Victoria County Commissioners Court

Victoria County Commissioners Court

Victoria County is applying to receive $3.5 million in grants to help with drainage and road improvement projects related to damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Victoria County commissioners Monday discussed an application to receive $3,515,651 allocated to the county through the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program.

Though the funds have already been allocated to the county, the county is required to submit an application because the projects have to meet certain requirements and be approved by the state.

After a public notice period, the application will be submitted to the Texas General Land Office for approval.

Robin Knipling, the county’s grant administrator, told commissioners Monday that the $3.5 million has been divided among the county’s four precincts to ensure some amount of damage in each precinct is addressed.

Knipling said there are some limitations, however, including the fact that 70% of the funding has to be used in low- to moderate-income areas. She said the split among precincts is “as equal as possible” when all requirements are taken into account.

The application will be available for review at the county judge’s office, 115 N. Bridge St., and online at Victoria County’s website for about 30 days.

In mid-June, Victoria County commissioners discussed an application for the grant funds for home buyouts. Once that application is approved, about $2.5 million will be made available to buy homes that repeatedly flood.

Separately, the city of Victoria received about $6 million in block grant funding for infrastructure projects and about $2.4 million for buyouts.

Also Monday, commissioners heard a report from the Victoria County Public Health Department about vibriosis. The report came after the health department put out a news release last week outlining information about the bacterial infection as well as recommended precautions.

Brittany Burgess, the health department’s epidemiologist, said the majority of cases seen in Victoria County are mild, and it’s only in rare cases that contracting the bacteria leads to death. Recently, two fatalities connected to the bacteria have been reported in the Crossroads.

The bacteria exists in salt water year-round but is often found in higher quantities when the weather is warmer.

Burgess said she looked at data going back 10 years and found there is no elevated threat level to the public.

“Millions of people are going down to the coast every summer, and this is still considered a very rare illness,” she said.

Burgess said people should follow the standard precautions when going in or near salt water to minimize their chances of contracting the bacteria, which include covering wounds, avoiding drinking the water and talking to a doctor before the trip if one has a compromised immune system.

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, or on Twitter

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