Medina County discusses $850K study
for new “loop” around Castroville

The Medina County Commissioner’s Court met for their regular meeting on July 14, discussing a variety of important issues including proposals for the Castroville Loop to ease traffic due to the booming growth there.
The County Commissioners discussed the need for notice of any surcharge on countywide bids, prior to accepting any bid. All agreed this would enable discussion of the surcharge before any bids are accepted. All members voted to approve this proposal.

Commissioners proposed and accepted a $508,000 purchase of vehicles from Caldwell County Chevrolet. Judge Schuchart stated this dealership has eight cars on their lot returned by another county that are ready to go. They are outfitted and do not need additional equipment. Jerry Beck inquired why these vehicles can’t be purchased locally and it was discussed.
The county approved the accounts payable presented by the Treasurer of $3.1 million. Included in the payables was $2.1 million used to purchase the bank building in Hondo.
Judy Clark with the Medina County Republican party asked to be put on the next commissioner’s court agenda. She requested that Medina County join Kenny, Goliad, Maverick, and several other counties, in a Declaration of Local Disaster (border crisis) to protect Medina County. “There is a template to use for simple filing” she stated. As of “July 11th from the invasion of the border there have been 3.2 million illegal immigrants apprehended, 800,000 are unaccounted for per Clark.
There were several supporting her request who also spoke at the meeting. Linda Hook stated that she “had 15 illegal immigrants invade her personal property”. She was in lockdown for three hours.
“You need to support the Border patrol, we are being invaded. We were held captive in our house; the neighbors had to tell us what was going on because we could not look out our windows,” Hook said.
Mona Lynn Walters added to Clark’s request for protection. She reported that local “deputies have been very responsive and we appreciate them.” Living close to the railroad tracks she has witnessed some “very interesting roundups,” she added.
There was some discussion on the Castroville Loop design proposal. The City of Castroville and the county would be sharing the cost of this project, along with developers. Jerry Beck asked if TXDOT was being considered on this item. It was noted that TXDOT has been considered but they require too much right of way. This new loop would allow vehicles to bypass the stop lights in town as HWY 90 coming through Castroville has become very congested. This is still in the planning stages.
In a short interview after the meeting, Judge Schuchart explained, “The engineering study alone will cost $850,000, and that cost will be shared by the county, the city, and developers will also be pitching in. This is the first step, and we won’t know the actual cost of construction until we get this engineering study done.”
“Construction of the first part of the loop from Hwy 90 to 471 N will hopefully start in the next 2-3 years,” Schuchart adds. “In the last five years, Hwy 90 is almost like a parking lot at certain times of the day. We’ve had westbound traffic backed up for a couple of miles. It’s a growing issue for years, and when you start seeing more and more developments on the other side of Castroville, it’s going to get worse. There are a lot of people who travel back and forth to San Antonio to work, to go to doctor’s, to do all kinds of business, and not all of them want to stop in Castroville. The whole Hwy 90 corridor will benefit from the new loop.”
Beck proposed fuel for the county is purchased and stored in one precinct (Precinct 4) possibly allowing a better price on fuel purchases. A tracking system of fuel usage would be needed so that Precinct 4 is reimbursed by other precincts.
Electricity was switched to Texas Electric Energy for Precinct 4. The agreement with TEE will continue through 7-1-2022
The petition of Earl Mangold, Jr and Nancy Mangold passed unanimously to allow the creation of Haby Farms Public Improvement District. This will cover approximately 102.486 acres. The total cost is estimated at $16,000,000 that will be paid by assessments levied on the Property within the District. The County will not be obligated to provide any funds to finance the Authorized Improvements, other than from assessments levied on the Property in the District. The District will be managed by the County. The Developer intends to develop the Property for single-family and residential, and associated infrastructure and public improvements.
Commissioners all agreed to approve a contract with Xerox for 1 copy machine to be supplied to the Devine Tax Office and also 1 to the Medina County Health Unit.
Some change orders on the construction of the Courthouse Annex and Jail addition were discussed. A $21,000 change was requested by contractor. A sewer line was not complete. It stops at the end of the slab. County declined the change and said they will allow a change order of $3,000 for materials instead of the requested $21,000.
Another change order was concerning a large amount of dirt left from construction of the jail house. The removal of the dirt would need to be bid out. Jerry Beck offered to take equipment over from his precinct to complete this job. He did suggest that using equipment from a closer precinct would be cost effective. Money was not approved for this job and it was agreed that they would work this out.

By Linda Calame