Annual Report: Regional Services

Regional Services coordinates with counties and municipalities with issues related to economic development, GIS mapping, strategic plans, Eagle Ford Shale and grant information and technical assistance. It is also responsible for administering the scoring of the Texas Community Development Block Grant (TxCDBG) applications and provides staff support to the Regional Review Committee responsible for developing the TxCDBG AACOG Guidebook. In 2013, eight communities from the Alamo Region were awarded TxCDBG totaling $2,200,000.

Annually Regional Services also hosts its summer series of training workshops. The Newly Elected Officials (NEO) workshop and the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) workshop inform local government officials about the requirements and duties associated with their respective positions as well as any new legislation that affects local municipal governments or P&Z commissions. In 2013, sixteen individuals participated in the NEO workshop and 26 individuals participated in the P&Z workshop. The Basics of Economic Development workshop included 26 individuals that participated in the half-day training that covered various economic development tools available in the state of Texas to Economic Development organizations. Collectively these workshops help improve regional collaboration and promote greater understanding of issues related to infrastructure, planning, zoning and economic development.

In July 2013, in conjunction with Guadalupe County and HDR Engineering Inc., the Regional Services Department jointly hosted a county road repair demonstration that showcased a new innovative road building process that utilizes reused tires. This Mechanical Concrete process was brought to Texas to provide south Texas counties in the Eagle Ford Shale play that are experiencing huge increases in road damage to county roads due to the overall increased traffic and heavy-load trucks an alternative method that is more efficient for repairing damaged county roads and provides a viable solution for reusing the hundreds and thousands of discarded tires counties collect annually from county roads. According to the inventor and patent holder of Mechanical Concrete, this process creates rut and pot-hole resistant roads, reduces road maintenance and is environmentally friendly. Overall this system simplifies and speeds up road construction and maintenance, triples the load supporting capacity of the aggregates used, reduces the thickness of the topping material, eliminates compaction and testing and significantly reduces the amount of water required as compared to conventional road building processes used today.

Sam Bonasso, P.E. (inventor of Mechanical Concrete®), Joe Ramos (AACOG), Guadalupe County Commissioners and staff, and Jeff Labenz-Hough (HDR Engineering, Inc.)