League City to begin looking for regional flooding solutions

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League City is taking a leadership role in addressing regional flooding issues, and April 23 was the first step toward solutions.

The League City City Council approved a $500,000 agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a comprehensive flood-mitigation plan for the lower Clear Creek and Dickinson Bayou watersheds. League City will provide half the cost of the agreement, and the corps will fund the remaining half, city officials said.

During the study, the corps will identify drainage problems in the watersheds and develop ways to reduce flooding, such as detention basins, channel modifications and maintenance, bypass channels, pump stations, property buyouts and more, according to a city document.

Once identified, the solutions may be scored and ranked based on benefit, cost, and community and environmental effects. During the study, League City officials will lead in engaging stakeholders in both watersheds to find other municipalities that might fund potential projects, City Manager John Baumgartner said.

The agreement will ensure any future project that comes out of the study will meet the corps’ grant funding requirements. City officials expect a design firm contract would approach $1.5 million, according to the document.

Council Member Hank Dugie said he was happy League City is taking the lead on addressing flooding and that other cities will see the value in helping fund solutions.

“I do think a majority of them will pitch in, in some way or form,” he said.

Baumgartner said the city could have done the study without the corps, but involving the corps gives more credibility to the project.

“We think it is of the utmost importance to have the corps as a partner early on,” he said.

Officials expect the planning process will take 18 months to complete.

IN OTHER BUSINESS

League City residents’ electricity and gas bills will likely increase soon, but City Council is doing what it can to make sure the increases are legitimate.

League City City Council on April 23 voted to suspend CenterPoint Energy’s applications to increase electricity and gas rates. The electricity rate increase was suspended 90 days to Aug. 8, and the gas rate increase was suspended 45 days to July 11.

The extra time will give officials and attorneys more time to review the proposed increases and make sure they are legitimate, according to city documents.

CenterPoint Energy on April 5 filed an application to increase its electricity rates by about 7.4% with a requested start date of May 10. This is CenterPoint Energy’s first rate increase since 2010.

Likewise, the company on March 28 filed an application to increase gas rates by about 7.21% for residents to recover CenterPoint Energy’s return on investments made between rate cases, which is allowed under the Gas Utility Regulatory Act. The requested start date is May 27, according to the documents.

Cities have jurisdiction have jurisdiction over an electric utility’s rates, meaning CenterPoint needs League City’s permission to increase electricity rates. However, cities have less power over gas rates, according to the documents.

Once increased, residents’ monthly gas rates would rise from $15.96 to $17.11. Residents who use 1,000 kilowatts of electricity a month would see their bills rise from $45.96 to $48.34, according to city documents.

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Jake Magee
Jake Magee has been a print journalist for a few years, covering topics such as city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be an editor with Community Impact. In his free time, Magee enjoys playing video games, jamming on the drums and bass, longboarding and petting his cat.
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