Judge: Historic grant awarded to Milam County
Last Friday we learned that Milam County had been awarded the single largest grant in its history!
The total grant amount is $4.7 million and it will be used to renovate the former Little River hospital building in Cameron for county administrative purposes. This is incredibly important as it enables the county to renovate the building without local tax dollars.
This saga began over two years ago when the hospital complex was vacated due to the bankruptcy of Little River.
The building is a single span metal structure of about 35,000 square feet and it is in good condition. However, the interior must be completely renovated for county administrative purposes. Although expensive to renovate, it is much less expensive than new construction.
The three fine banks of Milam County took possession of the complex after Little River filed for bankruptcy. The Commissioners Court voted to acquire the 8.5-acre hospital complex in the summer of 2020 by exchanging several older county buildings located in downtown Cameron with the banks. Shortly after the exchange, we learned of a CARES Act grant opportunity from Jim Reed, Executive Director of our Central Texas Council of Government.
We immediately began the extensive application process, which took several months to complete and thereafter the entire application was submitted in June 2020. We were advised in September 2020 that our request had been given favorable consideration by the EDA, but there many other reviews were necessary before final approval, which came last week.
This is incredibly important to all of us in Milam County for several reasons.
First, we will now be able to provide “one stop” service for just about all county services. The County Clerk, Tax Assessor/Collector, District Attorney, Human Resources, Auditor, County Treasurer, Milam County AgriLife Extension Services, Emergency Services, Constables, Bea’s Kitchen, Adult Probation, Juvenile Probation and many other services will be located in one secure building.
Second, county employees will have a coordinated, professional, secure setting in which to work, which will increase productivity. Third, there will be a tremendous utility savings as we will equip the building with the most efficient lighting and climate control. In fact, we plan to power the entire complex with solar power!
Last, the City of Cameron can grow as the vacated buildings can be used by new business, creating new jobs and a vibrant downtown.
Make no mistake, this is a big step forward for Milam County and it has not been an easy step. But, this is the right step! This raises the stature of county government in the community and increases our ability to provide convenient, efficient services for every Milam County resident at lower costs. Because of this historic grant, we can do all of this without local tax dollars.