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JUDGE: Preparing for growth in Milam County

Prior to this year, some previous Milam County elected officials refused to address nor recognize much less consider the growth that was already happening here in Milam County. A growth in population was not thought possible according to the state demographics department as represented by the rhetoric of prior elected officials and even the state regional water planning board; however, by reading the local papers, using a little common sense, and simply opening one’s eyes to the local trends reveals what we all know to be true – Milam County is indeed growing.

Jim Gibson, the manager of the Rockdale Municipal Development District, wrote an article in last week’s edition of the Rockdale Reporter which stated that in the next two decades Rockdale’s population could be as high as 30,000 residents. For perspective, that’s a population that is higher than the current population of Milam County. Prior to coming into office, we discussed the growth and the need to build up our infrastructure in order to prepare for and to meet the demands of the increased population. We plan to meet those needs whether it be law enforcement, first responders, schools, housing, roads, commercial, retail, government, or any of the necessities that life demands. 

This year we have already worked to pass regulatory items that will help address the growth, not to hamper anyone, but to make sure that people and businesses that come into Milam County do so in a manner that is safe and productive for everyone. We also looked at items that needed addressing and functions of government that needed restored or formed to help ensure the people of Milam County have the necessary government services going forward.

In some cases, we restored functions of government that had been removed in the last few years. This year we restored the Veterans Services Office which was removed last year. To date our new VSO’s, Alan and Crystal Smith, have been booked every day, all day. Alan and Crystal are out in the community and working with our veterans and their families wherever they are needed. 

We addressed our Emergency Management’s needs and brought back Susan Reinders to reestablish this program and get us back to where we need to be. Emergency Management had become a secondary citizen in county government when the safety and security of the citizenry should always be front and center in any government.

We are adding back the office of Community Service Coordinator, people are awarded Community services in our courts which must be coordinated, yet this was removed from the budget years ago placing undue burdens on our probation department. We also approved adding a Planning and Development Coordinator to the county to help with regulatory issues like subdivision regulations and septic permitting.

We are also in the final stages of setting up our Long-Range Planning Committee. As I prepared to take office and met with other judges in the area, I found that the counties that handled their growth and future best did so with the guidance of a Long-range Planning Committee to guide them. Ours is being finalized and should start meeting in the next month or so to examine the items of importance as we move into the future here in Milam County. Issues like roads, jail expansion, facilities in Rockdale and Thorndale, and a judicial building to help with our expanding judicial needs.

In closing, Milam County is growing. We see it with the building of the new subdivisions, the demolition of older structures to make way for the new, the improvements and the planned expansion of highways in the county, and the building of new homes and businesses throughout the county. In the next ten to twenty years, Milam County will be vastly different in size and makeup. So, we have a choice, we can watch it move forward without us, or we can be looking ahead, step up, and prepare for the future so we can keep Milam County this place we all love. 

The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902