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County to form board to oversee zone

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Denton County commissioners indicated Tuesday that they will form a special reinvestment zone to help the county qualify for state funds for road repairs related to the oil and gas industry, but they decided to postpone a formal vote for another week to give them time to draft names for a new advisory board to oversee the zone.

Commissioners have been considering forming a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone, known as a CETRZ, as a mechanism to obtain funds authorized by the state Legislature for repairs to county roads.

The county’s zone would provide funds for Doyle Road and Indian Trail, which border Precincts 1 and 4 in the county.

Under state law, commissioners must name five people to an advisory board for the zone. Three must be oil and gas representatives and two must be members of the public, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.

The county is eligible to apply for grant funds if the board is created to advise on the establishment, administration and expenditures of the zone, according to TxDOT.

“We weren’t firm in who all the names were on the committee and we kind of pushed to put it on the agenda,” County Judge Mary Horn said.

Commissioner Hugh Coleman said he had a couple of names at the ready, but other court members wanted to wait and further vet board candidates.

The funds can be used to repair damage to roads from increased gas drilling in the Barnett Shale. Since some counties in the state will not apply for the funds, there could be additional funds available to Denton County later.

Commissioners had hoped to form the zone as soon as possible to be eligible for the grant funds, but Horn said the state came in at the last minute and informed county officials that they would have until March to create the zone.

“We’re putting it back on next week to firm up the names on that committee,” Horn said.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.