Martindale seeks grants after floods wash out finances

MARTINDALE, Texas (KXAN) — Hit by Mother Nature for the second time in five months, the town of Martindale is having a hard time financially.

City Administrator Thomas Forrest says for various reasons, Martindale’s financial burdens have been building up for years, and the floods have made things worse.

“When you’re operating on a shoestring as it is, just makes it that much harder when you have these kinds of disasters,” said Forrest.

“People are pretty quiet,” said Martindale homeowner, Elizabeth Cumberland. “Because I think no one knows what’s going to happen now.” Cumberland says there were a lot less volunteers in town for the most recent flood.

As homeowners work to rebuild houses, the city is trying to fix the root causes, like the drainage system. Forrest says it’s virtually non-existent.

They’ve applied for several grants, including the FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program. Forrest says without these grants the city will struggle over the next few years. They’re already making tough decisions, and he knows that firsthand.

“Had to lay off someone so I felt it should be me,” said Forrest. “So I laid myself off and tomorrow’s my last day with city as a paid person. I still plan to volunteer with the flood, with the Blanco River Regional Recovery Team, that sort of thing. I told them I’d always be available to help in anything I can here.”

Forrest says the new city council is enthused and ready to tackle the issues facing the city. Until further notice, his seat will remain vacant.

“It’s gone through a lot of adversity over the years, but it’s always survived and will survive this too.”

Other residents are also hopeful the city will come back. Employees with The Hat Creek Pickle Company look forward to the day when more businesses join them downtown. “This city will be fine, it’ll bounce back,” said Drew Vero.

Joe Pinnelli, a general contractor also has big hopes for the future. He believes one day it could have a vibrant music and restaurant scene.

“They’re like the rest of America,” said Pinnelli. “They’re tough, they’re going to rebuild, they’re strong.”

In the next two to three years, Martindale is expecting to receive a new source of income through a development project.

The Cotton Center development will be built north of Martindale, bringing in housing and commercial properties to the area. Forrest says the town will receive sales tax from the new development but, in the meantime, grants are crucial.

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