A grant funded through the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission solid waste grants program could allow Brown County to hire an environmental officer.

Brown County Commissioners met for a special called meeting Thursday and unanimously approved a resolution to apply for the $50,241.97 grant. Deadline for the application is July 7, but the special meeting was called for the discussion and approval of making the application so there would be plenty of time for the application to be completed.

Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs said, “We get lots of calls, because people dump old tires and other trash in ditches and along the road. We take care of it, and we respond to those calls, but it would help us a lot if we had an officer in charge of these environmental concerns.”

In an interview following the meeting, Grubbs said the environmental officer could investigate abandoned properties.

“Those old empty houses, people go in those and manufacture drugs, this officer could get some of that stopped, and that would help everybody,” Grubbs said.

Sheriff’s Capt. Ellis Johnson, who researched the grant and was doing most of the paperwork, said he would deliver the application today. Johnson said it would likely be August before they know if Brown County will receive the grant, and October or so before it’s funded.

The $50,241.97 will cover a $28,000 salary for one year, plus special training for the officer and administration of the grant.

Johnson told commissioners his understanding was the grant would fully fund the officer and training for one year. Precinct 1 Commissioner Steve Adams replied that typically with such a grant, the officer’s salary is fully funded for one year, then 80 percent the next, 60, 40 and so on — “until it’s time to reapply for the grant.”

Once before, Brown County had received a grant for an environmental officer, but since had applied and been denied.

“This one might get denied too, but it would be a big help if we do get it,” Johnson said. “It makes sense to apply, at least.”