Residents concerned about zombies

By: 
Robin Blackburn

 

The zombie apocalypse is coming to Hays County.

It’s not every day that a commissioners court gets to discuss the undead, but that was the case at the county commissioners meeting. A location use agreement related to filming along Fulton Ranch Road for a scene in an episode of AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” was approved by the commissioners court.

Location managers for Stalwart Films have identified a stretch of right-of-way they would like to use for a scene in the series, which has been filming in Central Texas. According to the agenda item, filming would require either a temporary road closure or traffic regulation by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. The agreement will provide compensation to the county for labor and equipment from the transportation department, and law enforcement would be retained separately through the sheriff’s office.

But accommodating zombies is not always a simple issue.

“I have a few questions here,” said Hays County resident Dan Lyon.

Lyon pointed out that Fulton Ranch Road serves as an alternate route between San Marcos and Wimberley, and he remembered an incident where traffic was diverted to Fulton Ranch Road because a wreck had closed Ranch Road 12.

“I have some concerns that if we close Fulton Ranch Road and such a thing happens again – there’s an accident on 12 – we’re going to have a problem,” he said.

He also voiced concerns about the use of Hays County deputies to block off the road and about whether the film company would pay the county anything beyond reimbursing expenses to film “‘The Living Dead’ or something that to me is ridiculous and that is not going to give a positive image to Hays County, in my opinion, anyway.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell said the court would not approve the agreement unless the company is reimbursing the county “at least 100 percent” and pointed out that having a film crew in the area is usually a positive thing because they eat at local restaurants and buy things from local businesses.

“I think it brings good business,” he said. “It’s good for our economy.”

The county’s legal counsel, Mark Kennedy, outlined the terms of the contract including the use of sheriff’s deputies at the filming location.

“The moonlighting officers who’d be working traffic control, security, et cetera … would be hired by the company on an hourly basis. If and when a vehicle is used, there is an hourly charge for that, and that hourly charge comes back to the county.”

Kennedy said the agreement calls for Stalwart Films to pay the county $12,500 for two days of filming. About $7,700 of that will pay for a transportation crew and equipment to prepare and remediate the location.

“They’re going to have a vehicle crash through a fake guardrail,” during filming, Kennedy explained.

Any part of the $12,500 not used for specific expenses will be contingency, Kennedy said, and payment for the sheriff’s officers will be a separate matter. The sheriff will determine which deputies and how many deputies will work on location and how long they will be on location, Kennedy said.

 

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