Funderburk replaces Merle Aaron, who opted to not seek re-election in 2021 following 16 years in city government, including six as Humble mayor.
Born in 1951 in Houston, Funderburk is a graduate of Humble High School, Texas A&M University and the University of Houston. He has 42 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry and retired in 2016 from his role as vice president of project services for Koch Specialty Plant Services Inc.
Prior to becoming Humble’s new mayor, Funderburk was first elected to Humble City Council in 2014 and was subsequently re-elected in 2016, 2018 and 2020, when he ran unopposed. During his tenure, Funderburk also served as mayor pro tem for four years and the city’s representative to the Houston-Galveston Area Council for five years, among other roles.
Funderburk and his wife, Kathy, a 34-year employee of Humble ISD, celebrated their 50th anniversary in June. The couple has one son, one daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What prompted you to run for mayor of Humble?
A new mayor taking the reins of the city of Humble is a big deal. I’m only the fifth mayor elected in the last 50 years. I felt strongly that knowledge and experience such as mine was necessary to provide stability, maintain the city’s forward trajectory and provide continuity with regard to the good works that have recently been undertaken.
We’ve accomplished much during the last seven years, investing in our core services and infrastructure, and it’s critical that we continue those efforts to ensure sustainability. And since I’m from here and have great pride in our city, protection of our city’s future is extremely important to me. And I want to make a positive difference during my time here.
What are your main goals and priorities as mayor of Humble?
My goal is to build and provide for a sustainable future of our city, making decisions that will positively impact our community for decades. As a resident here for 50 years, my hope is that 50 years from now the city will continue to thrive, having benefited from our planning, forethought and accomplishments from today. ... My specific focus and priorities include: fiscal responsibility—applying conservative values and being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ funds, enhancing available revenue streams to maintain existing operations while also being able to meet the needs of future demands; quality of life—preserving neighborhood integrity, having our residents feel safe and protected, providing excellent services, facilities and programs for our citizens; infrastructure—improved roads, water and sewer systems, continued efforts to improve drainage and address flood-mitigation efforts; and building community.
What are Humble’s biggest challenges, and how do you plan to address them?
In assessing the future needs, it’s critical that we focus on ensuring sustainable revenue streams that are adequate for covering current maintenance and operations costs but also being able to accommodate future needs. Considerations for the city’s finances must include: additional services needed to accommodate the new neighborhoods/subdivisions planned for completion within the next five years; continuing the efforts to promote redevelopment and reinvestment in the downtown area, attracting new retail businesses and restaurants, continuing to partner and support Deerbrook Mall; assessment of additional street repairs and rehabilitation likely needed in our subdivisions and other areas of the city; and absorbing costs of [the] traffic enforcement program, costs currently being funded through the red-light camera program that will be ending in 2024.
What were your priorities when crafting the fiscal year 2021-22 budget?
Investing in infrastructure and core services; providing funds for a new building that will serve as the new senior center, housing our senior activity programs; improving our parks [by] providing new playground equipment, covered picnic areas and wrought iron fencing; and bolstering the enforcement efforts of our codes and ordinances with the addition of another officer. Compliance with codes and ordinances is a priority.