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Citizens Oversight Committee appointed

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Diana Buckley
Ellis County Communications
ELLIS COUNTY - Ellis County Commissioners voted today, during a regularly scheduled meeting, to appoint the following individuals to the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee:

Nominated by County Judge Chad Adams:
Roy Orr, Red Oak, Committee Chairman
John Tabor, Waxahachie
Cathy Altman, Midlothian
Nominated by Commissioner Dennis Robinson, precinct 1:
Doug Young, Palmer
Cheree' Barrett, Ferris
John Wykoff, Palmer
Nominated by Commissioner Bill Dodson, precinct 2:
Jimmy Boon, Ennis
Bill Lewis, Ennis
Nominated by Commissioner Ron Brown, precinct 4:
John Knight, Red Oak
James Moon, Ovilla
Charlie Morton, Ovilla

Commissioner Heath Sims, precinct 3, said he was not yet ready to appoint representatives from his precinct.

'At the meeting at the end of this month, I will have my three appointees - Commissioner Dodson will you have one more by then?' Sims said.

'At that time could we bring a motion forward to add those three or four members?'

Dodson had indicated his third nominee had not yet been confirmed.

Guidelines for the committee were approved in a regular meeting on April 23, as follows:
• The goals and objectives of the oversight committee are to create a venue that allows public oversight of the county facilities projects while going through the design and construction process.

• The role of the committee shall be for oversight and shall in no way interfere with the authority of the court or its assigned representatives, to govern and manage the affairs of the county.

• The charge of the Ellis County Bond Oversight Committee shall be to report to the Commissioners' Court regarding the progress of the bond program.

• The committee shall be composed of citizens representing all of Ellis County. Members shall be recognized by the community as individuals of good faith who will assume the court's charge with a sense of commitment and objectivity.

• The committee shall report to the Commissioners' Court on a regular basis or as determined by the Ellis County Bond Oversight Committee and the Commissioners' Court.

Also in this morning's meeting, the Court heard a presentation by Katie Brown of R.W. Beck regarding a proposed Solid Waste Facility Siting Ordinance for the County.

'In 2005, the North Central Texas Council of Governments hired R.W. Beck to answer a TCEQ directive,' Brown told the Court. 'The COG felt that it was the best option to put the issues back into the counties' hands.'

Under Texas statutes, the County has the authority to prohibit solid waste disposal if it would present a threat to health, safety or welfare of the public.

'You cannot use the ordinance to completely prohibit solid waste disposal in the County,' added Brown. 'So there has to be at least one area noted to be suitable for solid waste disposal.'

No action was taken, but Commissioners did request modifications to the report, such as further consideration of buffer zones around waterways or soil and water conservation lakes, using current population density estimates instead of 2,000 U.S. Census numbers and identifying designated wetlands within the County.

Once the report has been finalized, there are a number of steps to be taken before the ordinance could be adopted by the Court, including conducting a public hearing.

'One key issue to note is that designating an area as suitable for a landfill does not in any way mean that a landfill facility would ever be located there,' Brown said.

'A landfill developer would first have to see a need for a facility in that area and go through an extensive TCEQ permitting process in order to locate there.

'It does not mean at all that a facility would be located there.'

In other business, Commissioners:
• Conducted a public hearing regarding conditions which constitute a public nuisance on property located at 5000 Vaca Road near Waxahachie in precinct 3;

• Approved the expenditure of funds from the precinct 3 road and bridge budget to abate the nuisance at that address if it has not been abated by the property owner by July 23, 2007, to assess the cost to the owner, and to place a lien against the property to ensure payment of the amount expended;

• Agreed to retain legal counsel to represent the Ellis Prairie Soil and Water Conservation District in opposition to a petition seeking to create the Maypearl Water Control and Improvement District, in a matter pending before the TCEQ and the State Office of Administrative Hearings, at a cost not to exceed $5,000 from the general fund;

• Approved a work order under an interlocal agreement with the City of Milford;

• Discussed distribution of funds between Road and Bridge precincts, including the redistribution of Road District funds, with no action taken.

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