Washington County Judge John Durrenberger (right) and commissioners read a proclamation at Tuesday's meeting naming the new Community MH/IDD Facility of MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley in Washington County in honor of former Brenham mayor and county judge Dorothy Morgan. The building was named in recognition of Morgan's contributions as chair of the MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley Board of Trustees.

Washington County has entered into a new interlocal agreement with the City of Brenham for economic development services.

Commissioners at their meeting this (Tuesday) morning agreed to terminate their existing agreement with the city from March 19th and approve a new agreement marking the creation of the Brenham | Washington County Economic Development Organization (BWEDO).  The organization will manage economic development projects with the goal of securing capital investment and job creation in Brenham and Washington County.

Brenham Economic Development Director Susan Cates said discussion led by a committee set up to work out the details of this new agreement involved all local stakeholders in economic development and represented all community partners.



Cates will serve as the director of the organization, which, according to the agreement, is intended to act as a “unifying vehicle that identifies partners in economic development and creates a framework for future collaboration.”  The organization will work alongside the Brenham Economic Development Foundation (EDF), Brenham Community Development Corporation (BCDC), Cities of Brenham and Burton, Brenham and Burton ISDs, Blinn College, and other local entities.

Commissioner Joy Fuchs said she was very much in favor of this partnership, but raised concerns about the financial involvement required of the county.  Per the agreement, the county would make an annual investment of $100,000 disbursed to the city to support the efforts of development in the county.  Fuchs said, given the financial challenges that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, that she would feel more comfortable making that investment through a monthly payment plan rather than all at once.  She was also wary of how staff that would be added later to aid Cates would be at the City of Brenham’s discretion, and wanted to make sure that the interests of all parties involved were represented.  Fuchs ultimately abstained from the vote.

Commissioner Kirk Hanath said he understood Fuchs’ concerns, but said if the county were to go in alone, it would shoulder a much larger portion of these projects.  He said the agreement committee had “unbiased discussion,” adding he felt this agreement was “the most efficient and effective way to go.”

Members of the committee included Hanath and fellow Commissioner Candice Bullock, along with EDF chair Tee Dippel and chair-elect Blake Brannon, Brenham City Councilmembers Keith Herring and Clint Kolby, and John Hasskarl of the BCDC.  Dippel said this agreement works to “solidify” the EDF’s role as a crucial partner in economic development.



Brannon likened the agreement to having the bumpers up on a bowling alley, saying as more and more businesses come to Texas, this will provide structure and a roadmap for success.



The agreement approved by commissioners will allow the county to make monthly payments through the first year of the three-year agreement, before moving into lump sum payments through the remaining two years.  The agreement allows for subsequent renewals of two-year increments.  Cates said upon approval that this is “a new day for Washington County.”

Also at today’s meeting, commissioners:

  • Approved an amended interlocal agreement between the county and volunteer fire departments for fire protection services. Meyersville Fire Chief Alan Winkelmann said local fire departments are normally able to receive additional funding by completing training, but fire departments were limited in their ability to receive in-person training this year due to COVID-19.  The fire departments asked and were granted a reprieve for a portion of the funding requirements.
  • Approved a presentation of Chappell Ranchette Estates preliminary plat, a subdivision development consisting of 38 lots located in southeast Washington County fronting FM 1371.
  • A proclamation naming the new community MH/IDD facility of MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley in Washington County in honor of former county judge Dorothy Morgan.
  • Approved a facility use agreement between the county and the Washington County Fair Association. The agreement has been extended for five years, but a new agreement will be presented to commissioners once the rebranding of the Washington County Fairgrounds has completed.  Approval of an updated Washington County Expo policy and pricing guide was tabled until the new agreement is done.
  • Approved EMS position descriptions for administrative assistant and aviation flight nurse rescuer.
  • Approved formal notice for utility installation by NEWCWS-Corix Utilities, Inc. for a two-inch road bore and new water line at 8603 Little Rocky Road in Precinct One.
  • Heard a presentation from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent Kara Matheney, along with monthly reports from the Sheriff’s Office, EMS, E-911, Information Technology, and Veterans Service Officer.
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