2015 road bond sales, Magnolia ISD brings on more campus security: 4 takeaways from Montgomery County Commissioners Court June 12 meeting

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Montgomery County Commissioners Court convened for its first June meeting this morning in Conroe. Here are a few highlights from the meeting:

Commissioners approved the sale of $50 million in bonds from the 2015 road bond referendum.

Approved by voters in November 2015, the road bond has paid for several new road projects throughout all precincts in Montgomery County.

During this morning’s meeting, county staff announced there is approximately $139 million left in bonds for the county to sell to pay for improvement projects. The county is expected to put $50 million in bonds out to sale, which will leave approximately $89 million left to sell.

County Judge Craig Doyal said the bond issuance will go to reimburse loans for roads already completed or under construction, including FM 1097, Birnham Woods Drive and Grand Pines Road.

Montgomery County Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said he would like to see the rest of the bonds sold quickly to allow work to begin on more projects.

“We need to turn around and sell the rest of this as soon as we can—I have projects ready to go,” Riley said.

Commissioners also approved a memorandum of understanding between the county and Magnolia ISD to add 10 additional deputies throughout the district for campus security.

Following an announcement from MISD Superintendent Todd Stephens in the aftermath of the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting, commissioners approved a measure to allow county deputies to provide additional school resource officers to the district.

There will now be one officer at each school, increasing the number from eight to 18.

There will be no cost to the county for the increase, and Riley commended the district on the working to improve safety measures.

“I think it’s great that they stepped up to do this,” Riley said. “It sure shows commitment and I think that’s where they need to be.”

Commissioners approved a measure to raise the salary of two positions in the Montgomery County Animal Shelter from $103,000 to $110,000 in hopes of attracting new employees.

MCAS Director Aaron Johnson called for two vacant veterinarian positions with the shelter to have higher compensation on par with salaries for comparable positions at shelters in the area.

Johnson said the shelter has had difficulty attracting employees to the vacant positions at the existing pay rate.

“It seems to be a growing trend across the area, for even other places and organization with even [higher salaries] than this,” Johnson said. “We’re hoping to at least close that gap so we don’t have as difficult of a time finding [employees].”

Commissioners discussed the Hwy. 249 bond sales, which were were sold last week.

Following a June 5 announcement confirming the sale of approximately $89 million in revenue bonds for the construction of the Hwy. 249 toll road, Doyal said this morning demand for bond sales in the area has been higher than anticipated.

“Our revenue bonds for [Hwy.] 249 did sell last week—with $89 million in bonds, we had $1.19 billion in orders,” Doyal said. “The financial markets analyzed the project and found it to be very favorable. Those that analyze those types of projects saw the true value in this one and it was a very favorable bond sale there.”

Construction on Montgomery County’s portion of the road is expected to wrap up in spring of 2020, county officials said.

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Wendy Cawthon
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Cawthon has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and joined The Woodlands edition in 2017.
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