Washington County Commissioners moved today (Tuesday) to approve and execute an agreement with TxDOT for a new entrance monument at the boundary of Washington and Grimes counties.

Washington County Chamber of Commerce
President Jamie Rankin meets with county
commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the new
gateway monument that will be built along Highway

The “Welcome to Washington County” brick gateway monument will be built on Highway 105, just under a mile east of FM 1155.  The new sign is coming about after the old one went out of use, due to TxDOT redirecting the highway several years ago as part of its project to build new bridges over Coles Creek and the Brazos and Navasota Rivers.

The county is working with TxDOT on behalf of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, since TxDOT will only work with governmental entities.  Washington County Chamber President Jamie Rankin said these signs, which are also found along Highway 290 and Highway 36, are a “tremendous asset.”

A previous agreement approved between the county and the Chamber during the commissioners court’s meeting on December 5th specified that the Chamber will incur all costs of the gateway monument, including future maintenance. 

Rankin said the sign has been funded and thanked the community donors who made this sign – and the others in the county – possible.  She also said the Chamber has partnerships with local landscaping companies who mow around the signs and take care of them.

The total cost for the project is $25,050.  Rankin said Gessner Engineering performed soil samples, while Glasco & Company Landscaping will construct the sign and Terralab will serve as the landscape architect.

Commissioner Candice Bullock said these signs are the first thing people see when they enter the county and that they are “so important for our community.”  Commissioner Kirk Hanath said the signs let visitors “know that they are in one of the greatest counties in the state of Texas.”

Hanath said the target date is to have the sign finished in the third quarter of this year.

Also in court today, commissioners accepted a request for qualification (RFQ) from 3R Hunting Services, LLC of Paint Rock to serve as the wildlife manager for Washington County’s school land in Tom Green County.  

The county is dividing the usage of the land between grazing and hunting, which Hanath said poses an opportunity for the county to potentially get more revenue.  Money collected from the land, aside from what is spent on general upkeep expenses, is disbursed annually to Brenham and Burton ISDs based on average daily attendance.

County Attorney Renee Mueller said San Angelo attorney Keith Davis, who the county has worked with previously in negotiating a right-of-way easement with a solar farm to get access through the school land, was the one who recommended this avenue of dividing the land usage.  Mueller said the wildlife manager will help the county go out and get good-quality hunting leases.

Hanath said there will be contract negotiations to come with 3R Hunting Services following this approval.  There were two RFQs submitted for the wildlife manager services, the other being from Colby Schneemann of Christoval.

In other business, commissioners heard a slate of monthly reports.  During the sheriff’s office report, Chief Deputy Jay Petrash said the office is still looking to fill five patrol deputy positions, one transport vacancy and one opening for courthouse security.  He also said two officers are on injured reserve, and one retired deputy has come back part-time to help bailiff courts.

Commissioners also:

  • Renewed the interlocal cooperation contract for the failure to appear program.  Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Douglas Zwiener said the program prevents people from getting drivers licenses if they fail to appear for court.
  • Approved a final plat for the Conner Crossing subdivision, consisting of six lots along Conner Road and Sweed Road in Precinct 1.
  • Approved appointments to the Homeland Security Advisory Committee: Burton ISD, Jonathan Purvis; Brenham ISD, Brittni Kalich; City of Brenham, Kevin Schmidt; Blinn College, Michael Welch.  Hanath said the Brazos Valley Council of Governments (BVCOG) appointments are for cybersecurity discussions on artificial intelligence, including its positive and negative impacts.
  • Discussed a formal notice for fiber installation by Industry Telephone Company in the Old Loewe Lane right-of-way in Precinct 4.
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