A marathon 10-hour meeting of Harris County Commissioners Court ended on a hopeful note for Elm Grove Village. But it was an emotional roller-coaster ride. Commissioners discussed whether to purchase Woodridge Village from Perry Homes and use it to build a giant detention facility to protect Elm Grove from future flooding.
Recap of Meeting
Before adjourning to executive session, commissioners discussed their concerns about a potential deal in open session. If you watched it live, you probably worried at that point. Commissioners Ellis and Garcia seemed to look for ways to kill any deal.
For instance, Ellis asked pointed questions about line items in the Flood Bond. He wanted to know what line item the money would come from for Elm Grove. Russ Poppe, Executive Director of the Flood Control District, explained that they set aside money for “San Jacinto Watershed drainage improvements in general.”
Ellis said, “But it wasn’t set aside for this?” Poppe replied that Elm Grove flooding happened after the Bond election, but that it fit the criteria for drainage improvements in the SJR watershed. And Ellis again said, “So it wasn’t set aside for this.”
Video of the meeting has not yet been posted.
Ellis, Garcia, Hidalgo Always Vote as Block
I’ve been told by reliable sources that since the last election, Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis have ALWAYS voted as a block on every issue. So when they went into executive session, I bit my fingernails.
But when the commissioners and county judge came back from executive session, the feeling was more hopeful. We don’t have an agreement to approve a deal. But we have an agreement to keep negotiating.
What Harris County Still Wants
Here’s what commissioners want:
- HCFCD will formally request an extension from Perry Homes on its March 31 deadline. This should not be a problem. People aren’t exactly lining up to buy the jinxed Perry Homes property.
- HCFCD will also pursue an inter-local agreement with Montgomery County (MoCo) requesting that MoCo follow Atlas 14 guidelines – especially within the City of Houston’s (CoH) extra territorial jurisdiction. MoCo already has adopted the new higher standard since approving Perry Homes’ permits. However, their Atlas-14 standards differ slightly from Harris County’s because MoCo is further north and receives less rainfall. This should not be a deal killer either.
- HCFCD will also request an inter-local agreement with CoH. At a town hall meeting in March, the City made it abundantly clear that it would not contribute cash to a buyout. So in lieu of cash, Harris County will request that the City provide assets that could help Engineering or Flood Control complete County projects more cost effectively.
After that the meeting adjourned.
Thanks to Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle who put this item on today’s agenda and has kept pushing it. Thanks also to everyone who wrote or called the commissioners requesting their support. Your efforts made a difference. Keep praying.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/7/2020
752 Days since Hurricane Harvey and 201 since Imelda