Started in August 2018 as a collaborative effort between Commissioner Meyers, and Constable Thompson, the Precinct 3 Motorist Assistance Program is the only program of its kind in Fort Bend County, and Constable Wayne Thompson is one of only two constables offices in the entire State of Texas to offer this service to the community!
Commissioner Meyers met with Westheimer Lakes HOA this week to discuss various mobility projects such as 1093 and the Texas Heritage Parkway, and other Fort Bend County Precinct 3 topics like the proposed budget, and the upcoming flood mitigation bond.
To invite Commissioner Meyers to your next community meeting contact 281-238-1400
When choosing a home, one of the determining factors for families is how close the schools are for their children. That's why Precinct 3 has focused on creating more direct routes for our kids to walk and bike to school every day. One of the recent partnerships we've led is to pay for 50% of the costs of mid-block crosswalks across the heavily populated areas of Cinco Ranch and the Katy area. This will open up new, safer paths for our kids and more awareness for our local motorists. Best of all - no property taxes are being used to fund these improvements! All of the funding will come from sales tax dollars that otherwise would have gone to the City of Houston and be spent outside our community!
With all of the new schools opening up this year, Precinct 3 has been installing more solar-powered flashing school zone signals in school zone areas as well as upgrading signals in existing intersections for the 2019-2020 school year. Please remember to drive carefully and courteously when around our schools, obey crossing guards, and STAY OFF THE CELL PHONES. We can all do our part to protect our kids!
Commissioner Meyers is pleased to announce that TxDOT has agreed to MOVE UP the construction of the 3rd inside lanes of the Grand Parkway by several years!
You may remember back in April, when the Houston Chronicle ran a story detailing Commissioner Meyers work to accelerate the timetable on building the additional lanes . In recent weeks and months, Commissioner Meyers has held several meetings with the top brass of the Houston District office and together, worked out a plan to immediately begin design with a goal of starting construction at least four years ahead of schedule. The funding on this project is being carried by TxDOT through the regional Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and we here on the Fort Bend County portion of the road are also working on additional improvements to SH 99 for further mobility enhancement on the main lanes of traffic (more exciting details coming soon.)
TxDOT has already put out requests for bids on the design work of these additional lanes and the engineering community is rapidly responding to compete for the project.
The scope of the project will be an additional third lane in each direction from FM 1093 / Westpark Tollway all the way north to I-10 - a distance of nearly six miles. These lanes will be built within TxDOT's existing Right-of-Way and drainage and we know that some of the existing overpasses are already wide enough to accommodate a third lane of traffic, something that will help speed the project to final completion.
After a recent environmental impact analysis, TxDOT will be including additional sound walls in the design and construction of this project. Commissioner Meyers has repeatedly voiced concerns over sound mitigation in the area and have asked them to consider pavement grooving in the new lanes to further reduce decibel levels of traffic for our surrounding neighborhoods. (Note: TxDOT will no longer apply pavement grooving to existing roadway).
Special thanks goes out to Quincy Allen and his staff at TxDOT, for their partnership in accelerating this construction. These lanes have been sorely needed for many years and any further delay was not going to be acceptable. TxDOT has stepped up and responded to our requests and Commissioner Meyers couldn't be more excited for our community.
Stay tuned for more updates and information on the timetable as the work progresses, we'll keep you informed.
This week, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court voted to call a Bond Election on November 5, 2019 to consider Fort Bend County Flood Projects. It took a lot of hard effort and a lot of united voices, but Commissioner Meyers is convinced that addressing our NEEDS over our WANTS is the right thing to do. The proposed bond amount totals $82,919,661.
A detailed breakdown of every single project is provided from the Fort Bend County Auditor here.
This bond is all about meeting the NEEDS of the community with a program that covers the costs of flood mitigation and repairing damages caused by years of historic flooding. Commissioner Meyers has long consider it to be the highest priority, and when we launched the Precinct Three survey, he was confident we would have community buy-in on our proposal for prioritizing flood mitigation.
With over 81% support from our 296 responses - Flood mitigation was the topic that drew the most public support. With that support in mind, Commissioners Court ultimately worked in agreement to change the focus of the bond program away from facilities/parks to flood mitigation. Commissioner Meyers particularly would like to thank Commissioner Vincent Morales and Commissioner Ken DeMerchant for heading up the long process of the review that led us to the final bond proposal. Their hard work is very appreciated.
A particular note to call attention to in this bond program - is the allotted $38.4 million dollars to provide local match amounts for federal hazard mitigation grants that are currently under review by the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) and FEMA. The total value of these project applications is $153.5 million, meaning that the county can potentially leverage $115.1 million in Federal dollars (75% of the costs) by guaranteeing $38.4 million (25% of the costs) in local match amounts through the bond.
