Using real-world experience in business, government to improve county
By Clint Ives - Guest Column
Feb. 12, 2018 at 6:06 p.m.
So much has happened in county government since I was elected County Commissioner in 2010 that it's hard to know where to start. When I was sworn in for the first time, the Eagle Ford boom was on and the mortgage crisis was fading into memory. We saw the oil business surge to new heights, then decline swiftly.
Through making sound decisions, Victoria County built up financial reserves during the good times to be prepared for bad times. This proved critically important when Hurricane Harvey ravaged our county and during the aftermath of that awful storm.
From day one as County Commissioner, I met with our team in Precinct 4 to plan an aggressive approach to repairing and paving miles of crumbling county roads. This game plan made it possible to pave more than 50 miles of county roads, considerably more than was paved in the prior decade.
After complex and lengthy negotiations, we acquired the right-of-way needed to build a fresh extension road into the Brentwood subdivision. This new entrance road had been sought by local homeowners for decades and solved a serious safety issue with trains blocking fire and EMS access to the neighborhood.
While campaigning on conservative ideals can be popular, implementing those principles instead of just talking often means going the extra mile.
From 2015 to the current 2018 county budget, we've reduced county spending significantly. Along with spending less, in 2015 we gave local taxpayers a substantial cut in county tax rates, and I've worked to hold the line and keep taxes at these lower rates.
Financial goals like these aren't easy to achieve, and by using a conservative common-sense approach, Victoria County Commissioners Court is providing enhanced services to local residents at lower cost.
Public safety and public health spending make up over half of Victoria County's annual budget.
This highlights the priority we place on keeping people safe and healthy here. While facing a possible revenue shortfall of nearly $1 million last year was challenging, we still found ways to provide additional resources for public safety.
We're also moving forward in the accreditation process for our Health Department. When this two-year process is complete, the Victoria County Health Department will be one of only six health departments in Texas to have this important accreditation and the access to additional federal resources it brings.
When a Precinct 4 landowner sought a permit from TCEQ to dispose of grease and grit trap waste by dumping sludge on land outside Inez, we took decisive action.
This sludge dumping could have seriously threatened groundwater in our area, and Victoria County aggressively opposed this sludge permit.
Thus began a lengthy administrative, legal and legislative battle to stop this threat to our local environment. After making numerous trips to Austin, being in multiple legal hearings and committee meetings and working constantly with our legislators, I'm pleased to report that we have blocked this TCEQ sludge permit.
Hurricane Harvey was a disaster like we haven't seen here in decades, and long-term recovery efforts may continue for years. While working at the Emergency Operation Center, I saw Harvey swiftly swell from a tropical storm to a major Category 4 hurricane.
Our first responders hit the ground running, and we immediately began working to clear debris as soon as the storm passed.
With help from precinct forces, we cleared more than 150,000 cubic yards of debris off county right-of-ways, and Victoria County was considered clear of debris in just over 90 days.
Victoria County is my home, and my parents taught me the importance of faith, hard work and keeping your word. I take these same values to the courthouse and the precinct barn as commissioner. I want to continue making Precinct 4 a better place by building on the progress we've made and also complete the many projects we currently have in the works.
We've been very busy clearing away debris, dealing with new drainage issues and working with people to help them recover from Hurricane Harvey.
Our own precinct barn was heavily damaged by the hurricane, and there's a lot of work still to be done.
Growing up in ranching taught me to never take anything for granted, and I want to continue using my real-world experience in business and government to improve our county for the good of everyone. I would appreciate your support, and I ask for your vote in the upcoming Republican Primary.
Clint Ives is the Victoria County Commissioner for Precinct 4. He may be emailed at email@example.com.