Comal County Expected to Approve Opioid Regulation | Community alert

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At a meeting on Tuesday prior to an expected and extended Christmas holiday weekend, Comal County Commissioners will consider a resolution approving the county’s part in a nationwide settlement in an opioid litigation and select an offer from a company to resolve the proposed mental health complex Design County Health.

Comal County is one of several counties entitled to the Texas stake – $ 290 million – from drug titan Johnson & Johnson and other defendants, Attorney General Ken Paxton said they were responsible for oversupplying Bringing opioids into the state at a time that ended in 2016.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Williamson County commissioners approved his $ 314,000 stock in late November. District Judge Sherman Krause said Comal will receive around $ 500,000 in total from Janssen, Johnson & Johnson and other companies on Friday.

The statesman said the 2019 lawsuit accused companies of fraudulently marketing, selling and distributing prescription opioids, such as oxycontin, which caused “addiction, criminal activity and loss of life.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an agreement with Johnson & Johnson in October to settle opioid-related lawsuits, the Statesman reported, with 70% going to state opioid control programs overseen by the Texas Opioid Council, it says in the agreement.

The newspaper said the settlement will provide $ 6.3 million to Williamson, who filed her lawsuit for the years ending in 2016 but recorded nine opioid deaths in 2019. Krause said he was unaware of Comal County’s opioid deaths in the same time periods, but said commissioners take the comparison into account based on the county’s population.

The commissioners postponed an amendment order last Thursday that will delay the completion of the nationwide radio system project from mid-spring to the end of summer. Approved in 2018, the Comal County Wide Radio System Project will deploy new towers and equipment to connect cities, emergency service districts, and school districts across the district.

Motorola change orders and radio tower leases – which the county plans to own upon completion of the project – added more than $ 650,000 to the $ 5 million total. Sheriff Mark Reynolds and Precinct 2 Commissioner Scott Haag should meet with Motorola officials on Friday or earlier this week.

The approval of the current order does not cause any additional costs, but extends the contractually agreed completion date from December 31 to July 31, 2022. As a tower location in Bulverde has not yet been completed, the district has to change its long-term lease for a nearby location in January extend another year; with a monthly rate of over $ 3,000 for the next 12 months, which Commissioners believe is unnecessary.

The commissioners received several inquiries from companies designing the establishment of the county’s expanded mental health / emergency housing unit planned on the corner of Loop 337 and Interstate 35 across from the renovated CCSO and the new prison.

Krause said the county hopes to mirror its facility like one in Austin, which cost roughly $ 5 million six years ago. Higher construction costs, he said, will bring Comal’s total closer to $ 7 million to $ 9 million.

Funding for this, renovation of the Goodwin public health and emergency preparedness annex, improvements to Kleck and Curry County Parks and Canyon Lake boat ramps, will consume most of the $ 30.8 million Comal through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The county is likely to postpone approval of job descriptions for three positions related to the ARPA administration until December 30th. Krause said the first two legal advice and procurement specialists will be filled with Comal’s ARPA administrator next spring in January.

The ARPA committee from Krause, Haag, District Attorney Jennifer Tharp, Treasurer Renee Couch, Engineer Tom Hornseth, Purchasing Manager Ramona Womack, Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelley and Director of Public Health, Cheryl Fraser, have already achieved most of the goals in recommending the projects . These are the ones that affect most residents while at the same time improving public health, law enforcement and emergency response efforts, and or have been identified as prior needs exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, commissioners accepted a $ 1,000 donation to the Comal County’s K-9 program and approved modified lots that combine lots in parts of the Canyon Lake Hills and Canyon Lake Estates subdivisions (another lot on the agenda was withdrawn by the submitting party).

The commissioners also approved a US $ 136,000 grant application under the Help America Vote Act 2020 for security improvements in elections; authorized purchases of firearms owned by the county by two outgoing CCSO MPs; and appointed one person to be the Unpaid Deputy Police Officer of District 1.

Commissioners met at a meeting of the executive branch and stepped out to deny HDR Architecture Inc.’s request for additional compensation for renovating downtown buildings.

For months, the county and the company responsible for designing all four major county projects have been arguing over compensation for extra hours caused by design changes and delays – natural or otherwise. This resulted in a revised payment scheme for the company that was introduced almost two years ago.

“It has asked the county for an additional $ 237,000 for expanded services in the Landa Building and Courthouse Annex projects (which were completed shortly before the contractually agreed completion date),” said Krause. “We took action yesterday to authorize County Engineer Tom Hornseth to notify them that we will not be paying any additional compensation.”

Krause and the commissioners had no further comment on HDR, which continues to be the architectural service provider for the renovation project for the sheriff’s office.

The commissioners will meet on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom, 100 Main Plaza, New Braunfels.

The meeting will be broadcast live to the public; to access the video and agenda, visit www.co.comal.tx.us/agenda.htm.


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