As of today - TDEM has not yet announced to us or to any other county competing for those 75/25 grant funds, which of the 2019 project applications has made the cut. Therefore, any local match funds approved by Fort Bend County voters would only be accessed if there are successful federal grant funds approved through TDEM/FEMA. All projects which successfully make it through the TDEM application process have a time period to perform the engineering study and design that is then reviewed, approved, and permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This time period would also allow the county to make an application to the State of Texas for covering the costs of matching funds through the money pulled out of the state's Rainy Day Fund during the last legislative session – an opportunity to further reduce the amount needed from a county bond for the local match.
This November's ballot will also feature a state constitutional election that asks voters to weigh in on creating the mechanisms for the distribution of that state funding for local match amounts for flood mitigation, so there will be several opportunities for voters to make a decision about how to handle these proposals.
Many people have commented to Commissioner Meyers about the City of Sugar Land, and their decision to move forward in calling a Bond Election (a decision happening tonight (Wednesday 8/14/2019) at 5:00 PM in a special meeting of their City Council.) During our process and research, Commissioner Meyers reached out to Mayor Joe Zimmerman about his efforts to include flood mitigation in a county bond proposal and appreciates that the City of Sugar Land is also prioritizing their drainage and mitigation needs. One of the items that is broken down in the county’s flood mitigation project list, is the costs of the county-wide watershed study which will be completed next year. Commissioner Meyers is well aware that it takes regional solutions to address these problems, and is grateful for ongoing relationships with city and special district leaders across the county and state.
As always, Commissioner Meyers is available for any questions about the county's flood mitigation bond, and there will be opportunities for the public to learn more at a series of community meetings over the next few months. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions at 281-238-1400.
A Note from Commissioner Meyers...
At Tuesday’s Commissioner’s Court meeting, we voted to propose the Fiscal Year 2020 tax rates for both the County and Drainage District. I am pleased to announce that we have agreed to reduce the overall combined tax rate from 46.4 cents (per $100 in valuation) to 46 cents (per $100 in valuation). A quick breakdown of the tax rates:
Fort Bend County General Fund - $0.3435
Road and Bridge Fund - $0.016
OPEB Trust - $0.01
Interest and Sinking Fund - $0.0752
Total County Rate - $0.4447
Drainage District Maint. Fund - $0.0135
Drainage District Interest and Sinking Fund - $0.0018
Total Drainage District Tax Rate - $0.0153
TOTAL OVERALL TAX RATE - $0.46
Before I go any further, I want to address the Drainage District tax rate. This is an overall reduction from last year’s tax rate, and, unlike years previous, it includes an I&S rate. With the upcoming flood mitigation bond in November, we needed to create a debt fund for the Drainage District. Through the counsel of the County Auditor, this strategy gives us the ability to now fully fund projects in an expedient and efficient manner, whereas in previous years we had to fund our various major projects through a “pay as you go” system. The drainage district tax rate now gives the district more flexibility and allows the district to fund projects immediately instead of having to divide projects up as funding becomes available.
The court will hold public hearings for the tax rate on August 28th at 5:30 and September 3rd at 1:00.
The court will hold public hearings for the budget on September 9th at 5:30 and September 10th at 1:00.
All hearings will be at the Historic Courthouse, located at 401 Jackson Street in Richmond.
Through this reduction in the overall tax rate, I believe the Fort Bend County taxpayers get a huge win. Throughout my time as your Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Commissioner, I’ve fought strongly to reduce your taxes. I’m proud of this court’s willingness to reduce the tax rate again, and I’m proud that this county is in a financial position to allow for continued tax cuts.
Thank you to all who completed the Pecan Grove community survey. The results were emailed on Wednesday August 7th, to the POA boards who requested that our office conduct the resident survey. The results include only the verified residents of both Pecan Grove and the Grove communities, and can be viewed here: https://precinctthree.com/pgpoasurvey
During this annual sales tax holiday, you can buy most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks (sold for less than $100) tax free from a Texas store or from an online or catalog seller doing business in Texas. In most cases, you do not need to give the seller an exemption certificate to buy qualifying items tax free.
This year’s sales tax holiday begins Friday, Aug. 9, and goes through midnight Sunday, Aug. 11.
The sales tax exemption applies only to qualifying items you buy during the sales tax holiday. Items you buy before or after the sales tax holiday do not qualify for exemption, and there is no tax refund available.
More details on qualifying items via the Texas Comptroller's website here.
Commissioner Meyers and Congressman Pete Olson recently toured the on-going Buffalo Bayou desilting operation that Fort Bend County is currently undertaking.
This week, Commissioner Meyers was honored to join first responders & treat them to lunch at Republic BBQ at the Redneck Country Club. Along with the dozens of brave men and women from Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, local constables offices, DPS patrol officers, city police and more, Commissioner Meyers was also joined by radio host Michael Berry and Republic BBQ pitmaster Andre.
Thank you to all of these public servants for their daily work in our community!
