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County Judge announces mask drive

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra announced a free mask drive Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Centro Cultural Hispano De San Marcos during Tuesday's commissioners court meeting.

Thanks to the coordination of Emergency Management Coordinator Alex Villalobos and the Texas Division of Emergency Management, 5,000 N95 masks will be distributed to the vulnerable populations of Hays County at this drive-up event. 

Photo from Facebook event page

Other COVID-19 updates included a potential Curative kiosk in addition to the van that has been conducting COVID-19 tests in San Marcos. 

The commissioners approved the first Task Order as part of its conservation research partnership with Texas State University.

The agreement with Texas State was made in August forming a partnership for the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment to conduct research projects on conserving, mitigating, restoring and protecting the natural resources in Hays County. That includes both and surface water resources, important landscapes that provide diverse ecosystems and biodiversity, sensitive habitat for threatened and endangered species, and sustainability of ecosystem services for residents. 

The now approved Blanco “No Discharge” Study is the first project executed under the agreement. 

Protesting the application by the City of Blanco to discharge wastewater into the Blanco River is an important issue to all county residents downstream all the way from Wimberley to San Marcos, according to Commissioner Lon Shell. This project serves as a way to find alternatives to meet the City of Blanco’s need and protect the groundwater.

The project is estimated to cost $17,250 and should be concluded Jan. 31, 2021.

In other business, the commissioners approved an interlocal agreement between Hays County and Atascosa County for outsourcing inmates with a vote of 4-1. Atascosa County would house overflow of Hays County inmates as needed at a rate of $50 per inmate per day, which is closer and $5 cheaper per inmate than Fort Bend County. 

Becerra was the sole no vote, stating the additional contract was heading in the wrong direction, as inmate outsourcing numbers have been steadily decreasing. 

“We are hovering at a long-time low,” Becerra said. “I’m concerned this might create a slowdown of sorts in that trajectory. This community has embraced our efforts as a court to modernize our judicial system as a whole. I find that this effort is taking a step back ... a closer step in spirit to the effort would be not to have this contract at all and continue on the wonderful trajectory that we are on.”

The commissioners also voted to execute an agreement between Hays County and Texas State University to be performed by the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment related to the 2021 Hays County Feral Hog Program. 

In an effort to monitor and reduce the economic impact of feral hogs, water and wildlife of Central Texas, the Meadows Center has removed 2,877 feral hogs at a rate of about $13 per hog in 2020. They estimate $1.4 million in economic damages mitigated, a return on investment of $38 for every local and state grant dollar spend in 2020. 

San Marcos Record

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