Kaufman County Commissioners Court Decides Transportation and Development Issues
Kaufman County Judge Bruce Woods announced at the beginning of Commissioners Court last week, that the budget is a work in progress. Once the budget is proposed, it must sit for thirty days before it can be approved. At the time of the meeting, the Court was waiting on property values, due the same day, July 25, by law, with the proposed budget scheduled to be posted by July 31. Additionally, transportation and development issues were decided.
First item on the agenda was represented by Mr. Poster, the transportation advisor. Last year, in the ten year plan, there were 172 million dollars-worth of projects being funded. That amount has increased from last year, to more than 232 million dollars. The majority of that is for construction of a section of Farm to Market 548. Mr. Poster gave a report on all of the road projects. FM 148 is going to be rerouted. The plan regarding that part of the road is still in the discussion process and is projected to be a 28 million dollar project. Judge Woods and some of the Commissioners expressed concerns about complaints they have received on the work quality of some projects, along with the timeframe in which they seem to be completed. Mr. Poster said he would look into it. County Road 151 will be finished this month and will have a ribbon cutting ceremony. The entire report will be posted in detail on the Kaufman County website.
Next on the agenda was to approve the minutes from previous meetings. The County will be receiving a $69,000 grant through the Council of Governments (COG).
The Treasurer’s Report was next on the agenda. After the report was given, the Court was told that just in this quarter, at Texas pool fund, on April 1 the daily rate was 1.8326. Yesterday, the daily rate was 2.2045. That’s a 38 bases point increase, which is a little over 20 percent increase in interest rate. The report was accepted by the Court.
Kaufman County Child Welfare provided an update. There is a need to revitalize this program. Applications are being accepted and can be found on the website. Those chosen, will work closely with Child Protective and Regulatory Services (CPS), and help find quality foster parents for children.
The Court made a motion to move into an executive session. The Judge and Commissioners left to privately discuss delegations with Windmill Farms and economic development negotiations for Project Eagle, located in Precinct 2.
The Court reconvened after the Commissioners finished their executive session and was then called back to order. No action will be taken on Project Eagle.
A presentation was given on the technical development of Windmill Farms phase 4. Windmill Farms phase 4 is set on 90 acres and will include 197 residential lots, four open space lots, and one commercial lot. Phase 4 does not comply with the County approved thoroughfare plan, which was approved in August 2016. A Power Point demonstration was shown to discuss the roadways, since the future projection will involve more traffic than currently exists. Different intersections are being looked at to help with the traffic and create a flow. Another issue is that nine property owners will be affected. Phase 4 is largely conceptual at this point. Windmill Farms needs to T into the University extension. The Commissioners felt like the presentation was good and understandable. At this time Brett Mann, BG Director of Planning addressed the court. He questioned whether some connections were correct in the thoroughfare plan. It was stated that whatever is done on University Drive will affect commercial properties. Mr. Mann thinks there is a way to find common ground. Judge Woods stated that they encourage development as long as it maintains the integrity of the thoroughfare. Mr. Mann then stated that he wanted to ask for the following variances for Phase 4: Density to the lot size, lot frontage, push houses closer to the street, width of right-of-ways, utilities locations, and fire department turnarounds. Judge Woods seemed irritated that he and the Commissioners did not receive the list of variances until the time of Commissioners Court. The County Engineer said there were seven, out of the nine, that would not be detrimental to the county. Judge Woods was concerned about a variance for the limestone. He said that due to the soil, he wouldn’t be comfortable giving a variance. Also, there is concern that the amount of intensity development would have a negative impact on traffic and congestion. Judge Woods is not comfortable with approving variances yet and stated, “Once you start making variances, where does it stop?” More clarification is needed and the Court wanted to table the item. The item was tabled, once Mr. Mann agreed that they would not sue the County. Court was adjourned.