The Williamson County Commissioners Court discussed the ongoing impact of the recent winter storm during a regular meeting Feb. 14, hearing from Emergency Management Director Michael Shoe, who said the county has assessed around $11 million in total damage from the event.

The county is still waiting on the input from some cities and utility providers in the area, but the reported cost of damages surpasses the county’s minimum threshold to be eligible for financial assistance. Meanwhile, Shoe and the county have been working with the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas A&M Forest Service to address the amount of downed tree limbs and storm debris in the region.

Shoe said he expects a burn box in Florence to be up and available for municipalities and haulers to bring their debris and limbs in the next two weeks.

However, the box is not intended for public use, commissioners said.

“The amount of limbs that we have is catastrophic,” Precinct 4 County Commissioner Russ Boles said. “You don’t mulch these many limbs. It would take us years to mulch. And the amount of mulch produced, we would have to go some place else with it.”

The court previously voted to extend a disaster declaration for the county an additional 30 days. According to commissioners, the burn box will allow entities to quickly dispose of their waste and have a minimal impact with regard to smoke and space within the Williamson County Landfill.

“This is a great solution,” Precinct 3 County Commissioner Valerie Covey said. “We don’t want all of this debris to go to our landfill. Yes, it will decompose, but it still fills up the hole. So we don’t want to do that, and this is a great way to be environmentally sensitive also.”

The public is also still encouraged to report any storm damage to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.