The Waller County Commissioners Court has issued a burn ban throughout Waller County at the recommendation of County Fire Marshall Brian Cantrel. The court also approved several measures to put …
The Waller County Commissioners Court has issued a burn ban throughout Waller County at the recommendation of County Fire Marshall Brian Cantrel. The court also approved several measures to put telecom equipment and lines into county facilities that are under renovation or being constructed.
Cantrel said the Keetch-Byram Drought Index – referred to as the KBDI – for the county was improved in the southern portion of the county after the rains of the last week, but elevated in the northern portions of the county which had not received enough rain to mitigate fire risks. The average countywide provided at last week’s commissioners court meeting was 551 out of a possible 800 on the KBDI and this week the average for the southern part of the county was 344 while the northern portion of the county was at 595, setting an average of 517 countywide.
County Judge Trey Duhon said, while the county could set a burn ban for only a portion of the county such as north of FM 529, splitting the county up based on KBDI score set up a situation for confusion and difficult enforcement of any burn ban for county officials.
The vote to institute the burn ban was unanimous, as were all of the votes on other measures taken by the court.
County IT Coordinator Greg Henry presented several information-technology actions that were approved by the court.
A contract with Logix to provide internet services at the Waller County Community Center and Road and Bridge office was cancelled and replaced with a faster internet speed to be provided by Atron Solutions, a company based out of Tomball. Internet speeds will be upgraded at both facilities. The community center will have a 50 MB speed from what was 10MB, while the Road and Bridge department will now have a 100 MB speed, up from 50 MB.
County officials noted the improvements will help in the event of the community center being used for emergency purposes and will provide more convenience to community members and groups that utilize the facility. The faster connection at the Road and Bridge office will also help facilitate faster transfer of large files containing design specifications for projects.
Trinicom Communications of Hempstead will provide a fax line for the veteran’s fax line at the community center which is necessary for when medical documents need to be faxed for veterans.
Tyler Technologies based out of Plano, Tex. will provide a “Single Vendor Jail Vendor Export” software license as part of their services for the county’s new jail and sheriff’s office facility. Approval of this license was a formality and Tyler Technologies will pay for the license as part of their contractual obligations with the county, Henry said.
Upgrades for fiber service to the Precinct 4 Annext building being constructed near Brookshire were also approved and will be provided by Consolidated Communications.
A low-voltage, cellular fire panel provided by Low Voltage Security Solutions was also approved for the community center.
Waller County Construction Manager Danny Rothe also provided an update on the county’s library refurbishment and expansion. He said the slab for the expansion and associated walkways had been poured and once steel for walls had arrived the facility would come together quickly.
Some delays had been seen as subcontractors worked to avoid double trips out to install wiring and other items in the library facility, but Rothe said he had worked those out. The library’s staff will be able to begin moving furniture into the completed, refurbished portion of the facility soon and the project is expected to be complete in September, Rothe said.
Commissioners also discussed the possibility of using a portion of the county’s $1.6 million in CARES Act funds to help school districts in the county provide devices and internet connections to disadvantaged students in the county. However, the item was tabled so that it could be placed properly on the court’s next agenda and to allow county staff and elected officials to gather more information on what the needs are and what the process for issuing CARES Act funds to school districts would look like.