Precinct 4 Commissioner Lesley Briones will take her seat at Commissioners Court for the first time at the first meeting of 2023 on Jan. 10 as commissioners are set to adopt the county’s new climate action plan and a policy to protect contractors at construction sites.

The court will convene without County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who will be out on personal leave to deal with a family issue, according to a Jan. 4 news release.

The agenda for Commissioners Court is released at 9 a.m. on the Friday before each meeting. Meetings are held at 10 a.m. and are available to live stream here.

Climate action plan

The Office of County Administration is requesting approval to adopt phase one of the county’s new climate action plan for its internal operations.

The 24-page report provided in the agenda outlines an emissions reduction strategy to reach the county’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

Contractor safety policy

County Attorney Christian Menefee has asked commissioners to consider establishing a policy in selecting contractors for construction projects who “prioritize the health and safety of their workers”, according to the Jan. 10 agenda.

According to a Dec. 6 news release from Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ office, the expanded worker protection policy—which builds on 2019 policies for Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery projects—will require contractors during the bidding process to submit their safety record, and will require workers and managers to receive appropriate training from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

In a statement, Ellis said construction jobs in Texas and the Greater Houston area are among the most dangerous in the country.

“Worker safety is essential to a strong workforce. Harris County has a responsibility to help strengthen and protect our workforce,” Ellis said.

Prioritization framework for flood control projects

Ellis has also requested the court direct the Harris County Flood Control District to assign scores for all new flood risk reduction projects based on its 2022 prioritization framework.

According to backup information provided in the agenda, projects would be scored on a scale from 0-10 divided into four “quartiles”, with the fourth quartile encompassing scores from 0-2.5 and the first quartile for scores from 7.51-10.

Scores will be based on considerations such as project cost and benefits, and will only be assigned to projects focused on capacity and conveyance improvements.