The Navarro County Commissioners Court will meet at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the basement conference room to discuss a recent meeting with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and how federal dollars might be made available to help the county fund repairs to roads damaged by spring and summer rains.

County officials had requested help from FEMA earlier in the year, but lacked a disaster declaration that included Navarro County to qualify. Representatives from ORCA, the Office of Rural Community Affairs, visited the county last month and county leaders began pursuing aid in the amount of $350,000 through that agency to put towards roads, though that number pales in comparison to actual damage done.

Of concern to the county now is the possibility of FEMA funds, a portion of which county officials will have to match with local dollars. That could be a problem for an already tight budget, one that leaves a general fund balance of about $1.6 million. That’s down about $900,000 from what the county expects the current fiscal year to end up at, and far short of the $3 million leaders would like to see in that fund at the end of the 2007/08 fiscal year.

Wednesday’s meeting will focus on the FEMA opportunities, and ways the county may be able to fund some or all of its share should federal dollars be allotted for clean-up and repair of roads. Much study remains to be done by FEMA to determine what aid, if any, Navarro County could qualify for, and exactly what strings would be attached to those dollars.

Commissioners have a busy month ahead of them, with another meeting set for 10 a.m. Thursday, also to be held in the basement conference room. Thursday’s meeting is the first of two meetings required to finalize the budget for the upcoming year. Commissioners and County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. will discuss the county’s proposed tax rate and the 2007/08 budget during the Thursday meeting, and again at the court’s regular meeting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 10. Public hearings will be held at both meetings. A full agenda for the Sept. 10 meeting is not yet available.

Final action on the budget and tax rate for the coming year will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 13 in another special called meeting. A public hearing will be held on the budget prior to the commissioners final vote on the spending plan, followed by adoption of the tax rate and budget for the coming fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

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Bob Belcher may be reached via e-mail at belcher@corsicanadailysun.com

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