Correction: This article has been modified to include information about the confirmation election.
In all the hoopla over the big ticket flood mitigation bills passed by the 86th legislature, some smaller bills escaped the headlines in Harris County. One such bill was HB 1820. It created a Liberty County Drainage District. Think of it as Liberty County’s version of the Harris County Flood Control District.
Drainage District’s Authority
HB 1820 gives the Liberty County Drainage District authority to: issue bonds; impose assessments, fees, or taxes; and exercise limited powers of eminent domain.
The Senate Research Center’s analysis of the bill noted the high amount of damage in Harris County due to Hurricane Harvey. Stakeholders from the Liberty county hoped to avoid that kind of damage by creating the Drainage District. The Senate Research Center found that, “Areas within Liberty County are prone to flooding, especially where there are low-lying areas, undersized culverts and bridges, and railroads, just to name a few. The creation of a drainage district would provide an additional funding mechanism, through grants or ad valorem taxes, for improvements.”
Local Bill Passed Almost Unanimously
The bill, which applies only to Liberty County, passed both houses with one dissenting vote in the Senate and only four in the House.
The bill creates a temporary board of directors which must hold a confirmation election with the public before September of 2022.
Liberty County is mostly rural and agricultural. In the 2010 census, it had a population of just 75,563.
Liberty County borders Harris County on the east. It extends from Cleveland to below Crosby. It includes Dayton and the town of Liberty on FM1960. The Trinity river runs through Liberty County as well as the Luce Bayou Inter-basin Transfer Project. That project pumps water from Lake Livingston and the Trinity River to Lake Houston to help ensure our future water supply.
The Texas Water Development Board lists the Trinity River as the longest in the state with a watershed entirely within Texas. Twenty-two tributaries drain into the 710 mile long river which has a watershed of approximately 18,000 square miles.
It will be important for Liberty and Harris County Flood Control/Drainage Districts to work together to help mitigate flooding in areas such as Huffman near the county line.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/20/2019
660 Days after Hurricane Harvey