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County Commissioners Extend Burn Ban

Comal County Commissioners Court.

Comal County commissioners at their weekly meeting today voted to extend the 90-day burn ban, which was set to automatically expire next Wednesday.

“We got some rain somewhere we needed it, but not countywide,” said County Fire Marshal Kory Klabunde, adding the county remains at around 677 on the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI).

The normal threshold for enacting a burn ban is 500 on the KBDI.

Commissioners also approved a $150,000 grant application to the Texas Veterans Commission for the 2020-21 Veterans Treatment Court, which will serve 30 Comal County veterans this year.

Funds will be used to hire a probation officer assigned solely to the court.

Also at this morning’s meeting, commissioners signed off on a $129,533 grant award to support the salary of a crime-victim liaison in Comal County under the Victims of Crime Act.

They also declared Oct. 23-31 Red Ribbon Week to encourage Comal County residents to wear red ribbons to promote a drug-free America.

During their workshop agenda, commissioners heard from Comal County Conservation Alliance President Elizabeth Bowerman, who urged the county to follow Hays County’s example and work to purchase and preserve part of the El Rancho Cima property on the scenic Devil’s Backbone.

Hays County is working with Nature Conservancy to purchase part of the former Boy Scout Ranch on FM 32 using $10 million in bond money set aside for conservation.

Hays County Commissioner Lon Shell wants to use the land to create a 500-acre natural area and park along the Blanco River.

Bowerman said two tracts of 335 and 275 acres are still available for purchase, both of which are prime habitat for the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler — exactly the type of property described for a preserve in Comal County’s Regional Habitat Conservation Plan.

“Preserving this part of the Guadalupe-Blanco watershed would also protect and feed the Edwards Aquifer and provide flood control for downstream areas,” she said.

The purchase would also promote tourism in Comal County due to the Devil’s Backbone’s famed scenery, Bowerman said.

“There are ways to make this possible that would cost the county very little compared to the benefits it would provide us,” she said. “We believe the citizens of Comal County would support using taxpayer funds to take advantage of this unique opportunity. It won’t come again. If this property is bought by a developer it’s gone, and that would be a shame.”

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