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From left to right are Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones, Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, BR3T board member and Hays County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Mike Jones, Hays County Director of Emergency Services Kharley Smith, BR3T Board of Directors President Earl Bolls, BR3T Executive Director Trey Bell, Hays County Disaster Recovery Specialist Denise Treadwell, Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant. Photo by Laureen Chernow

Recovery group winding down efforts

Hays County

After helping 1,600 Central Texas families recover from the 2015 floods, the Blanco River Regional Recovery Team (BR3T) is winding down operations – but it is not going anywhere.

In a presentation to the Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday, BR3T Executive Director Trey Bell said that when he took the helm of the relief organization in 2017, “We were sitting on about 65 cases remaining, which is amazing, considering there were 1,500 right after the 2015 flooding.”

Bell said BR3T organized more than 25,000 hours of volunteer labor from participating organizations like World Renew, the Mennonites and Texas Lutheran Disaster Response. 

“We are only sitting on four cases remaining,” he told the commissioners, “two of which will be picked up by CDBG-DR (Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief funds), I anticipate, and two we’ve already fundraised for.”

Bell said the organization plans on staying open “and always being available to Hays County and other counties that we support.”

The group handles disaster recovery in Blanco, Caldwell, Guadalupe and Hays counties. 

BR3T board member Mike Jones said the group is already planning fundraisers for the next disaster that occurs. 

Kharley Smith, Hays County’s director of emergency services, voiced support for BR3T.

“Central Texas needs to remain ready for long-term recovery action following whatever the next disaster is. Recovery from a major disaster takes years, and once a team like BR3T is in place, it is critical that it stay operational and ready to function. The sooner long-term recovery begins, the sooner a family, a subdivision, a town or a county gets back to normal.”

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a contract with the General Land Office for the CDBG-DR program. The county is requesting $5 million to help with street and drainage repairs and expansions, particularly along Cotton Gin Road. The Hays County General Fund will provide $4.1 million in funds for the work. 

An agreement with the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment to help with the county’s feral hog program also received approval on Tuesday. The Meadows Center will help with project management, social media, landowner outreach, tracking, the bounty program, remote-operated feral hog trap sharing and other services. The Feral Hog Abatement Grant Program will pay for the Meadows Center’s services. 

Commissioners also appointed Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe and Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell to represent the county on the Joint Community Partnership Committee with the city of San Marcos and the SMCISD, and they named Shell as the replacement for Will Conley on the Greater San Marcos Partnership Board of Directors. Conley stepped down from the commissioners court to run for county judge. 

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666