By Taylor Short

The Cove Herald

The Coryell County commissioners on Monday discussed a consolidation of emergency call-answering locations, approved money for a flood plain study and received an update on a Leon River project.

Jim Reed, executive director of the Central Texas Council of Governments, spoke to the commissioners about a change in the locations where emergency calls are answered.

For many reasons, Reed said, including the reduced number of landlines in favor of cell phones with free long distance and the governor's recent demand for agencies and higher learning institutions to reduce budgets by 5 percent, emergency 911 system revenues are shrinking.

"A change is coming," he said. "But I just want everybody to be aware that there will not be an interruption in 911 services."

Reed said the process would only change where an emergency call goes and who would answer it.

Currently, there are 10 public safety answering points in the seven adjacent counties - locations where emergency calls are answered and from where responders are dispatched.

While Bell County already consolidated its public safety answering points into one, Coryell, Lampasas, Hamilton, Mills, San Saba and Milam counties are required to upgrade their systems by 2013, Reed said.

CTCOG is trying to determine locations before ordering the new equipment, which could cost more than $70,000.

Mound flood plain study

The commissioners approved an additional $1,300 for a flood plain study of Mound by engineer Joe Morrison; homeowners are contesting a recent Federal Emergency Management Agency flood plain map.

FEMA is asking for evidence that the map is inaccurate before agreeing to amend it so residents do not have to purchase flood insurance.

To do so, a professional base flood elevation study of the entire area and an individual study on a single home must be performed, County Attorney Brandon Belt said.

"We had already approved $5,000 towards the hydrology study and this would contribute another $1,300 to get to $6,300," said County Judge John Firth.

Leon River Mitigation

The county reviewed a letter from Advanced Ecology, Ltd. repealing their original plans for a bank mitigation project on the Leon River after complaints by citizens that the project would negatively impact property and the river itself.

The Fall Off Creek Mitigation project would dam the Leon River near County Road 344, restoring flow to the historic river channel by redirecting flows from the existing ditch to the original channel, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers public notice.

The USACE extended the comment period by 30 days to Feb. 22 after complaints that residents were not notified or were misinformed.

The letter from Advanced Ecology CEO Mike Bird stated that the project would continue on the upland portion of the area and will avoid the Leon River flood plain and the river itself.

In other actions, the court approved Commissioner for Precinct 1 Jack Wall to become a voting member on the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group.

The water planning group is one of 16 regional water planning areas in Texas. The group works to develop a comprehensive water plan for its 37-county area, including the development, management, and conservation of water resources and drought preparation and response.

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