The Williamson County Commissioners Court has approved $72.5 million in federal American Relief Act funding for multi-city water/sewage projects.
The court still has $5 million in federal aid funds left unallocated.
“Today is a historic day in Williamson County,” District Judge Bill Gravell said Tuesday. “Providing our residents with water resources must be a top priority. With the more than $70 million we’ve committed, we’re taking a big step toward ensuring our residents have access to water.”
The list of approved projects includes $14 million for an elevated storage tank and aqueduct construction for Jarrell and $14 million for aqueduct construction from FM 1660 to the Texas 130 tollway for Round Rock and Georgetown. Also included is $10 million for the reconstruction of a sewer line from US 79 to the Hutto Sewage Treatment Plant and $10 million for the construction of a water tank and aqueduct for the City of Florence.
Jarrell Mayor Larry Bush said the money will allow the city to bring water to new residential and commercial areas, both for fire safety and for drinking and cooking.
“Like all cities in Williamson County,” he said, “we’re going through very rapid growth.”
Florence Mayor Mary Condon said getting the money for the water projects is crucial for the city.
“We have three wells and a connection with the city of Georgetown for some extra water, but we’re always looking for more,” Condon said. “This will allow us to look at some projects to bring some much-needed water to the community.”
The approved fund also includes $5 million for a Brushy Creek Regional Utility Agency project for the towns of Round Rock, Cedar Park and Leander to replace a water intake structure on Lake Travis. Cedar Park will also receive $4 million from the county for various water system improvements, and Liberty Hill will receive $3.5 million for various water and sewer system improvements.
Leander receives $3.5 million for wastewater/water treatment projects and Taylor $2 million for various water and wastewater projects. Granger, Coupland, Thrall, Bartlett, and Weir each receive half a million dollars for various water and sanitation projects.
“Leander’s reclaimed water project will help the city of Leander strategically manage water needs in a high-growth area of the city,” said Ty Meighan, a city spokesman.
“The project will be an extension of the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant RM 2243, which will allow a specified volume of wastewater to be treated and distributed for non-potable purposes,” Meighan said. “When completed, the reclamation system could help reduce our drinking water needs by up to 600,00 gallons per day. … We anticipate that the reclaimed water will be used primarily for irrigation and industrial purposes.”
American Relief Act money may be used for water and sewage infrastructure, according to a Texas Association of Counties website.
Water-related projects approved by commissioners must be under construction by the end of 2024 and completed by the end of 2026 for federal funds to be used, Commissioner Valerie Covey said.
“We’ve talked about water for a long time, and as the county has grown it continues to be a big issue,” she said.
Funding for the projects approved Tuesday comes from the $114 million Williamson County received under the American Relief Act in spring 2021.
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Other projects that the district commissioners have allocated American Relief Act funds to since receiving American Relief Act funds include $16.8 million for mental health services and breast cancer prevention, $8.7 million for a district facility fiber optic project, $678,500 for renovation of prison boiler rooms; and $215,000 for new construction of generators for EMS stations; and $395,000 for a retrofit of the prison building’s automation system.
This also included $1.8 million for the expansion of the Children’s Advocacy Center, up to $1.2 million for three new crime prosecutors in the prosecution service and a civilian prosecutor for the prosecution service, and $250,000 for a visiting judge and a court clerk to assist with mental health cases at County Court-at-Law No. 4.
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The allocations also included $195,000 for a backup generator at the Central Texas Treatment Center in Granger, $71,690 to complete a new Liberty Hill location for adult probation services, $45,000 to complete the remodeling of a drop -off center to get people with mental illness out of prison and $55,000 to purchase COVID-19 tests for county employees.
In April, the commissioners also approved American Relief Act funds of $559,637 to hire two district court clerk specialists and a district court coordinator for the remainder of this year and in 2023 and 2024.