Gray County Commissioners discuss Co. Rd. 3 project, combining dispatchers


John Lee

The Gray County Commissioners met on Monday afternoon for an emergency meeting due to a time constraint on a number of the items, including a project on County Road 3 and COVID-19 funding.

The first two items addressed concerned the aforementioned County Road 3 project, which is an undertaking the County needs to do to allow a business to use the road for trucking needs.

“We’ve got a preliminary estimate of $600,000 to rebuild that road and this TIF (Transportation Infrastructure Fund) Grant came up out of nowhere, they’ve never applied for this before and it’s basically for roads that have been degraded through oilfield use,” Porter said. “We applied for a change in that so we can use it for agriculture and they approved it so we’re in the final steps to get applied for that grant.”

As part of the process, Gray County is going through Allison, Bass and Magee Law Firm to aid in filing for the grant. The cost to the County is five percent of the grant.

“We’ve never tried to get one of these grants before and they have expertise in applying for these grants,” Porter said. “They will hold our hands through it and I’m not crazy about us spending $10,000 to do that. 

“But it’s the grant money to pay that. It’s an 80-20 matching grant so we’d have to kick in $40,000 in road construction cost to be able to do that. But it’s our tax dollars we pay in (to the state/federal/etc.), so if we don’t go after them they go to someone else.”

The Commissioners approved both the contract with Allison, Bass and Magee Law Firm for TIF Grant Funding and Kimley Horn as the consultant for County Road 3 refurbishment with County Judge as Signatory.

The next item approved was a CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funding for Perry Lefors Airport.

“They have made available $69,000 Perry Lefors Airport that has to be spent there,” Porter said. “It’s a part of the round of funding that came around a month ago for relief. There is some areas there that we can spend some money on.”

This grant has no match and the County is still working on what projects they will address with this funding. 

Lastly, the Commissioners approved for Porter and County Attorney Josh Seabourn to begin negotiating with the City of Pampa about combining the Pampa Police/Pampa Emergency and Gray County Sheriff’s Office dispatch offices.

“This a win-win for the City of Pampa and Gray County,” Porter said. “The number one priority we’ve got is to make sure our citizens and our officers/deputies are safe. 

“At times we’ve had lag issues between the City of Pampa dispatch and Gray County dispatch and it’s really not anybody’s fault. You are overwhelmed with calls there. You don’t get to choose when the calls come.”

The two entities are exploring the possibility of putting all of the dispatchers under the umbrella of the City of Pampa and the County would provide an annual stipend to the City to pay for the positions.

“They would be able to dispatch anything in Gray County (Lefors Fire Department, McLean Fire Department, our ambulance service, Pampa Fire Department, Hoover Volunteer Fire Department, Pampa Police, Texas DPS and Gray County Deputies) from inside the City of Pampa dispatch,” Porter said. 

“To me it’s a home run because it generates a cost savings for the Sheriff’s Office, but we will be paying the City of Pampa to take on those services.”

Porter said they are still in the preliminary stages of the negotiations so the financial details still needs to be hammered out, but ultimately this is a good thing for the citizens of Pampa and Gray County.

“We are anticipating an extremely shortened call time because we have two dispatchers in the same place,” Porter said. “We will have two dispatchers at the same desk and they will know where every officer/deputy is in the County. When you have that call come in right now, Pampa has to dispatch to Gray County, Gray County has to find the deputy and then reply back to Pampa PD about where they’re at and what the response time is while Pampa PD is dispatching fire, ambulance and their officers.

“Having them in the same room, same desk and shared technology will be a huge home run.”

Porter added this is just an example of the synergistic relationship between Pampa and Gray County.  

“It’s just another example of the City of Pampa and Gray County working together,” Porter said. “This is a enjoyable thing to be able to have good conversations between the City of Pampa and Gray County on how we can help each other out. 

The next regularly-scheduled meeting for Gray County will be on Monday, June 2 at 9 a.m.

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