ANGLETON — With budget talks continuing this week, Brazoria County commissioners heard a similar need echoed by different departments — more personnel and manpower are necessary with a growing county.
County Judge Matt Sebesta previously said he and the commissioners are looking closely at personnel hires this year but that they do not plan to let departments suffer.
A pressing need officials from the Emergency Management department observed is a full-time recovery coordinator to oversee grant applications and assist with the immediate needs of residents in the aftermath of heavy flooding and storms.
A case study on natural disasters showed more local control to evaluate community needs would provide better solutions for residents affected by floods and storms, said Steve Rosa, coordinator for Emergency Management.
“Over the last four or five years, with the amount of floods we’ve had, I can understand the need to have someone dedicated to recovery,” Sebesta said at the meeting Tuesday.
Emergency Management officials said with a full-time recovery coordinator, the community would be more resilient going into the next disaster. Nearly two years after Harvey struck and displaced families, areas of the county remain in disrepair, officials said.
”If we do not get our citizens recovered, then we don’t have to have a plan,” Rosa said. “We won’t have to because we won’t have any citizens to take care of. The emphasis has to be on improving community.”
County Fire Marshal Martin Vela had concerns over the amount of time fire investigations take and requested two investigators be added to his staff.
”Our main focus is fire arsons and investigations. They’re the hardest crimes to prove and they take time,” he said during the budget meeting.
Vela also requested $30,000 for fire suppression protection throughout the county, including Angleton Library, where he said the systems need to be replaced within a few weeks.
Officials from Child Protective Services requested another full or part-time employee to help with organizing and collecting supplies during their busy season, which falls around the time school starts.
The commissioners wanted more information about what responsibilities fall to the county versus the state in regards to CPS and said they’ll work to address the needs of the department once those answers are found.
With business growth, the Texas Gulf Regional Airport is seeing more activity and asked the court for $60,000 for a second electro tug, a device that pulls aircraft on the runway.
”We’re seeing an increase in size and weight of aircraft being operated in and out of there,” said Jeff Bilyeu, director of aviation.
Bilyeu said as Houston continues to move toward Brazoria County, the airport is being used by businesses and for recreational purposes more often.
No action will be taken until the commissioners know the tax revenue for the upcoming year, Sebesta previously said.
The commissioners will meet next Monday at 9 a.m. at the Angleton County Courthouse to continue budget discussions.