JUDGE: 2020 was trying, but we are still here
The last ten months have been some of the most trying times in our county.
The year started with high hopes of more economic development and growth. But, all of a sudden we were in the mist of a pandemic and everything changed.
We closed schools, businesses and told people to stay home and not congregate. We told people to wear face masks, keep their distance and wash their hands.
We waited for an unprecedented life saving vaccine, which is now at hand. It seems like our entire focus has been on slowing the spread and keeping safe.
But, for your county government a lot of other important projects have been ongoing. We have continued our clean up efforts in the county.
We started in 2019 with the biggest eyesore on the east end of Rockdale and the project was completed in 2020. This was a huge undertaking, with a $300,000 county price tag. But the job is now complete and the eyesore is gone.
In addition, the county is prosecuting numerous other violators and that will continue. In mid-2021 we will have another county wide free scrap tire and hazardous waste clean up as well.
We made a lot of repairs to our beloved courthouse, including the roof and a cleaning of the beautiful exterior limestone rock. The scales of justice were repaired, the interior was painted and security was installed. The county upgraded its computer hardware and software to provide better customer service. The Commissioners Court agreed to pay to have all of the county records digitized by the end of 2021 to enable on line record searches.
The first ever and very successful countywide moot court competition was held at the courthouse, where every Milam County school competed. A Rockdale team won the competition and a Buckholts team finished a close second.
We held the first ever Rockdale-Cameron football banquet, where former Texas A&M Coach R.C. Slocum spoke of the importance of countywide cooperation and how the ridiculous, harmful self-imposed river divide hurts economic prosperity in the county.
The Commissioners Court enacted strict countywide regulations for mobile home parks, adopted countywide film-friendly guidelines to attract business and contracted with PHI to provide every Milam County resident with free helicopter ambulance service.
The county was able to secure a first ever “telehealth station” which is located at the Sheriff’s Office in Cameron. This is the most technologically advanced telehealth station in America and it is available to provide health care to anyone at a minimal cost.
We are currently working on a grant for our first ever countywide floodplain map and we have partnered with Connected Nation-Texas to upgrade our broadband service in the county.
In the meantime, we partnered with the cities of the county to provide free COVID testing for any Milam County resident and soon we will provide free COVID vaccinations for any Milam County resident. So yes, this has been a tough year, but we have persevered and we are still here. We have continued to fight and we have not given up. We have continued to provide all of the goods and services county government normally provides and much more. And, we have only just begun!