A short public hearing Tuesday in the Brown County Commissioners Court showed that there are numerous questions to be answered about the possible creation of a County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone (CETRZ).
Creating a CETRZ would allow the county to receive up to $303,000 in grant funds to repair roads damaged by oil field traffic.
It would also require a county match of 20 percent.
County Judge Ray West said it's anticipated that either Rep. Jim Keffer or someone from Keffer's office will be at the commissioners' next meeting, on Jan. 7, to provide clarification.
Former commissioner David Carroll asked if it's known how much creating a CETRZ would actually cost the county. Carroll quoted from a document stating that Brown County's revenue from oil and gas production in 2013 was just under $860,000 — .02 percent of the revenue for the entire state from that industry.
Answering one of Carroll's questions, West said the county would be able to use funds from the $1.5 million in tax notes, which the commissioners approved last summer for infrastructure repairs, for the county's 20 percent match.
West and commissioners also addressed the question of what happens to property taxes within a CETRZ. Joe Cooksey told commissioners any increase in appraised value would be taxed and placed in a tax increment financing, or TIF, fund.
Cooksey suggested that West and commissioners watch a webinar produced by Allison, Bass and Associates, the Austin law firm commissioners have retained to assist in the creation of a CETRZ if commissioners decide to create one.
"I would say there's a number of unanswered questions," Cooksey told commissioners.
If commissioners do decide to create a CETRZ, that won't happen until 30 days have passed from Tuesday's public hearing, according to the agenda for Tuesday's meeting.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation's website, a CERTZ is a tool created by 2007 legislation for developing and financing transportation projects. A local governing body designates a zone in which it will promote a transportation project. Once the zone is created, a base year is established and the incremental increase in property tax revenue collected inside the zone is used to finance a project in the zone.