Val Verde County Commissioners Court

Carl Esser, third from left, Val Verde County’s grants administrator, presents a check for $1 million to members of Val Verde County Commissioners Court, from left, Commissioner Pct. 1 Martin Wardlaw, Commissioner Pct. 2 Juan Carlos Vazquez, County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr., Commissioner Pct. 3 Beau Nettleton and Commissioner Pct. 4 Gustavo “Gus” Flores.

Val Verde County officials recently accepted $1 million in a state grant for continued work on water line improvements.

“Since 2011, we’ve usually split anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million amongst the precincts (in grant money). Usually it’s been Precinct 1, because they’ve gotten the most money for the water line to the Escondido Estates area, coming from just west of Laughlin Air Force Base to Escondido Estates, which is just east of the base, the pressure tank that was built there and everything else,” Val Verde County Judge Lewis G. Owens Jr. said Monday.

He noted the county also has worked on water line improvements in Comstock, in Cienegas Terrace and in Val Verde Park Estates.

Val Verde County, he said, has a water line project in the works almost every year.

“I think in 2012, was the first time the county crews had ever laid a water line, and that was in Precinct 2, which was my precinct at the time, in the San Felipe Pastures area out on Paisano Road, and after that, Commissioner Pct. 4 (Gustavo) Flores laid his water line and the reason we began using county crews was that we wanted to use the grant money for more materials, more pipe,” Owens said.

He said county crews also laid water lines in Escondido Estates and dug the water line along U.S. Highway 90 that would connect city water lines to the rural subdivision east of the Air Force base.

Owens noted all of the county’s other water lines have passed inspection by the city, and county officials are now waiting on city officials to give approval on the Escondido Estates lines. “The water line in Escondido, we had some issues at the very beginning, with not allowing city of Del Rio inspectors to be on-site all the time, so that was one of those deals where it sort of hindered us from getting the rest of it done. When I became county judge in January of last year, I asked Commissioner Pct. 1 (Martin) Wardlaw if he needed some help with that, and he said, yes, so since March of last year to now, we’ve probably had about three meetings with city officials, and they’ve given us what they believed needed to happen, the testing and everything.

“We’ve had that done. We are waiting right now for the city manager to get back with us and tell us if anything else is needed to be able to turn the water line on,” Owens said.

He said the Escondido project currently represents about 60 water customers.

Owens said there are three projects that will split the most recent $1 million Texas Community Development Block Grant: to loop and connect the water lines in Escondido Estates in Precinct 1, to loop a water line in Precinct 2 along Paisano and Benita Lanes, which will extend water to State Loop 79 and in Precinct 4, to extend water lines along Vega Verde Road.

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