Representation on the Texoma Council of Governments Board changed hands recently. At a meeting held last week, Cooke County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jason Snuggs replaced CC Judge Jason Brinkley as the county's representative on that board.


TCOG Public Information and Media Manager Sean Norton said Brinkley had served on the TCOG board for more than five years, much of it as president. In an email after the meeting, Norton said Brinkley oversaw the hiring of current TCOG Executive Director Eric Bridges who joined TCOG's staff in 2018.


The board has also welcomed two other new members recently. Norton said Tom Bean Mayor Sherry Howard and Callisburg Mayor Nathan Caldwell each joined the board as representatives of the smaller cities in their counties. Howard and Caldwell replaced Tioga Mayor Craig Jezek and Valley View mayor Josh Brinkley.


In addition, the board also heard from Director of Energy Services Department Judy Fullylove about a planned community needs assessment and community action plan tied to the $320,00 in funding the board accepted last month through the Community Block Services grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and CARES Act.


"These funds provide direct client assistance to income-eligible households impacted by COVID-19 in Texoma," Norton said. He said that income eligibility for the grants is up to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and contract associated by the grants covers a time period from March to July 2021.


"The needs assessment is essentially an analysis of the economic impact to individuals and households from COVID-19 and sets the priority for the community action plan and budget expenditure of funds through the grant by identifying the top 10 needs related to COVID-19 in the Texoma region," Norton said.


"These funds will allow us to provide additional assistance to those in need through emergency food assistance, non-narcotic prescription assistance, water utility bill assistance, rent assistance, educational support through tuition and supply assistance, and childcare assistance," he continued. He said the cities of Sherman and Denison have both also received CARES Act funding.


"Similarly, both community colleges – Grayson College and North Central Texas College – have also received CARES Act funding. TCOG’s CSBG caseworker has reached out to each entity to establish a partnership, point of contact, and a referral system so that we can utilize the funds efficiently and eliminate any potential duplication of services."