Fort Bend County cuts proposed bond down to $98.6 million, removing $100 million allotment for countywide flood projects

3

Fort Bend County has scaled back its proposed facilities bond a considerable amount.

“Since the last workshop, I went back and took a fresh look at everything to see where I could find opportunities to tighten things down to feel better about the numbers,” said Jamie Knight, Fort Bend County’s facilities management and planning director.

During a July 18 meeting, the Commissioners Court convened to discuss the outlined projects ahead of the Aug. 19 deadline to call for a bond election.

“First and foremost, we need this court to start to move toward making some final decisions,” County Auditor Ed Sturdivant said during the meeting. “Time is running short.”

Initially, the proposed bond called for $247.3 million for 17 facilities projects with $100 million earmarked for the federal disaster recovery match for flood projects countywide. However, in a sparser version of the bond presented July 18, the package totals $98.6 million, without the $100 million allotted for flood mitigation.

Taral Patel, the chief of staff to County Judge KP George, said in an email is it unknown at this point whether the commissioners could propose a separate flood bond in the future.

Now, the most expensive project on the list is the $30.4 million juvenile detention center that will result in an expansion and renovation of the existing campus to bring the facility up to modern standards and accommodate growth, according to county documents.

The current facility is 26 years old and has roughly 60,000 square feet of space to accommodate an average daily population of 50 juveniles. The facility has held up to 72 juveniles, and that number is expected to increase, county officials shared during the meeting.

The updated facility would have a capacity for 100 juveniles with 101,000 additional square feet of space. House Bill 22, known as the “Raise the Age” bill, was passed in 2017 and increases the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18, moving 17-year-old offenders to juvenile detention centers beginning in 2021, county officials said.

The commissioners are slated to vote on whether to place to bond on the Nov. 5 election ballot during the Aug. 6 meeting.

Here is the latest list of proposed projects for the bond in order from most expensive to least expensive:
Juvenile Detention Expansion: $30.4 million
Precinct 2 projects: $25.5 million
Emergency Management Center/Fire Marshal/HazMat facility: $16.9 million
Precinct 4 Annex: $6 million
Parks: $6 million
Elections Administration Building: $5.7 million
Emergency Medical Services improvements: $3.2 million
Education and exhibit building/passive nature park: $2.7 million
Fairgrounds offices: $2.1 million
Animal services campus: $100,000
TOTAL: $98.6 million

Share this story
3 comments
COMMENT
  1. Actually they got caught trying to stiff the over burdened property owners of Fort Bend County. Really pathetic! My parents can’t afford their home with the 12 k in property taxes and other home based fees. Texas! Ha! No income taxes but the HIGHEST property taxes in the country!

  2. They still haven’t promised to put these items up as individual line items on the vote. As it is, there are a few, like the Juvenile Detention expansion that are mandated and a bunch more that are just plain pork. All of the Precinct 2 projects fall into that category, and by the way, they were individually listed before but now have been bundled so we can’t see what they are. The new Emergency Management Center is more of the same. The county has such a center already, and while it needs updating and maintenance, that is no excuse to just junk it and build a brand new place.

    Tell your county commissioners that they should do what is right and allow the taxpayers who are paying for these things to know what they are voting for and give us the right to select the individual items that we really do need.

  3. I’m confused. Do we have the opportunity to get $200 million worth of flood control (because of an offered state or federal match) for only $100 million and we are turning it down because we want these other things instead? Seems to me we should be taking advantage of this offer and then ONLY adding on what MUST be done now and postponing the rest another year or two. How wasteful to turn this opportunity down because we don’t have patience.

Leave A Reply

Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.
Back to top