San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 15th, 2011
Hays officials to consider cutting off clean air group

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UPDATE 6:20 p.m. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17:

Hays County Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to discontinue the county’s membership with the Clean Air Force of Central Texas.

“CAPCOG (Capital Area Council of Governments) is already doing air quality for us,” said Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones (R-Kyle). “It’s kind of like when we got out of Envision (Central) Texas. It was because of a duplication of services — we didn’t need two different groups doing the same thing. It seemed like a way of being better stewards with the county’s money.”

Jones said the court’s withdrawal from membership with Envision Central Texas on June 14 did not occur due to pressure from local conservatives. All three members of the public who addressed the court about ETC on June 14 are conservatives and supported the county’s withdrawal from ECT. San Marcos Area Republican Texans (SMART) Vice President Shawn Blakeley was among those three.

“The reason we got out of Envision (Central )Texas wasn’t because of any pressure from any outside sources, it was just that it was a duplication of services — regional planning (services) — that we were getting from CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization), CAPCOG, and other organizations. Again, being good stewards of money, not paying for duplication of services.”

STAFF REPORT

Hays County Judge Bert Cobb and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant are asking commissioners to reconsider the county’s financial support of the Clean Air Force of Central Texas.

The county budgeted a $6,500 contribution to Clean Air Force in fiscal year 2011, and the nonprofit group has requested the same amount in fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1.

The commissioners court will consider the matter at its Aug. 16, meeting which begins at 9 a.m. The court will also consider approving the proposed FY 2012 budget.

In June, under pressure from local conservatives, the Republican-majority Hays County Commissioners Court ended its formal association with a nonprofit, sustainable growth-oriented organization called Envision Central Texas (ECT). The county made annual membership contributions of about $15,000 to ECT since 2007.

Clean Air Force Executive Director Deanna Altenhoff sent a funding request letter to Hays County Judge Bert Cobb on March 28.

According to Altenhoff, the Clean Air Force administers projects that include the Ozone Alert Program, a phone hotline and email list used to alert residents when the region’s air quality is likely to reach unhealthy levels; a discount program for electric lawnmowers, blowers and trimmers; a private shuttle service for area employers; and a program to retrofit and replace school buses with new models.

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3 thoughts on “Hays officials to consider cutting off clean air group

  1. I know the judge is a medical doctor, but do any of the other commissioners have any formal education above high school? This seems like something any educated person would support. without this watchdog group looking after our air, Hay County could be subject to emissions testing like Travis County. Breakout your checkbooks car inspections are about to double. Please fund this group or all car owners will have to pay more each year, so much for not raising taxes.

  2. “According to Altenhoff, the Clean Air Force administers projects that include the Ozone Alert Program, a phone hotline and email list used to alert residents when the region’s air quality is likely to reach unhealthy levels; a discount program for electric lawnmowers, blowers and trimmers; a private shuttle service for area employers; and a program to retrofit and replace school buses with new models.”

    That ain’t bad for $6,500. Just saying.

  3. Thank you for the staff report. I attending the meeting, after reading the news article, my first attendance in a couple of years. And, spoke out to keep the funding. I just found out they voted 5 to 0 to keep the funding. Thank you to our elected officials for keeping this program, which is very important for air quality in Central Texas.
    Sincerely, LM Coppoletta

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