County to stay in clean-air committee
A summary of the Limestone County commissioners court meeting of Feb. 13, 2018
The Limestone County commissioners court has decided to remain active in a committee that monitors air quality as a way to avoid possible actions by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Commissioners addressed this and other issues at their Feb. 13 meeting, including tending to matters at the Limestone County Detention Center, which is the county-owned prison, and the sheriff’s office; taking steps to restore the courthouse and made many other decisions on financial matters, elections and the quality of life in the county.
Regarding the decision concerning air quality, County Judge Daniel Burkeen explained that some time ago, the EPA considered declaring McClennan County in non-attainment status because of ozone levels. If that were to happen, residents of every county surrounding McClennan County, including Limestone, would have been required to go through extra environmental checks and pay extremely higher fees for car inspections.
To try to avoid this move, HOTCOG established the Air Quality Advisory Committee, funded by the Governor’s Office, to monitor ozone emissions.
With the EPA seemingly no longer threatening McClennan County, the governor’s office has eliminated funding for the effort, so HOTCOG has proposed to continue the program in case the problem arises again. The cost to Limestone County would be $3,245 annually, compared to about $34,000 for McClennan County. The other five Heart of Texas council of Governments counties would pay amounts commensurate with their size.
In other business, Limestone County Detention Center Warden Richard Alford reported that the inmate count that morning was 215, with 65 additional inmates expected the following day, bringing the count to 280. Total capacity at this time is 370, and he anticipates being over 300 soon, based on talks he has had with other larger counties that need beds.
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