Jones Creek sign

JONES CREEK — With drainage improvement plans moving, Jones Creek Village is ready to begin preparing for hurricane season.

Council unanimously agreed on drainage improvement for the village during a meeting Tuesday, following updates from Drainage Liaison Corey Thomas.

“The county is considering ditching Stephen F. Austin Road, but the worst-case scenario we came up with is 756 feet of pipe, with the majority of those being 24 inches, which is $20.75 a foot, and there were a few 18 inches, which was $17,” Thomas said. “So, we are looking at between $14,000 and $20,000, and that includes the road crossings, and there are only two of those, right at Robin Hood and just east of city hall.”

There’s a plan of action to regrade Steven F. Austin and replace the culverts that need to be replaced in order to solve the issue of water holding along the street, drainage committee member Joel Switzer said.

“We have some drainage issues here, and this is part of the attempts to solve one of the major drainage issues that we have here,” Switzer said. “And they have already done a lot of other work to get to the point where they could grade off Stephen F. Austin where the water could go off properly.”

The village had a ditch system that wasn’t big enough, he said.

“They are enlarging the size of the ditch going out to accept an additional influx of water,” Switzer said.

More than likely, he said, the draining project will begin at the school on the south side of Stephen F. Austin road, and go up, just over a mile. There is no set date on when the project will start.

“I think we are supposed to meet with the higher-ups next week,” Thomas said. “So, towards the school, they are going to have some pretty deep ditches, just on the south side of the road.”

Planning for the north side of the road began Wednesday morning, he said.

Aldermwoman Nicole Hardesty asked if the city will fund the project.

“Is this being paid for by the county, or is this a proposal for us to pay?” Hardesty asked.

Thomas, said the city will supply the equipment and manpower, adding that drainage updates must be maintained.

“You can never say that this one project will fix everything, but it will overall improve our drainage,” he said.

The idea of the ditch is not to completely drain out all of the water, he said, because if a ditch has water, that’s not a problem.

“Saturday night, when we had quite a bit of rain, the ditches had quite a bit of water in them, but the outfalls and the ditches were doing what they were supposed to,” Thomas said.

Homes need to allow more space for drainage, Alderman Glenn Jordan said.

“Some of these homes also need to be more responsible with keeping clean,” Jordan said. “We just need to get this project going, and get bids for engineering.”

Jordan asked Mayor Gordon Schlemmer to purchase the pipes needed to move the city’s drainage project forward.

“I don’t know how much they are, but that needs to be done pretty quick,” Jordan said.

The board of aldermen unanimously agreed to move forward with all purchases needed for the project.

“Thank you Rocky and Corey and Glenn for all that you guys are doing,” Hardesty said.

The board unanimously agreed to extend the mayor’s declaration of local disaster, as was needed in order to continue receiving federal funds, Schlemmer said.

“In order to receive the aid we need, we need to extend it,” Schlemmer said. “This will be extended to the next city council meeting.”

The aldermen unanimously agreed that Centerpoint Energy would fund repairs to all damages to Wendon Road and Smith Road during the Bailey-Jones Creek 345kV transmission line project.

“This is standard verbiage for this type of agreement,” Schlemmer said. “So it’s my understanding that Centerpoint intends to refund all used funds.”

The city is seeking grant-writing services, and ultimately decided to allow staff to go through grant-writing training in the meantime.

Alderman Justin Wright suggested that a grant writer could be paid per successful grant proposal, he said.

“If we could find somebody as a 1099 contract worker, and then they are only paid if they produce, and then get paid x-amount of dollars per grant that we want to pursue, and then x-amount of dollars if the grant is approved, that would work,” Wright said.

Schlemmer would rather get somebody accredited to do that work, he said.

“I’m ready to do what’s needed to get these grants,” Schlemmer said.

Alexa Crenshaw is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0155.

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