Lilly's topics include money, COVID in State of the County address
EARLY — Brown County Judge Paul Lilly touched on several topics at his State of the County address Thursday evening, hosted by the Pecan Valley Republican Women's Club at the Early Visitors and Event Center.
Lilly noted that he last gave a State of the County address in 2019, but the event was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID.
Lilly began by crediting the work of "outstanding and dedicated" elected county officials and employees “who work hard to follow their hearts and make the right decisions," Lilly said. " We don’t always agree politically but that doesn’t matter. What we always agree on is that we are all doing what we feel is the right thing to do for the county.
“I think it’s important that you see how hard your county government works for you, and it is indeed a team effort. There are five of us that make up the commissioners court, and we, most of the time, do vote together but sometimes we have differences in perspective of the way we see things, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Lilly spoke of the work of the two grant coordinators in his office — first Bob Contreras, who recently resigned to work for the Brookesmith school district, and now Pat McLaughlin III.
Lilly said the county has received, or is scheduled to receive, just over $9.2 million from various sources including state grants, the Coronavirus Relief Fund and the American Rescue Plan. Uses of those funds have included:
• $420,000 for road improvements.
• $30,000 to COVID drive-through vaccination clinics.
• 63,000 to the Heath Department.
• Nearly $800,000 to water systems.
• $175,000 to transfer the Brown County Water Improvement District lift station to the hospital electrical grid to prevent losing power in the event of another severe winter storm.
• Funds were distributed to the Center for Life Resources, the Brownwood Public Library and nonprofits.
• Funds were also used to sanitize the courthouse.
Lilly said the county has received $30,000 in unclaimed capital credits.
Speaking briefly on the tax rates and budgets of current and previous years, Lilly said the budget has been balanced and the tax rates have not been raised.
Lilly also spoke briefly about COVID and called for a moment of silence to honor the more than 200 deaths that have occurred in Brown County. Lilly said just under 43 percent of Brown County is vaccinated against COVID, and he hopes the rate will exceed 50 percent.
“If you want to take the vaccination, that’s wonderful, but that is your choice," Lilly said. "The government doesn’t really have any business telling you, forcing you, to take the vaccination. I recommend it."