Clean-up organizer advises on new program

The McCulloch County Commissioners heard the data on a proposed clean-up program aimed at educating the public on better ways to dispose of as well as recycle unwanted items. A new project spearheaded by Sheila Hemphill, “Heart to Home,” is a three-phase program for McCulloch County’clean up, fix up and keep up. Mrs. Hemphill visited with the commissioners Monday morning during their regularly scheduled business meeting and informed the panel of her intentions with the program. “This is totally just a brain child of mine,” she told the commissioners. ‘It’s basic, however. This is how I would recommend doing it. Nothing is official, but I do need everybody’s help.” Mrs. Hemphill informed the commissioners that the next phase of coordinating the program would be to organize a board and designate street leaders in each sector of the community, including Brady, Rochelle, Lohn, Voca and other smaller communities within McCulloch County. According to her, the Heart to Home program is designed to help gather and complete a county-wide survey of what items/debris are out there in the community. Once the program becomes active, street leaders will be appointed to help oversee a neighborhood watch. “We must be physically responsible for everything that we do,” Mrs. Hemphill said. “The street leaders are going to be the heart of the program.” Since McCulloch County Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Johnson opened his county barn and surrounding land as a deposit site (opened April 2002), over two million pounds of material (white goods, metals, etc.) have been removed from the county. Mrs. Hemphill stated that through the program, she would like to utilize the recycling capabilities that the county has with its newly-erected recycling center for large appliances and metals. McCulloch County Judge Randy Young commented, “The county is interested in a clean-up.” “This isn’t just about beauty,” Mrs. Hemphill said in closing. “It’s about the safety of our community and improving economic growth.” She also mentioned that she is willing to work hand-in-hand with the county and would appreciate all the support they would be willing to give. “I don’t want to abuse anyone of their goodwill,” she said. No action was taken on the item, however, Mrs. Hemphill noted that coordination will continue with both county and city officials. In other business, the commissioners were addressed by Eddie Sayles with the Brady Volunteer Fire Department. According to Sayles, the department applied for a $43,000 grant from the Texas Forest Service and was approved for $108,000. “Our goal was to get more equipment that could serve dual purposes,” Sayles said. “It’s not often that you put in for $43,000 and get $108,000.” An amount of $4,300 was already budgeted by the commissioners, and on behalf of the Brady VFD, Sayles thanked the commissioners for their financial contribution and support. Sayles stated that the new tanker will not just be available for grass fires but will also aid in structural fires as well. The new tanker will replace another truck utilized by the department and some slight modifications will be made to refurbish another existing unit. The goal is to “get two trucks for the price of one” when it is all said and done. “We’re not adding any new trucks,” Sayles said. “We’re replacing one and refurbishing another.” Sayles mentioned that the department will need to come up with at least $6,500 more to meet the 90/10 grant for the $108,000 but stated that those funds would be derived from either a bank note or by private donations and fund-raisers. “This truck is really going to be an advantage to us (the community),” Sayles said in pointing out all the recent expansion in both the City of Brady and in McCulloch County. Moving on to the next item up for action, the commissioners approved the purchase of a vibratory compactor for Precinct 1. Johnson informed other members of the panel that he located a double-drum roller at a cost of $8,500. Some of the closest models in price range started at $13,000 and continued up with higher prices. The commissioners agreed to allow the purchase, and a budget amendment will be required in the next county commissioner’s meeting to transfer the funds from a Precinct 1 reserve account.

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