Commissioner Staples Awards Federal Disaster Relief Grants to Areas Affected by Drought, Wildfire

To provide continued support for Texas cities and counties still recovering from last year’s historic drought and destructive wildfires, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today announced $1.4 million in federal disaster relief grants will be awarded to Bastrop County and the cities of Florence, Llano and Seymour. All funds are made available through the federal Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG).

“Last year, Texas was challenged not only by the worst single-year drought in state history, but also by the most destructive wildfire season we’ve ever seen,” Commissioner Staples said. “Through grit and perseverance our communities are starting to heal. These funds will assist with the rebuilding effort as they allow local leaders to develop the best strategies and solutions for building the infrastructure needed to prevent or diminish the effects of future disasters.”

The three cities and Bastrop County will each receive a $350,000 grant. Bastrop County will use the grant to fund recovery projects related to the Bastrop County Complex Fire. The grants for Florence, Llano and Seymour will fund drought-related projects. Currently, more than half the state continues to suffer from some degree of drought.

TDA administers the federal CDBG relief grants to provide financial assistance to eligible communities named in a disaster declaration by the governor or the president. The funds can be used to restore infrastructure damaged by natural disasters or, in the case of drought, to install new facilities that resolve a primary drinking water supply shortage.

The city of Florence will use its grant to improve the city’s drinking water supplies, which were limited during the severe drought. The funds will help install a new water line, metering station, four chlorination stations, an underground tank and a water management and monitoring system.

Llano will use its grant to develop three alluvial/rock cropping shallow wells that will pump water to an upstream reservoir. Construction of the well will include installation of a new four- to six-inch water line.

Seymour will use its grant to rework idle wells that have struggled with depleting groundwater levels. Funds will pay for the installation of a transmission line to the local water treatment plant and pay for the construction of new water lines and pumps for existing wells.

Bastrop County will utilize the funds to remove debris, replenish vegetation and improve drainage in areas impacted by last year’s wildfires.

Counties eligible for CDBG program funds must have populations of less than 200,000 residents. Eligible cities must have populations of less than 50,000 residents. The CDBG program serves approximately 1,017 eligible rural communities, 245 eligible rural counties and provides services to more than 375,000 low- to moderate-income beneficiaries each year.