Breckenridge Texan

County Commissioners set fines for unapproved road crossings, receive AgriLife Extension report

County Commissioners set fines for unapproved road crossings, receive AgriLife Extension report
February 09
12:27 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

In their meeting Monday morning, Feb. 8, Stephens County Commissioners created a new penalty system for anyone who crosses a county road with a pipeline or other installation without first getting permission from the county and paying the required fee. Additionally, they agreed to continue assisting the local senior meals program, heard the AgriLife Extension’s annual report and reinstated the burn ban.

Road Crossings

Precinct 1 Commissioner David Fambro proposed changes to the county road crossing requirements to include fines for businesses or individuals that fail to get permission prior to boring under a county road for the purpose of laying pipeline of any kind.

The fee for such crossings is $500, and Fambro proposed that fines for violators be assessed in three tiers: $1,000 for the first violation, $1,500 for the second violation and $2,000 for the third violation. After that, the county will likely seek legal action against the violator for destroying government property.

Additionally, Fambro requested that the County’s road crossing requirements be amended to specifically state that the fees and fines assessed for such crossings remain in the precinct in which the crossing occurs. “That makes the most sense, because if the road is in that precinct, then the funds need to go back to that precinct to fix it,” he said.

The commissioners approved the changes and then approved three proposed road crossings for gas pipelines and one for a fiber optic cable.

AgriLife Extension

Sumer Russell, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Agent for Stephens County, gave her annual report on the local extension program.

In 2020, the AgriLife Extension service provided two major programs in Stephens County, Walk Across Texas for adults and Learn Grow Eat Go for children.

Walk Across Texas is an eight-week exercise program that encourages participants to exercise at least 30 minutes a day and to eat a healthful diet. The kids’ program included building a garden at South Elementary. (Click here to read the Breckenridge Texan article about the South garden.)

Russell said the Extension service will continue to offer both programs in 2021 and will add a new program, Freezer Friends, which will offer frozen meals and nutritional information for participants. The cost of the freezer program is $40 per month; to sign up, visit the “Healthy Living in Stephens County” Facebook page or call Russell at 254-559-2313.

Senior Services

Chris Curtis, Director of Business Development for Stephens Memorial Hospital, addressed the Commissioners Court about the local

Chris Curtis, with Stephens Memorial Hospital, talks to the county commissioners about the senior services that the hospital took over last year. (Photo by Carla McKeown/ Breckenridge Texan)

senior citizens services that the hospital took over last year after the City of Breckenridge closed down the Senior Citizens Center.

Curtis focused on the meal delivery program that provides meals to home-bound elderly residents in Breckenridge and parts of Stephens County. The program provides the meals of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while the local Meals on Wheels program delivers meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those who live outside the hospital’s delivery area may pick up meals at the hospital on those days.

In the seven months since SMH took over the senior services, the program has grown from delivering 37 meals a day to 86 meals a day, Curtis said. The increase in the number of people receiving the meals has increased the costs for the program. Although he has applied for some grants and has received some donations for the program, Curtis requested that the Commissioners Court continue with the interlocal agreement between the County and SMG, providing $2,000 a month in assistance, for another six months.

The commissioners approved the request unanimously.

Burn Ban

On the advice of Stephens County Fire Marshal Calvin Chaney, the commissioners agreed to reinstate the county-wide burn ban.

The ban will prohibit all outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Stephens County, There are a few exceptions to the ban, including approved prescribed burns.

Other business

In other business, the county commissioners:

  • Approved the purchase of a new pickup for the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office
  • Opened and accepted bids for crushed rock and road materials
  • Opened and accepted bids for fuel

    Stephens County Sheriff Kevin Roach addresses the Commissioners Court on Monday, Feb. 8, about the need for a new pickup for the Sheriff’s Office. (Photo by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Stephens County Extension Agent Sumer Russell gives her annual report of the AgriLife Extension service to the Commissioners Court. She discussed the Walk Across Texas program and the garden project at South Elementary. (Photo by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan)

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