Last Saturday, Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers hosted a set of Harvey Recovery Community Meetings at Cinco Ranch High School and Fulshear High School. The purpose of these meetings was to directly connect our residents who were flooded or otherwise affected by the storm, with representatives of FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and leaders of law enforcement, county and state government, and Congressman Pete Olson and his office.
The community response was quite large. Over 2000 people attended the meeting in Cinco Ranch, and another 300 people attended the meeting in Fulshear. More than 450 questions were pre-submitted through online forms or given to the event organizers using handwritten cards at the meetings. Using direct community input from the pre-submitted questions, Commissioner Meyers put together a list of the most frequently asked questions to direct the content of the meeting. These questions were put on a rotating video loop in front of the audience, and the various representatives from FEMA, State, Federal, and local government agencies were asked to directly answer them.
As a reminder, FEMA has two Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) open and available to residents. The Katy Mills Mall location is open from 7am-7pm, 7 days a week. The Simonton Community Church location is open from 9am-7pm, 7 days a week. Nearly all of our impacted residents are now registered with FEMA and almost as many have personally visited a DRC. Please contact Congressman Pete Olson's office for help and questions with these applications and the casework related to your individual situation.
The meetings were also broadcast via Facebook Live and received over 1200 views. To even further spread the outreach, Commissioner Meyers asked former Simonton Mayor Daniel McJunkin to assist in recording video of the full meetings. These full videos have been uploaded to YouTube (videos above), and the Cinco Ranch meeting has been indexed for easier navigation (use this link for video index).
There have been several rumors floating around social media during and after the events. The most unusual one was from a local news channel who reported that no questions were allowed to be asked, but as the video shows - both events featured numerous and direct audience questions. Other rumors can easily be addressed by using the indexed records of the meeting and viewing the video to hear directly from the participants about the subject matter.
Moving forward from these events, Fort Bend County is taking several steps to proactively address both immediate and long-term needs for recovery, rebuilding, and resiliency. First and foremost, the debris removal continues to work throughout every daylight hour to clear out our affected subdivisions. Secondly, an initial and thorough list of affected areas, damaged infrastructure, and other repair needs, is being prepared to send to Governor Abbott on Friday, September 29th. Third, as Commissioner Meyers spoke about at the meetings, Fort Bend County will not be waiting for federal studies. This County will soon be conducting its own targeted studies to examine what changes need to be made to our drainage systems. Starting next week, your direct input will be solicited for help in identifying areas of concern and reviewing needs - watch our social media and website for more announcements and to participate.
Finally, Commissioner Andy Meyers has been invited to personally testify at a Texas House Appropriations Committee hearing on Hurricane Harvey, this Monday, October 2nd. This Appropriations Committee hearing will examine the use of state and federal funds by state agencies and local governments responding to Harvey and will identify opportunities to maximize the use of federal funds to reduce the impact of future natural disasters. They will also identify the need for state resources to respond to Harvey relief and recovery efforts, as well as opportunities for state investment in infrastructure projects aimed at reducing the impact of future natural disasters. Commissioner Meyers will testify for the following items: the need for the drainage studies inside the Barker Reservoir and along the Brazos River, the erosion and siltation problems in Willow Fork and the Buffalo Bayou watersheds, the need for additional downstream water conveyance to protect homes in Fort Bend County, and the urgent need for additional mobility and transportation routes to help residents avoid or escape flooded roads and highways during times of inundation.
If you or your neighbors wish to receive these updates directly to your inbox, please visit this link to sign up for continued Harvey recovery updates directly from our local officials.
- Welcome, Announcements & Introductions by Commissioner Meyers (jump to time)
- Marcus Harman with FEMA Individual Assistance Program (jump to time)
- Potential Buyout Options (jump to time)
- Update on State of Texas response to Hurricane Harvey by Representative John Zerwas (jump to time)
- Update on Federal response to Hurricane Harvey: Ty Petty Congressman Pete Olson’s Office (jump to time)
- Engineers from Fort Bend County Drainage District & Willowfork Drainage District (jump to time)
- Update on Fort Bend County debris removal (jump to time)
- Q & A Begins: (jump to time)
- Question 1: “Why are some people in my neighborhood getting grants and others denied completely when we all make around the same annually? Is our income level a determining factor in FEMA’s decision making?” (jump to time)
- Question 2: “Is it true that if we are offered a loan from SBA that means we are denied assistance from FEMA? I wanted to wait to see what assistance I would get from FEMA before taking on a loan, and had no idea that by saying no to the SBA loan I would be denying any assistance.” (jump to time)
- Question 3: “Can you give a realistic timeframe for what we can expect from FEMA?” (jump to time)
- Question 4: “Is Fort Bend County offering a buyout for Canyon Gate residents?” (jump to time)
- Question 5: “What are the chances of a buy out or condemnation through an eminent domain process or inverse condemnation?” (jump to link)
- Question 6: “Is there a potential for funding or additional funding outside of FEMA that’s we're not aware of?” (jump to time)
- Question 7: “Will Fort Bend County reassess the value of my flooded property for 2018 tax purposes? (jump to time)
- Question 8: “Why were evacuation orders so tardy for residents in the Barker Reservoir area?” (jump to time)
- Question 9: “Will Texas implement legislation that requires disclosure of natural disaster risks when home is sold?” (jump to time)
- Question 10: “Why were developers permitted to purchase land in these areas to build homes?” (jump to time)
- Question 11: “Is it safe to rebuild? Any permits required in order to rebuild from State or County?” (jump to time)
- Question 12: “Was the Barker Reservoir being updated during Harvey & if so, what impact did that have on flooding?” (jump to time)
- Question 13: "What are FEMA requirements and steps for rebuilding our homes?" (jump to time)
- Question 14: “Why are SBA loans being approved for different interest rates?” (jump to time)
- Question 15: “Will I still be required to pay property taxes after this?” (jump to time)
- Question 16: “How does FEMA calculate and pay for “living expenses”? (jump to time)
- Question 17: “Why is FEMA coverage so arbitrary?” (jump to time)
- Question 18: “What improvements can be made to reservoirs/drainage & how long will it take?” (jump to time)