The Johnson County Commissioners Court voted Monday to accept a grant that will be used to construct an emergency operations center for the county.

The Homeland Security grant totals $750,000. The county must contribute a $250,000 match to the grant.

In-kind donations, such as land, can be used to satisfy some of the match, said County Judge Roger Harmon said.

Any additional county funding needed to meet the match will probably be funded through county mineral royalty funds, said County Commissioner John Matthews.

County emergency operations personnel share office space with the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Emergency operations has long needed more office space, commissioners said.

Besides housing the emergency management coordinator and his staff, the center will also be used by other county officials to coordinate plans and response in the event of a major county emergency, Matthews said.

The grant money covers the cost of building construction.

Commissioners questioned whether the funds also cover equipment costs, which county officials promised to look into.

Commissioners voted to locate the center on seven acres of county owned land near the Johnson County Sheriff’s Patrol Office on East Kilpatrick Street and hired Brady Condike Inc. to appraise the land and Magee Architects to design the building.

Commissioners appointed a committee made up of county employees to offer input into the specifics of the center, suggestions that will still require commissioner approval.

The center will occupy 2,500 to 4,000 square feet. Commissioners intend to begin work on the project soon and finish it by Dec. 31.

Commissioners approved a maximum dollar amount of $1 million, which includes the building and possibly some equipment.

Other costs, such as utility hook ups, will be paid by the county, probably from mineral royalty funds, Matthews said.

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