LCRA awards $8,180 grant to Falls City ISD for new communication tools

Direct link to Karnes County Sheriff’s Office will improve emergency response times, increase coordination

Nov. 13, 2023

Lower Colorado River Authority representatives present an $8,180 grant to the Falls City Independent School District to establish a direct communication link with the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Steve Stone, Falls City ISD information technology director; and Kenneth Leonhardt, deputy.

FALLS CITY, Texas – The Falls City Independent School District soon will purchase and install technology that will allow direct communication with the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office, thanks to an $8,180 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $2,000 in matching funds from the district, will enable the Falls City ISD to install Mutualink technology to connect directly with the Sheriff’s Office and share information by radios, phones, cameras and computer networks. “Enhanced emergency response capabilities are at the heart of this initiative,” said Steve Stone, Falls City ISD information technology director. “By upgrading our public safety communication technology, we are drastically improving response times and efficiency during critical incidents.” Currently, the average response time can be 10 minutes. Using the new technology, Falls City ISD and the Sheriff’s Office will be able to better assess situations, share critical information, coordinate resources and respond more quickly. “Interoperability technology will empower us to seamlessly collaborate with other agencies during emergencies, ensuring a swift and coordinated response,” said Dwayne Villanueva, Karnes County Sheriff. “This funding is not just an investment in technology; it’s an investment in the safety and security of Falls City schools and our entire community.” Falls City ISD Superintendent Todd Pawelek said the grant will help improve not just the safety and security of the schools, but also the surrounding community. Falls City ISD serves about 430 students from in and around Falls City. “Interoperability is not a luxury; it’s a necessity,” Pawelek said. “This grant allows us to bridge the communication gap and connect the dots in real time, ensuring our community’s safety and well-being.” Stone said ensuring Falls City is a safe and well-prepared community also will contribute to the desirability of the area as a place to live, visit and do business. “The grant serves as a lifeline for our community, ensuring that no one feels alone or unsafe in times of crisis,” Stone said. The community grant is one of 45 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at

About LCRA

The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations.

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