County approves agreement to develop tourism website

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

May 19, 2022

The Hill County Commissioners Court met in a regular session Tuesday, May 10, and approved a plan to redevelop the county’s tourism website along with other agenda items.

The court approved an agreement with Sheri Hemrick to create and maintain the website. The purpose of the site is to increase occupancy in hotels, motels and other lodging facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county, which is an allowable usage of the county’s hotel occupancy tax fund.

The county advertised last year seeking someone to maintain the website but received no response.

Hemrick will develop the site at a cost of $10,000, with an annual cost of $20,000 for its maintenance. She said that she will be attending events throughout the county to keep the site updated with information for tourists.

Commissioners also approved a Texas Historical Commission document that grants the county’s permission for the placement of a historical marker.

In March, a representative of family members of Bragg Williams spoke to the court, saying that Williams was an intellectually disabled black man who was seized by a mob and burned on the courthouse square in 1919 after his murder conviction was appealed by his attorneys. The family is applying for a historical marker at the location.

The court voted to hold a public hearing on the addition of HCR 2134 in the Whitney area to the county’s road maintenance map. Known as “Big Jim’s Road,” the small stretch of road is a common shortcut between FM 933 and State Highway 22. Commissioner Larry Crumpton said that it has been maintained by the county in the past but is not on the county road map. Its addition will allow Crumpton to repair and maintain it.

A donation from Frontier Support Logistics (FSL) was approved by the court. The business offered to purchase drone software for the county in the amount of $2,376. Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Hemrick said that the software will allow law enforcement to view real-time video and share information during search operations.

A traffic control plan between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Hill County was reviewed for the GFNY bike race that is expected to travel through the county in the Aquilla area.

County Judge Justin Lewis said that the plan asks the county to agree to the temporary closure of state right of way, but he noted that the agreement lists the county as the requester that would be responsible for assuming any costs. The issue was tabled pending more information.

Commissioners approved a resolution regarding reporting requirements for the $7,118,639 that the county has been awarded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The federal government allows local governments receiving less than $10,000,000 in funding to use a standard allowance to calculate lost revenue due to the pandemic in lieu of calculating revenue with the U.S. Treasury’s formula. This simplifies and streamlines the reporting process for smaller entities.

The court also authorized the county judge to apply for a water meter from the City of Hillsboro for the new pens for estray livestock at the sheriff’s office.

The annual application allowing the sheriff’s office to continue its participation in the Texas Law Enforcement Support Office Program was approved. The program allows law enforcement agencies to receive surplus military equipment, including vehicles, safety equipment and limited weapons.

In other actions, the court observed and recorded the Child Protective Services board’s monthly treasurer’s report, declared computer hardware as salvage material to be sold through Kaddatz Auctioneering and approved transfer paperwork related to recent grants the county has received for new radios.

The court’s next regularly scheduled meeting is at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 24, at the Hill County Courthouse.

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