that if the highway is approved as a major corridor, then they can upgrade it to a four-lane highway.
Also on the agenda was voting on whether or not to approve a burn ban. Although the commissioners voted not to approve the ban, they still warned attendees that we could be in for a hotter than average summer. State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon predicted that after finishing the warmest winter on record and a relatively dry spring, we could be facing drought conditions this summer. Even with the recent rains, we are still below average, but that could change between now and this summer.
Another major concern is safeguarding against the Zika virus, which can cause birth defects. Citizens are asked to help prevent the spread of mosquitoes by limiting the number of places the insects can lay their eggs. Picking up trash and dumping out anything that can hold stagnant water as well as changing pet’s water dishes daily are small things that can make a big difference when it comes to mosquito prevention.