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Commissioners Approve Agreements With 5 VFDs, FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Grant Project Documents

Fire protection agreements for five of the county’s volunteer fire departments, resolutions and agreements regarding FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Projects, a resolution in support of the Second Amendment and Article 1 Section 23 of Texas Constitution, and a budget amendment for Precinct 2 receive approval of Hopkins County Commissioners Court at their regular meeting Monday.

Hopkins County Commissioners Court

Fire Protection Agreements

The Hopkins County Commissioner Court has been working for months on fire protection agreements with volunteer fire departments. In order to receive any funding from the county, the departments have to return an approved agreement.

Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom

Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom Monday reported several had turned in agreements for approval, one agreement brought in will require additional discussions with the VFD officers.

The council approved agreements returned by Brinker, Como, Cumby, Dike and Tira VFDs. The remaining departments will need to get those documents in soon so the VFDs can request to receive funding from the county, according to Newsom.

The commissioners also set Feb. 1 as the deadline by which the remaining VFDs must return their agreements.

FEMA Project Documents

The Commissioners Court also approved agreements for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Projects and a resolution related to those agreements for maintenance agreements for assurances under non-construction programs, things that have to be part of the assurances for the construction program, certified signature authorizing agent form and disclosure of lobbying activities.

The resolution authorizes the submission of multiple locations for Hazardous Mitigation Assistance Grant projects and appoints the county judge as chief executive officer to act in all matters in connection with the grants, according to Newsom.

Projects the county hopes to attain funding for include critical facilities generators, a county-wide drainage improvement project and a warning siren project.

Hopkins County Fire Chief Andy Endsley

Hopkins County Fire Chief Andy Endsley, who serves as the county’s emergency management coordinator, said he and Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Kristy Springfield, Beth Wisenbaker, and Hopkins County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Tanner Crump and Communications Adminstrator David Ray have worked together on emergency management planning, including compiling information for FEMA grant applications.

Endsley said, originally, the county had planned to apply for funding to put a fixed generator at each of the volunteer fire departments, which are considered critical infrastructure throughout the county. The emergency planning officials later learned two water systems and the City of Como do not have back up generators to pump water if the area is without electricity for a long period of time.

Requesting funding for all of those projects not only exceeds the allowable amount for a county, but the allocation even for the state. So, emergency officials expect to apply for one mid-sized mobile generator and a large generator, which would be available to be moved to facilities that might need them if an extended electricity outage occurs, according to Endsley.

The county officials are amending their hazard mitigation plan to include the Como, Cumby and Tira in their requests for warning sirens. Rural schools, where the most populous areas are during the day on week days, so they’d have a warning that would be set off through the county dispatch center, the fire chief noted.

Endsley said, currently, the only capability the county has to set off any warning siren is in the city of Cumby. The emergency officials are applying for consideration for grant funding to assist in attaining and installing warning systems in those areas as well.

The county fire chief said the county is able to apply for these funds by presidential disaster declaration.

“This would be one more way of making our county safer, especially safer for our children and citizens,” Newsom said.

2nd Amendment Resolution

Hopkins County Commissioners Court also took a “stance to support the sheriff and law enforcement and people’s right to defend themselves” Tuesday.

The Commissioners Court approved a resolution declaring “support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Texas Article 1 Section 23 protecting citizens inalienable rights.”

The court resolved to defend citizens’ rights and liberties as guaranteed in both Constitutions, and to support the sheriff “in the exercise of his sound discretion” and decisions regarding law enforcement in the county. The resolution will not support or appropriate funds or resources to “enforce any law that unconstitutionally infringes on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

“Thank you, I do appreciate it,” Hopkins County Sheriff Lewis Tatum said after the commissioners court unanimously agreed in favor of the resolution.

Budget Amendment

A budget amendment was approved for the Precinct 2 road budget.

Commissioner Greg Anglin received a $6,778 check from Harmony Cemetery Association for road repairs into the cemetery. A budget amendment was required from the court in order for the funds to be moved into the Precinct 2 road building budget, as it increases that budget, Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook explained.

Hopkins County Courthouse, 118 Church St., Sulphur Springs, Texas

Author: Faith Huffman

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