The Sabine River Authority of Texas Thursday afternoon awarded a $20,000 Community Assistance Grant to Hopkins County on Aug. 5. The funding, part of SRA’s Fiscal Year 2021 Economic Development Initiative, is the second CAP grant Hopkins County has received from SRA in the past 2 years. SRA also awarded $20,000 to the county for their efforts during the pipeline rupture at Turkey Creek on Oct. 3.
The funds will be used to help complete a command trailer and towing vehicle, which can be used by agencies and entities across the region if needed during situations requiring extended command structure presence. This could be any type of situation, from a manhunt that lasts a couple of hour or EMS event such as a major bus crash, to the type of pipeline rupture which required county officials to be on site for 14 days during the day-to-day clean up or longer.
“The County’s project to leverage federal funds to add to in-kind services to help complete the project of a multi-use/multi-jurisdictional command trailer to use during emergencies is an initiative that SRA supports in its efforts to improve water and wastewater systems throughout the basin,” SRA Executive Vice President and General Manager David Montagne wrote in a letter to Hopkins County regarding the grant award. “SRA looks forward to working with the County in the future as we continue to focus on increasing the economic vitality of the Sabine River Basin.”
Sabine River Authority in the past has awarded 10 Community Assistance Grants each funding cycle. This time the agency is able to award 20 grants. Hopkins County applied for and the SRA Board voted unanimously in July to award a $20,000 grant to Hopkins County to help finish the response unit to be housed locally but available for regional use. The trailer includes six mobile radios that can be programmed for whatever channels are needed for the event, an antenna and generator and an area where coordinators can meet and organize. The truck to be used to haul the response trailer is an ambulance donated by Benson Brothers. It can be used to not only get the trailer to the destination needed, but could then be used to pick up additional trailers or units if needed, according to Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley.
Funds awarded for Community Assistance Program must fall into four project categories: water supply, waste management, water conservation, and water quality. Most are limited to $20,000 per project. To be eligible, applicants must be a government entity, district or a non-profit, member-owned water supply corporation or sewer service corporation located within the Sabine River Basin of Texas.
On hand for the presentation for SRA were Board President Cary “Mac” Abney, Secretary Pro-Tem Jeff Jacobs, and members member Janie Walenta and Jeanette Sterner; Upper Basin Regional Manager Troy Henry; and Terry Wilson. Representing Hopkins County were Commissioners Wade Bartley, Greg Anglin and Joe Price; County Judge Robert Newsom and Fire Marshal Andy Endsley, and Hopkins County Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator Kristy Springfield.
The SRA was created in 1949 as a water conservation and reclamation district. SRA controls, stores, preserves and distributes the waters of the Sabine River and its tributary system for useful purposes. The Sabine River Basin covers a large portion of East Texas, spanning in all or part of 21 counties, which are largely rural and where the population totals more than 551,000, according to the 2010 US Census. Funding for the Community Assistance Program grants come from water sales and other SRA income, which are designated for for the Economic Development Initiative, started in 2002 to help promote the improvement of the quality and quantity of services essential for the development of a viable community.