Normally for my last column of the year I like to review the significant events of the previous 12 months. Or maybe it is the first column of the New Year that I visit the major events of the previous year.
Whatever the case may be I am going to take this opportunity to review the last 12 years and mention, in my opinion, some of the major events. Due to limited space I can only mention a few.
The first was actually started during Judge Roger Hashem’s last term in 1994. Roger worked hard to obtain an ISTEA Grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).
This grant funded 80 percent, or $605,500 of the project, with the county funding the remaining 20 percent, a total of $127,700. Included in this project were the replacement of the courthouse roof, clock tower, clock and goddess of justice statue. The project was completed in 1999.
Then in the year 2000 Milam County received a grant from the Texas Historical Commission Courthouse Preservation Program in the amount of $2,921,492. Locally, the Preserve Our Past Committee raised more funds, and along with county funding the 3.6 million dollar project was completed in 2002.
Another noteworthy event occurred through TIF Grant funding. By partnering with the GREAT Grant and the CREATE Grant, Milam County was able to leverage funding to complete a fiber network that today connects all Cameron Milam County Offices. County offices in Rockdale and Thorndale can access the f iber network v ia wireless connections that were also a part of the TIF Grant funding.
In 2009, w ith the help of Homeland Defense grant funding, we brought our local law enforcement into the cyber world by equipping all vehicles with computers and access to the internet via the Cop Sync program.
This program allows deputies to run license checks and lets them immediately know if they are encountering a wanted and or dangerous individual. The program also tracks the location of all deputies in real time which has proven to make a big difference in emergency situations.
One other project that has had a positive effect for public safety in the entire state of Texas is the Burn Ban sign project. This statew ide public safet y effort started in Milam County. This project is a result of local Volunteer Fire Depar tments and my office working together with other County Judges and Volunteer Fire Depar tments across the state.
Through concerted efforts we were able to gain access to existing TXDOT road signs for posting notice of the implementation of a burn ban within a county.
A number of you have asked whatIwillbedoinginthe future. Many have asked about Horticulture Hotline, and yes it will continue just as it has since 1986. I will continue to stay active in Milam Count y and will continue my blog Inside Milam County. For those of you with internet access just Google Inside Milam County to keep up with my thoughts on what is going on in Milam County.
In closing I wish incoming Judge Elect Dave Barkemeyer, a nd ot her incoming elec ted officials the best of luck during the next four years. There are many challenges facing local government in the upcoming session and the new Judge and Commissioners will need luck and our prayers. We need to get behind them and do what’s right for Milam County.
Finally, it has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as your County Judge for the last 12 years. I sincerely appreciate your support and comments during my tenure. For me it has been a great ride. Happy trails, and till next time y’all take care.