During the Feb. 6 Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meeting, commissioners approved the creation of five districts within Levee Improvement District 7 in Sugar Land that will allow residents in the LID boundaries to elect a board of directors. Commissioners also approved a new Hazard Mitigation Plan that will help ensure county cities have access to Federal Emergency Management Funds.
Here are a few takeaways from the meeting:
Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery public hearing results
Commissioners held a public hearing on the CDBGDR program regarding infrastructure and housing applications from the 2016 flooding events that inundated a majority of the county with floodwaters, but only one citizen spoke during the hearing. Rosenberg resident Joe Reyes expressed concern over the disbursement of funds from the program not going to Brazos River area residents, and told the court he admitted he thought the hearing was Harvey-related.
Fort Bend County Judge Robert Hebert said later he was not surprised some residents misunderstood the hearing, and stressed the importance for county residents in the CDBGDR program to understand applications from the 2016 events are still being assessed, and that Harvey applications will take much longer.
“We thought there would be some confusion out there, as Mr. Reyes was confused. We are dealing with something that is going on two years long,” Hebert said. “We probably won’t have a hearing on Harvey [CDBGDR applications] until 2019.”
LID 7 districts established
Commissioners approved an action to establish the boundaries of five districts within LID 7, located in New Territory in Sugar Land. Hebert said the district submitted a petition to hold an election and vote for their own directors. LID’s are typically run by a five-member board of directors appointed by the commissioner’s court, but LID 7 will choose its own directors during the May 5 elections now that commissioners approved the districts.
“We are required by law to approve the creation of five districts within the levee,” Hebert said. “We make sure those boundaries have been developed [and]fairly split the population as equally as we can get without cutting homes in half and things like that.”
Immunization program accepted
A request to ratify a $341,829 grant application to the Texas Department of State Health Services was approved by commissioners. The grant will help the county’s Clinical Health Services department enact the 2019 Immunization Program. Hebert said the grant was routine business and nothing in the plan was dramatically altered from previous years.
Hazard Mitigation Plan accepted
Commissioners approved a resolution to adopt the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan will next be sent out to all 17 county cities excluding Sugar Land—the city operates its own plan, according to Hebert—for approval. Once all county cities approve the plan, the county submits the plan to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Texas Emergency Management Agency again, and then it will be enacted for a period of five years.
“If one of the entities fails to adopt it they are not eligible for federal emergency management funds,” Hebert said. “It does not actually activate until they have approved it.”
Updated criteria for county engineering services standards
Commissioners approved an action that updates recommendations for the most qualified engineering and surveying services regarding the county’s 2017 mobility projects. Hebert said the recommendations are made every year and help ensure a wide variety of companies are consulted through the county for services that meet county standards.
“The county engineer has updated and revised the criteria the state uses for qualified engineering companies to solicit our business,” Hebert said. “In other words, just because you’re an engineer does not mean you can come in here and ask the county to give you business; you have to be qualified by us through our county engineer.”
Hebert said when he first came to the county in 2003, one engineering firm owned 80 percent of the county’s business. He said the updates on the criteria were first established years ago to prevent this from happening again.
“We don’t want to give any one or two companies the abundance of the work,” Hebert said. “We have a lot of great companies in the area and we want to make sure we qualify as many companies as we can.”