Citizens demand action as Montgomery County commissioners consider Tropical Storm Imelda recovery

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Nearly four weeks after Tropical Storm Imelda, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court is still handling the recovery as citizens demand more action.

At the regular meeting on Oct. 8, the commissioners deferred action on purchasing up to $110,000 of concrete for road damages in Precinct 4 from the flooding. Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts said he did not want to be a “burden” on the court but was concerned about the damage in his area.

“I’m not a guy that likes to ask for help; we like to take care of things on our own, but after talking to [Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management] Darren Hess this morning, we’re around $15 million just for roads and bridges right now,” Metts said.

All of the commissioners expressed a willingness to send asphalt to help with the recovery. However, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said after Hurricane Harvey, he paid for his precinct’s needs from his own budget.

“If you get down towards the end of the road and you need additional monies, I think the court is happy to help at any time, but I mean this is the first court of the first budget when very little money has been expended,” Noack said. “I would think that your current budget would be able to support that until something came up to where you had a shortfall.”

Although several counties, including Montgomery, received a presidential declaration of disaster Oct. 4, funds are currently only available for individual homeowners. The commissioners said they would wait and see if the county would receive any funds to help with the recovery effort.

The commissioners did approve the purchase of some road materials for Precinct 4 not to exceed $200,000.

Several citizens from the Kingwood area spoke, urging the commissioners to help the recovery effort and create higher standards for developments to prevent flooding. Resident Richard Abrahm said although Kingwood is not under the commissioners’ control, the actions of developers such as Perry Homes directly affect the citizens in Kingwood.

“I don’t want Montgomery County’s water in my garage. I don’t want Montgomery County’s silt in my garage. You can have it; we have enough,” Abrahm said. “We’re one disaster away from being homeless. Something has to be done.”

Leesa Shanahan of Woodstream Village said she is fearful of losing her home in another flood and asked the commissioners to be more stringent with permits for incoming businesses and developers and sand mines.

“I am asking for your help on these two issues: the developers—Perry Homes in Woodridge Forest that do not retain their own water, and therefore send it downstream to us, increasing my flooding worries, and the sand mines whose dikes breach repeatedly,” Shanahan said.

The next regular meeting of the Commissioners Court is on Oct. 22. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at 501 N. Thompson St., 4th floor, Ste. 402, Conroe, and will be livestreamed at www.montgomerycountytx.swagit.com/live

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Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now covers the Conroe Independent School District, Montgomery City Council and transportation.
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