By Roland Gilbert, Communications Specialist
The welcomed influx of new residents to Comal County has brought an unwelcome increase in trash and other roadside litter. The county addressed the problem with its revamped Adopt-A-Roadway program, making it easier for volunteer-minded residents and organizations to register online to help clean up county roadways. The modernized system simultaneously engages the community, keeps the environment clean and saves the county thousands of taxpayer dollars.
In recognition, the Texas Association of Counties has given a 2018 County Best Practices Award to Comal County for its Adopt-a-Roadway program.
Comal County’s Road Department partnered with its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team to create a fully automated, map-based system for residents to use with any desktop or mobile device. More than half of the available roads were adopted within three months of the program’s launch.
The new user-friendly program helps keep adopted roadways beautiful and safe for motorists and wildlife at minimal cost to the county. The county used to spend an estimated $1,000 per mile, once per year for a four-person crew to clean a county-maintained roadway. Now, for a fraction of the cost, volunteers clean the same roadway twice per year.
“The program has been so successful, the Road Department plans to expand it from its current 64.5 miles of adoptable roads to approximately 100,” said Comal County Public Information Officer Paul Anthony.
“I’m encouraged by the tremendous concerted effort of Comal County’s officials and staff to engage the community and run an efficient organization,” said TAC Executive Director Susan Redford. “We hope this award inspires other counties to leverage more best practices and continue discovering new solutions to better serve Texans.”
The biennial program recognizes the efforts of county leaders in implementing innovative, scalable and replicable solutions to challenges facing local government throughout Texas. Areas of focus include financial and general management, public safety and corrections, health and human services, technology, community improvements and other county-related responsibilities.
Comal County was one of eight Texas counties selected to receive a TAC 2018 County Best Practices Award. Look for more spotlights in future issues of County magazine. Learn more about the County Best Practices Awards program at www.county.org/bestpractices.