I approved the purchase of a drone for the County to purchase for emergency services. The Fire Marshall convinced me that the use an unmanned aircraft (drone) with video capability can be very valuable to fire fighting and emergency needs. It can also be used by the sheriffs office for day and night search and rescue operations. This could involve lost children or escaped prisoners. It will be used for reviewing the condition of the Atascosa River Bed, emergency situations involving closed roads or downed bridges. Also, flood situations and impact on public safety can be aided by this bird. The operators are County Attorney Investigator James Boyd and Fire Marshall Todd Perna. They will be licensed and trained to operate and will make sure the sheriffs department has someone licensed and trained. The Fire Marshall, Todd Perna, believes the drone will allow the fire departments to see where the hotspots are and problem areas, particularly in grass and brush fires. It also, the Fire Marshall believes, will help in identifying where a fire started.
The drone has clear operating guidelines both in county guidelines and in FAA guidelines. There are notifications involved if flying in a five (5) mile radius of the Pleasanton Airport. That radius basically includes all the City of Pleasanton and the City of Jourdanton. So, to summarize the drones Mission areas are: Day and might search and rescue operations, firefighting support, emergency management support and county-wide law enforcement support. It will be another tool for your county to do a good job for you.
By the time you read this, I will be back from attending some hearings at the State Capitol. I am attending a hearing on the county tax modification by the State Senate. I go in support of the Texas Association of Counties efforts on behalf of all 254 counties in Texas. And, the more I learn about the state laws on property tax makes me very frustrated by the way very large property owners get exemptions. It leaves small business owners and homeowners picking up the property tax tab when these special interests get cut deals by the legislature. I promise I will have done my best, with the Lords help, to represent Atascosa County in a quality way. I always ask God to give me the right words and thoughts in my job as your County Judge.
Thanks for listening. We want you to be proud of your County Government.
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.