By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – The Tyler County Commissioners Court approved an ordinance at its Monday morning meeting to prohibit the disposal of solid waste in certain parts of the county.
County Judge Jacques Blanchette said the county has been working on drafting the ordinance for several months, and according to the county’s legal counsel, Eric Magee, the ordinance is the only way to guarantee any protection, statutorily, for areas of the county should a developer want to build a landfill.
“Counties have very limited authority for regulations” regarding landfills, Magee said. By designating areas of the county where solid waste disposal is not permitted, the county is taking a proactive approach, he said.
The topic has arisen in other counties and with controversy, Magee said. Precinct 2 Commissioner Stevan Sturrock first brought it to the other commissioners and Blanchette after receiving information at a commissioners’ training seminar earlier in the year.
Magee said the ordinance guarantees protection for areas in the county and said that although no developers or companies have approached Tyler County yet, the ordinance would necessitate that any interested parties approach the county for permission.
The discussion concerning the ordinance took place during a public hearing held prior to the regular meeting on Monday morning. One resident, Rick Russler, spoke in favor of the ordinance and of the potential benefits of a landfill. “If a landfill is well-run and well-operated in the right location, then I don’t think it presents a danger,” he said.
Russler also spoke of the potential financial value of a landfill to the county. “It could easily be the biggest taxpayer in the county,” he said.
During Monday’s meeting, the commissioners also approved a resolution concerning articles of incorporation and by-laws for appointing directors to the Southeast Texas Flood Control District, Local Government Corporation.
The topic was discussed during a workshop early Monday morning, and is being establishing to help protect area residents against future flooding.
The group will look at long-range planning for disaster mitigation and ways to protect infrastructure, industry, businesses and houses in the region against flooding, as well as looking at ways to design, develop and operate methods to reduce potential flood damage in the region.
Commissioners also voted to move forward with a couple of repair projects on county property. The bids for repair work on the courthouse roof were opened, and only one was received, from Marsh Waterproofing, Inc.
The bid will be submitted to architect Dohn LaBiche to see if it meets the requirements to be in compliance with the Texas Historical Commission.
For the renovations to the Tyler County Tax Office, commissioners voted to select Ken Jones as the project manager.
During Monday’s meeting, the Tyler County Commissioners Court also approved the following:
•Rick Russler was appointed to serve a three-year term on the Southeast Texas Groundwater Conservation District Board. Russler fills a position left by Jim Boone, who recently retired.
•Lewis DeHaven was recognized for 16 years of service as a volunteer driver for the Veterans Service Office.
•The resignation of Kelly Jobe as the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Agent for Family and Community Health, effective on Dec. 31, was accepted.