Conroe City Council held a regular meeting Nov. 10. Several items were discussed and acted upon from the meeting’s agenda.
1. City of Conroe takes part in national opioid settlement
Council members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the city of Conroe to receive funds from a national opioid settlement with four pharmaceutical companies. The city will receive over $569,000 from the agreement.
According to a letter to council members from Assistant City Attorney Camela Sandmann, Texas along with 41 other states, five territories and Washington, D.C., signed on to two settlement agreements Sept. 4 with manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson, the last of which has an office in Conroe.
The settlement agreements will award $26 billion over 18 years with the complete Johnson & Johnson payment expected by March or April, according to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office. Texas will receive $1.5 billion with 70% of that money going to the state’s abatement fund, where it can be used for further efforts against the opioid crisis.
The letter said there are no specific reporting procedures or documentation required on how the city can spend the money. Guidance is available through the Texas Opioid Council, and Sandmann suggested it could be used as a reimbursement for the city’s public services Narcan training.
Attorney Rick Berlin from Paxton’s office provided statistics to the council showing Texas drug overdose deaths increased by 31.9% in 2020.
The city had until Jan 2. to sign the agreement. Other cities that signed on to the settlement include Tomball and Missouri City. A full list of signees can be found on the attorney general's office website.
2. Support for senior living development on First Street
Council members unanimously approved a resolution expressing support for an affordable housing development for senior citizens on South First Street. The project is tentatively named Landmark at Montgomery.
According to the city agenda submittal form sent by Downtown Manager Frank Robinson, the resolution will help Kansas City-based developers Overland Property Group with its application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The city also waived $500 in building permit fees.
Robinson said Overland did not receive a favorable response in its initial application to the TDHA following an earlier presentation to City Council. April Angstrom, a representative from Overland, said the company would not be “churn-and-burn” developers.
“We’d be taking care of this building for 30 years,” Angstrom said. “We would be becoming members of your community.”
The property will stand at 301 S. First Street, formerly the site of the East Texas Dream Center. The city previously deemed the Dream Center uninhabitable in 2018 following more than 700 fire code violations.
The building—constructed in 1938, according to Angstrom—also served as the former home of the Montgomery County Hospital District.
Council Member Curt Maddux asked Angstrom what changes were made to potentially increase the project’s TDHA score. Angstrom said although TDHA’s scoring system was “a really complicated scoring matrix,” changes to the system meant the location gave it a better chance of receiving a favorable score.
The resolution said the planned center would contribute to the city’s downtown development plan.
3. Veterans speak on Memorial Park maintenance
The city of Conroe entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Montgomery County Veterans Memorial Commission over the Veterans Memorial Park on Freedom Boulevard. Council Member Duke Coon made the motion, and council members approved it unanimously.
The memorandum of understanding means the city will officially partner with the commission on maintenance and operations of the park.
City attorney Gary Scott said there were previous legal questions over the maintenance of the park, but he praised the commission for its work.
Commission Chair Jimmie Edwards and Executive Director Janeen McSwain spoke to council members about their work and the park.
“This city is going to be an example to other cities across the state,” Edwards said. “We have an obligation to this county, this city, this state. This [memorandum] is trust between us [and the city].”
Council members, including Marsha Porter, offered praise to the commission for their work.
“I am so impressed with what the Veterans Commission has done for this park and this city,” Porter said. “I look forward to a partnership between the Veterans Commission and the city.”
The veterans commission is running several events on Veterans’ Day weekend Nov. 10-11 along with other events in Montgomery County.