Fort Bend County extends disaster declaration

The Fort Bend County Commissioners Court extended the disaster declaration in Fort Bend County through Oct. 10 at its regular session meeting this week. The court also ratified the county transportation director’s decision to waive fares and fees for certain routes and services through Sept. 29 as part of the hurricane recovery efforts.


Disaster declaration extended

The court extended the disaster declaration in Fort Bend County in order to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for what it spends cleaning up the county after Hurricane Harvey, county Judge Robert Hebert said.

As long as the county’s disaster declaration is in effect, cleanup efforts, such as debris collection, are eligible for FEMA reimbursement, Hebert said.

“It’s worth our while to save the impact on our taxpayers by keeping that declaration of disaster,” Hebert said.

In addition, the commissioners unanimously voted in favor to transfer $500,000 from its contingency reserves into an account for Harvey recovery expenditures. These funds would pay for expenditures not covered by FEMA or will be used to match FEMA reimbursement projects, according to meeting documents.

The court also authorized the Fort Bend County Central Appraisal District to reappraise properties damaged by the hurricane.

Approximately 6,000 to 7,000 homes will be reappraised, Hebert said.


Public transportation fees and fares are waived

The commissioners court unanimously authorized the transportation director to waive fares and fees for transportation routes and services through Sept. 29.

Fares for all Fort Bend County Public Transportation routes will be waived through September 29, 2017, according to the county’s public transportation website. This includes services for commuter, demand-response and point-deviation routes. Passengers will be required to pay fares for transportation service starting Oct. 2, according to the website.


County health services will apply for state grant for HIV prevention

The commissioners court ratified Fort Bend Health and Human Services’ application to the Texas Department of State Health Services for grant funding totaling $288,722 for HIV prevention efforts in 2018.

The funds will be used to pay for condom distribution, testing services, and related equipment and salaries, according to meeting documents.


Proposed property and drainage tax rate won’t change

Fort Bend County will not change its total proposed property and drainage tax rate of $0.46900 per $100 valuation of property, which includes the drainage district’s tax rate as well as a half-cent reduction from last year’s rate.

The commissioners plan to fund an engineering study to assess the county’s infrastructure and drainage-related assets such as its levees, Hebert said. The court discussed raising the drainage district’s tax rate to fund the studies but ultimately decided such an increase was not necessary.

“We have enough money in reserve that we think we can fund the studies,” Hebert said. “We all agree that the studies are needed.”
By Renee Yan

Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


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