Somervell County Commissioner’s Court approved a 90-day burn ban as well as a restriction on certain fireworks during a special meeting on Monday.
The burn ban, already in effect, restricts outdoor burning. Outdoor grilling is still allowed under the ban as well as welding, so long as a spotter over the age of 18 watches for sparks and has a water supply available to extinguish any flames.
The order restricting fireworks is effective Dec. 20 - Jan. 1. No one can sell, detonate, ignite or in any way use fireworks classified as sky rockets with sticks or missiles with fins.
It is already illegal to set off fireworks within city limits, including by the Paluxy River and area parks.
“We’re serious about this,” said Commissioner Lloyd Wirt.
Commissioners also asked for help among law enforcement officials to make sure violators of either ban faced consequences.
“We need to advertise the consequences and advertise that there will be zero tolerance for violators,” said Somervell County Sheriff Greg Doyle.
Violation of either order is a class C Misdemeanor and punishable by a $500 fine.
Firefighters battled five grass fires over the weekend and one vehicle fire.
Somervell County Water District General Manager Kevin Taylor approached the court about an opportunity he was given to apply for an $8 million grant from the Texas Water District Board. But Taylor said the $8 million carrot came with some required changes to the counties subdivision development rules.
“I don’t know if the rules work for us,” Taylor admitted.
The grant, originally established to help counties along the southern border, would only apply to lots under five acres. The subdivisions would have to be engineered and not just surveyed, which is all the county currently requires. But the biggest obstacle for the county and developers was the performance bond requirement for water and septic systems.
Developers would be required to post a bond on each lot until water system and septic systems were developed.
“To me, that’s the real problem, the septic,” Taylor said. “The county judge is responsible for setting the bond amount but it should reflect the actual cost for each system.”
The judge and all four commissioners continued to have questions and concerns about what the rule changes would actually mean for Somervell. But with the deadline looming at the end of the year, officials are short on time.
The item was tabled and placed on the agenda for a special meeting set for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 19.
Other items on Friday’s agenda include awarding workers compensation insurance proposal and awarding a chemical bid.