LCRA, City of Bellville award $25,000 grant for purchase of mobile command center

Austin County’s new vehicle will provide safe workspace for first responders near emergency scenes

Dec. 7, 2023

Lower Colorado River Authority representatives present a $25,000 grant to Austin County for a new mobile command center. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are: Robert “Bobby” Rinn, Austin County commissioner, Precinct 2 and county Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) member; Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Dianna Grigar-Grobe, chief of staff to Austin County Judge Tim Lapham and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) incident support; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; and Tim Lapham, Austin County judge, county LEPC member and Cat Spring Volunteer Fire Department assistant fire chief. Back row, from left: Bryan Haevischer, Austin County treasurer, EOC incident support and New Ulm firefighter; Karen Gust, Austin County chief deputy treasurer and EOC incident support; Yasmine Jernigan, administrative assistant to Austin County Judge Tim Lapham and EOC incident support; Erica Resendez, Austin County planning and development coordinator and EOC drone pilot; Marie Jalufka, Austin County assistant auditor; and Matthew L. “Matt: Arthur, LCRA Board member

BELLVILLE, Texas – A $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and the City of Bellville will enable Austin County to purchase a mobile command center to improve operations and better protect first responders at emergency scenes. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $75,000 in matching funds from the county, will buy a rugged vehicle to serve as a makeshift office for police, firefighters, EMS and other first responders. Mobile command centers provide enhanced communication equipment, a self-contained power system, workstations and restrooms, and can operate independently in remote or disaster-stricken areas. “A command center allows the incident commander to monitor the situation, gather input and focus on the task at hand without having the distraction of standing out in the middle of a field or on the street where traffic is going by,” Austin County Judge Tim Lapham said. “I can tell you it’s a lot harder to direct an emergency response if you’re standing out in the rain looking at your papers and maps on the tailgate of your truck.” The command center’s stronger, more reliable communications system also will help safeguard first responders out in the field, Lapham said. “If you’re a firefighter who’s down or trapped in a burning building and your radio won’t communicate with the outside world, it’s a very dangerous situation,” Lapham said. “This command system will have a mobile repeater that is going to increase the radio communication ability in a lot of our local buildings.” Austin County’s population grew by more than 1,000 people since 2020. “We are having a lot of growth coming this way,” Lapham said. “There’s been discussion recently about whether Austin will soon be designated as an urban county.” The influx of new residents adds to the significance of the county’s purchase of a mobile command center, Lapham said. “Overall, it’s a benefit to all the emergency responders of the county and all the citizens who have first responders coming to their aid,” he said. “It’s available to surrounding counties, too, if there’s a need. We greatly appreciate the funding this LCRA program provides; it makes a big impact on the community.” 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. The City of Bellville is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

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.

Media Contact
Clara Tuma
[email protected]