Washington County Commissioners approved taking the first steps in designing a new Emergency Communications Center during their meeting this (Tuesday) morning.  The county is currently renting the dispatch center from the City of Brenham.  The current 5 year lease expires in September of 2019 and can be renewed for up to 5 years.  There is no guarantee that the building will be available after that date if the city has other plans for the property.  Commissioners approved requesting qualifications from architects for the design of the new center.  Commissioner Kirk Hanath commented that an architect could help in determining the best location for the center since it must stay operational during all types of disasters.

In other action, commissioners approved requesting proposals from outside firms to file for grants from the General Land Office and the Texas Department of Emergency Management.  These grants are separate from the FEMA funds that the county has already filed for.  The grants would cover not only flood damage from the May 2016 flooding and Hurricane Harvey, but also mitigation from future flooding events.  The county is looking to hire an outside firm for the grants because of the expertise needed in filing them.

Commissioners reappointed the members of the County Homeland Security Advisory Committee.  Reappointed to the board were Brenham Fire Chief Ricky Boeker, Washington County Commissioner Kirk Hanath, Dr. William Loesch, EMS Director Kevin Deramus, County Emergency Coordinator Bryan Ruemke, and Captain Dant Lange of the Brenham Police Department, Sergeant Eddie Ocanas of the Sheriff’s office and Judge Douglas Zwiener.  The committee’s primary duty is to recommend to the County Commissioners how the state Homeland Security grants are to be spent.

Commissioners also approved a Tax Phase-In agreement with Kountry Boys Sausage for their expanded operation in the Southwest Industrial Park in Brenham.  Kountry Boys is investing over $4 million in their facility and plan on adding 10 new jobs there.  Commissioner Joy Fuchs said it was important that the commissioners do this for a business that is already established here and is now expanding.

Commissioners also approved a proclamation naming Thursday, April 26th as Opioid Awareness and Health Day.   The Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse will be holding a town hall meeting Thursday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Blinn College Student Center conference room to discuss the issue.

Bob Cothern with the Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse accepts the proclamation from County Judge John Brieden naming April 26 as Opioid Awareness and Health Day.

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