Our Burnet County Judge, James Oakley, has a lot of responsibilities under his umbrella!
Some of the topics he talked to Daybreak Rotary about on Tuesday morning, 1/25 included:
-  Burnet County Growth
-  EMS and Growth Needs
-  Building Improvements
-  Wirtz Dam Bridge
-  New Courthouse Addition
Our Burnet County Judge, James Oakley, has a lot of responsibilities under his umbrella!
Some of the topics he talked to Daybreak Rotary about on Tuesday morning included:
An increased number of address requests in our formerly rural area which has indicated that growth in Burnet County has doubled in the past two years! 
  • These additional addresses and people also increase the demands on our EMS and 911 systems, so we need to prepare for that.
Tourism dollars are planned to be used for a renovation of the Okalla community center.
The Briggs community facility renovation is planned to be next. 
The original “Jail on the Square” in Burnet, built in 1884, was remodeled about three years ago. The interiors were redone and it has new HVAC, electrical, plumbing, truss system, etc. 
The upstairs rooms are now available for Community meetings. Contact Blair Manning, on the tourism committee, for more information.
The Court rooms in the Burnet County Annex Building were opened up about 20 years ago. At the time it was thought that these rooms would large enough to accommodate the county needs for quite some time. But, due to our growth, they are now not big enough!
Burnet County has hired an architect to create a new multipurpose building across highway 29 from the Courthouse annex, where expected larger trials could be accommodated. This building  will be a $45 million budget expenditure. 
Wirtz Dam Bridge –
A new low-water Crossing across the Colorado river, just below the Wirtz dam, has been in the Burnet County transportation plan since 1974!  A recent study showed that approximately 10% of the traffic that drives through Marble Falls on the 281 bridge would use the Wirtz crossing bridge instead, reducing 281 traffic. This bridge will cost about 3 million in planning and design. The original estimate for completion of this much needed bridge, before recent price jumps in materials, was $28-30 million. One issue is that a lot of utility relocations will be required. Federal gasoline tax dollars will help pay for much of this project.  A Commission hearing is set for August 23, 2022.  Then the project will be up for funding in December, 2024.
The local architect that has been retained also designed the bridge below Mansfield Dam and the Pedernales bridge.
Johnny Campbell of Emergency Svcs estimates that having the new bridge will reduce the EMS and Fire Dept response times to Cottonwood Shores and Horseshoe Bay by an average of 22 minutes! If all goes well, cars could be driving on the new bridge in 2026. It will be a two lane bridge with an emergency lane on each side.
James also talked about broadband expansion and the need to put in infrastructure, out in our rural areas, for the Internet, from the top down,. He personally would like to see the military be utilized to expand such important broadband access to the rural public.
Watch James’ talk to Daybreak Rotary on You Tube at:  https://youtu.be/uWVjz-CeYr8