Residents along Adams and Cow bayous can apply to upgrade their failing sewer systems thanks to a grant approved Monday, as long they help pay the bill.

Commissioners approved funds of $350,000 from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency; to be distributed at about $117,000 per year for the next three years – enough money for about 15 to 20 homeowners to apply for the first two years. Joel Ardoin, direcctor of health code and compliance, emphasized those figures were a rough estimate.

Ardoin said eligible participants would have to foot at least 40 percent of the cost, but that could change to 20 or 25 percent.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. Reductions would be allowed through write-offs the county receives from “in-kind” work such as onsite inspections, he said.

Funds will be distributed based on financial need and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. 

To be eligible, residents’ property must be in the Adams or Cow bayou watershed area, and must be a primary residence (no rentals). Tie-ins to community systems are not allowed, proof of income is required and the homeowner must be able to match up to 40 percent. 

For a $6,000 sewer system, a homeowner would pay about $2,400 at 40 percent or $1,500 at 25 percent.

“We’ve got to pay the whole thing up front and then [residents] pay us their money,” said County Judge Carl Thibodeaux. “They should have to pay us some kind of deposit.”

Ardoin replied, “They would have to put a portion of their money down first. I don’t really see a problem. I think we’ll have applications real quick.”

The grants are offered because the bayous are on the state’s “impaired list”  because they don’t meet healthy conditions for swimming, wading, fishing and a health aquatic environment.
For more information, drop by the health code office on Farm Road 1442 or call 745-1463.

In other business, commissioners authorized Sheriff Keith Merritt to apply for a $16,300 grant to buy safety equipment such as binoculars, leg straps, stop sticks and tactical medical packs. The county will have to match of about $400. 

Also, naming a bidder for a new motor was tabled because of no written agreement. 

Transportation Director Paula Anders told commissioners a new motor was needed for one of the county’s 21-passenger buses that transports handicapped residents. 

Bids were received for $12,550 and $11,750 – about $700 difference – however the low bidder requested the money up front because he didn’t have enough to order the motor.

“If we go with a higher bid based on an oral statement, he could come back and sue us,” Thibodeaux said. “All he has to do is say he didn’t say it.” 

Anders will retain the bidder’s statement in writing, she said.