Montgomery County extends disaster declaration, provides additional emergency management funding

Montgomery County commissioners met for an emergency court session April 8 in Conroe. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Montgomery County commissioners met for an emergency court session April 8 in Conroe. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Montgomery County commissioners met for an emergency court session April 8 in Conroe. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Montgomery County's local disaster declaration was extended through May 11 at an emergency Commissioners Court session April 8.

The local state of disaster was first declared March 12 and would have expired April 11.

County Judge Mark Keough noted that the declaration is separate from the county's stay-at-home order, which was signed in late March and is effective through April 30. That order was enacted to allow the county to procure funding from state or federal sources for its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"[The disaster declaration] generally happens in 30-day increments so we can take advantage of procurement from FEMA or whoever is going to be helping us—the government and the various things that we are able to recoup our funding from," Keough said. "The reason for this today is that our order ends [April 11,] which will not come in time for our next Commissioners Court [meeting].”

Keough also said the county will examine its stay-at-home order on a separate basis depending on the rate of new confirmed cases in the area and consultation with local health officials.


"The object here is not to just arbitrarily keep it open as long as we want. We know that people are hurting. We know that our economy is in a difficult situation, and there are possibly some modified ways to dial this back down. But, again, today, that’s not the case," he said.

Commissioners unanimously approved the disaster declaration's extension before discussing additional funding for the county's emergency management office and nonprofits.

Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts moved to provide $25,000 from his precinct's budget to the Community Assistance Center, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley said he hopes to move funding from his precinct to the Montgomery County Food Bank or other local organizations at the court's next meeting.

Commissioners also memorialized a $30,000 contingency transfer for the county's coronavirus response through the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and approved an additional $100,000 transfer from contingency funds for procurement of personal protective equipment to be distributed throughout the county.

"We are burning through PPE at a high rate right now [in] the sheriff’s office and other agencies across the county [as well as] the inmates in the jail using PPE daily," said Jason Millsaps, executive director of the emergency management office. "These funds will allow us to continue to procure those items because they are delayed in shipment, so we’re having to procure in anticipation of what we’re using to have enough supply coming in on a regular basis."

Millsaps also said the county is not likely to purchase additional coronavirus tests at this time, as its current supply is on back-order and is expected to arrive after a projected peak in coronavirus cases this month.

More than 20 local hospitals and medical offices currently have testing available, Millsaps said, although testing results are on a backlog of 2-11 days.

Commissioners will next convene for a regular meeting April 14.
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 and is a reporter for The Woodlands edition.


MOST RECENT

The DaVinci's Flying Machine is a new attraction at the festival this year. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)
16 new vendors, safety measures: What to know for the Texas Renaissance Festival's 46th season Oct. 3-Nov. 29

As patrons flock to Todd Mission this fall for the 46th season, here are a few things to know.

The San Jacinto River Authority's jurisdiction includes the entire San Jacinto River watershed, excluding Harris County. (Community Impact staff)
Four SJRA projects advance in state grant process

"These large-scale, impactful projects come with a very high price tag," Chuck Gilman said.

Two candidates are running for Montgomery County Precinct 3 commissioner. James Noack is the incumbent.
Q&A: Meet Montgomery County Precinct 3 commissioner candidates

See how candidates for Montgomery County Precinct 3 commissioner responded to questions about issues in the area.

From left: Owners Jeff Angell, Jason Dornik, Cody Evens and Heath Cleaver will open DECA Beer Co. in early 2021. (Courtesy DECA Beer Co.)
DECA Beer Co. coming to Porter and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Kitchen 1488's boudin egg rolls are one of many Cajun-inspired dishes. (Courtesy Kitchen 1488)
September roundup: 7 new spots to eat and drink in The Woodlands area

New restaurants launching in The Woodlands area in September serve Cajun, American, Indian and Tex-Mex cuisine.

Harris County Commissioners Court authorized The CARES Act Committee to establish a Workforce Development Program with $2.6 million at its Sept. 29 meeting. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County approves $7.3M for child care assistance, workforce development programs

Details about how Harris County residents can access the benefits available through each of the pilot programs are forthcoming.

First announced in April 2019, the long-anticipated Willowbrook restaurant will serve the brand's signature hamburgers, shakes and french fries, which will also be available "animal style." (Courtesy In-N-Out Burger)
See the five most popular stories on our website in the Houston area for Sept.

Read the top stories in September on Community Impact Newspaper's website from the Houston area.

The Woodlands Township board of directors will hold its next meeting in person on Oct. 22. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands Township balanced $3.5M in lost revenue with $7.9M less spending, officials said

"Even in a worst-case scenario we're going to come out where we forecasted, so that's good news," said Monique Sharp, The Woodlands Township's assistant general manager for finance and administration.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle announced Sept. 29 that he has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy Jack Cagle)
Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle tests positive for COVID-19

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle announced Sept. 29 that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously agreed to a proposed overall Harris County tax rate of $0.59920 for fiscal year 2020-21, a decrease of $0.01250 from the overall Harris County tax rate of $0.61170 in FY 2019-20. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Harris County commissioners set proposed FY 2020-21 tax rates, schedule public hearing and adoption dates

Harris County taxpayers could see a tax rate decrease in fiscal year 2020-21 after commissioners set the proposed tax rates for each of the county's four taxing entities.

Austin-based Tecovas will bring its 10th retail location to Market Street in The Woodlands on Oct. 9. (Courtesy Tecovas)
A new bootmaker, a builder, and a bookkeeper's anniversary: 6 business updates in The Woodlands area

Several new businesses are now open or launching soon around The Woodlands.

Less than 1,600 cases are currently active in the county, a drop of more than 5% since Sept. 21. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Active COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County drop 5.5% on Sept. 22-28; 3 new deaths reported

The county's cumulative case count passed 10,900 on Sept. 28, more than 14% of which remain active.