Funding for Ellis County’s participation in the Cities Readiness Initiative has been increased under a new contract with the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

“This is an additional $21,000 for a total of $44,000 they are giving the County to work on this program,” special projects director Holly Davis said.

CRI is a Homeland Security initiative that allows local governments to gather and train volunteers, to buy equipment, and to set up “POD” sites for dispensing medication in the event of pandemic flu or other widespread health emergency.  

Residents who are interested in participating in volunteer training can contact the county’s Emergency Management office at 972-825-5192 for more information.

Commissioners approved the contract with its additional funding during Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, along with a memorandum of understanding with the Ellis County Crisis Response Team.

“Last month, Sharon (McKinney) introduced this group to you,” Davis told commissioners. “This is an agreement that they can be called on in times of crisis to provide emotional and spiritual assistance.”

Two interlocal agreements, one with the city of Palmer, and one with the city of Midlothian were also approved during the meeting, setting guidelines for platting within the extraterritorial jurisdictions of those two cities.  

Agreements of this type with each city in the county are necessary, and almost all are now in place. In most cases, entities agree to abide by the more stringent regulation in cases where rules differ.

In items related to the county’s bond project, commissioners approved a contract with American Energy and Environmental Engineering Inc. to perform phase one and other environmental assessments as necessary for due diligence during property acquisitions and demolition of buildings and authorized the county judge to sign all legal documents to acquire the Ellis County Auto property.

Commissioner Dennis Robinson, Pct. 1, cast the dissenting vote on the acquisition of the property, noting that the lot is not essential to the completion of the project.

“(If we do not acquire it) there will be some difficulties, with the type of work they do, if we cause environmental issues,” county engineer Joe White said.  “It would require a lot more dust control and other effort like that. Traffic will be a problem.”

In other business, commissioners:

• Approved an agreement with the Waxahachie Lions Club for use of the county property located downtown for its annual Mini Grand Prix on May 16 and May 17;

• Approved a contract amendment with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for funding related to the Low Income Repair and Replacement Program administered through NCTCOG;

• Approved a change in the clerk II position in the office of the Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4, from part-time to full-time;

• Approved a preliminary plat for The Oaks at Cedar Glenn in Pct. 3;

• Cancelled the subdivision Cottonwood Creek Farms, Phase 2, in Pct. 1

•Approved a renovation job for the Midlothian Tax Office by Benavides Cabinet Shop at a cost of $8,644.

• Postponed a presentation on environmental issues.