Opposition to permanent Lake Conroe lake level reduction, TIRZ renewal: 3 things to know from Montgomery County Commissioners Court, Feb. 27

Montgomery County Commissioners Court meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Montgomery County Commissioners Court meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month.

Montgomery County Commissioners Court met Tuesday morning to consider a number of agenda items, including a resolution opposing a permanent reduction of Lake Conroe lake levels by three feet. Here is everything you need to know.

Court approves resolution to oppose reduction in Lake Conroe water levels
Commissioners Court approved a resolution appealing to the state legislature to oppose a proposed permanent three-foot reduction in Lake Conroe lake levels as a means of flood mitigation.

The resolution is in response to the Recover Lake Houston campaign that was launched in early December. The campaign lobbies for projects that could reduce flooding in the Lake Houston area, including a proposed reduction in lake levels by three feet.

During the meeting, commissioners expressed opposition to a permanent reduction because of its negative economic impact on the Lake Conroe region, but said they are interested in coordinating with San Jacinto River Authority officials with temporary reductions in anticipation of heavy rainfall events. The SJRA operates the Lake Conroe dam, but the county commissioners court has a limited ability to influence the SJRA because it is a state agency, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador said.

"When [Hurricane] Ike came through, and it came straight through here, we had two inches of rain and that was it," Meador said. "It is hard to forecast [rainfall from a hurricane like Harvey] and they have to go by the state rules and regulations that they are set up under. I don't think a permanent three-foot reduction is the answer."

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark was the sole nay on the vote.

"I understand economic impact, but I have people in east Montgomery County [and] that is where the water comes to," Clark said. "We need that extra freeboard, we need some assurances. I think passing this is sending the wrong message."

County Judge Craig Doyal said the county is collaborating with Harris County officials on flood mitigation efforts, including evaluating all Montgomery County watersheds.

"We are working with [the] Harris County Flood Control [District] and putting together an interlocal agreement to look at all the watersheds in Lake Conroe that truly have an impact on our neighbors to the south," Doyal said. "We recognize that there is a challenge, but every single watershed that leaves Montgomery County drains right to Lake Houston... It is not just Lake Conroe that is the issue."

Montgomery County TIRZ renewed
Commissioners renewed the Montgomery County Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

A TIRZ is an entity that funds improvement projects by ensuring a certain amount property tax revenue collected from residents living within the TIRZ is also used for improvement projects within the TIRZ.

The zone spans all unincorporated areas of Montgomery County, and officials said it gives the county the ability to offer property tax abatements to property owners within the zone. The court initially approved the TIRZ in 1993, and must renew it every 5 years.

Toll road authority to build third outfall into spring creek
In a Montgomery County Toll Road Authority meeting, the court approved a change order in its contract SWCA Inc. The additional $6,941 cost accounts for a third outfall into spring creek for the Hwy. 249 tollway project.


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