The following is a note from Commissioner Meyers regarding the upcoming 2019 Fort Bend County Facilities Bond.
Good news, the commissioners court bond workshop today came to a consensus, and I couldn't be more pleased about it.
The sole topic and chief priority of any 2019 Fort Bend County bond referendum will be FLOOD MITIGATION through the Fort Bend County Drainage District. And the total bond package will be a greatly reduced number of approximately $74.5 million dollars that covers the local match required to leverage $233 million in Flood projects primarily funded from Federal grants (FEMA, USDA, & FHWA). These projects were established to fund damages incurred during the 2015 Flood, the 2016 Floods, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017, as well as some ongoing projects under repair and maintenance by the drainage district.
Without going too deep into the procedural weeds, I now expect that the court will make a series of votes over the next two weeks to call for a November bond referendum to be placed on the ballot.
Again - there will NOT be a long list of facility projects for the November 2019 bond election. Unfortunately, there won't be a list of mobility projects either. But by getting the public on board and engaged in this process, we have successfully worked to prioritize our highest need.
I'm grateful that my fellow commissioners joined with me in this sentiment at today's workshop. Commissioner DeMerchant specifically referenced the citizens survey and input we received in Precinct 3 from our residents, as part of the decision making leading to this move that focuses the bond package squarely on our flood mitigation needs.
I'd like to personally recognize and call attention to the work of Commissioner Vincent Morales and Commissioner Ken R. DeMerchant, for what they have done to spearhead this effort through the last weeks and months. They have stayed very active and engaged with not only each other, but with the County Auditor Ed Sturdivant and the County Budget Officer Pamela Gubbels.
At today's workshop, it was evident how much they have all done to perfect the research and financial planning of this new bond proposal. It was good to hear the continuity in effort and commitment from KP George Fort Bend County Judge, pledging to continue our county's focus on flood prevention, just as previous County Judge Bob Hebert also directed the court while these '15/'16/'17 floods were occurring. Commissioner Grady Prestage was unable to join us in person today due to a family matter out of state, but he contributed to the meeting via FaceTime and made several suggestions that we will work to incorporate to the bond package in its final form.
More details will be finalized in the next two weeks - stay tuned.
Commissioner, George P. Bush of the Texas General Land Office (the state agency tasked with leading the disaster recovery housing mission after Hurricane Harvey) recently published an op-ed in Politico, talking about two important ways that our state and federal government can innovate for future disasters in the lessons learned from the aftermath and bureaucracy of Harvey.
Commissioner Meyers applauds Commissioner Bush for publicly identifying these policy recommendations and wholeheartedly agrees with his approach to be more inclusive of state and local government authorities who are able and ready to assist disaster victims. Federal changes to these regulations will allow Fort Bend County much greater speed and responsiveness if we are not shut out of the information sharing process.
The article states that there are two relatively easy steps federal leaders could take now to drastically improve the short-term disaster housing mission:
Congress should amend the Stafford Act to remove the word “temporary” from the requirements, therefore allowing cost-effective, permanent resources to house displaced residents.
FEMA should amend the application for assistance to allow people to voluntarily make their data available shareable with their state and local government authorities."
On the one-year anniversary after landfall, Commissioner Bush released a lessons-learned report, Hurricane Harvey: Texas at Risk, with policy recommendations for local, state and federal officials to improve the disaster recovery process.
For more information, or to read the full article click here: https://politi.co/2Y804ot
One of Commissioner Meyers top priorities is working with Precinct 3 HOA and MUD boards on projects that benefit the community. Earlier this week, we had crews in Kelliwood trimming the trees along Fry Road. This project came together after a meeting between Commissioner Meyers and Kelliwood HOA Board Members’ Nicole Lambert and Chris Fenner. The tree-trimming was paid for without the use of property tax funds, with money that would otherwise be collected and spent by the City of Houston and is another great example of the partnerships we have with our HOA and MUD boards.
UPDATE: Results from the recent POA requested Pecan Grove Community impact survey can be viewed here: https://precinctthree.com/pgpoasurvey
Per the request of BOTH neighborhood HOA’s, Commissioner Meyers invites residents of the Pecan Grove community to voice their opinion on potential options for reducing traffic congestion on Plantation Drive. The survey is embedded below the image. If you have trouble accessing the survey on this website, you can complete it here: http://bit.ly/2Md1hnk
A note from Commissioner Meyers:
Great things are happening between Fort Bend County and our local MUDs through our outstanding partnerships! This past week, I met with Cinco MUD 12 Board President Dana Cleland and the MUD's legal counsel, Steve Robinson, to work out final details of the joint venture to build additional turn lanes on Cinco Ranch Blvd. at SH 99 / Grand Parkway.
When complete, these projects will add right turn lanes in both the eastbound and westbound lanes of Cinco Ranch Blvd. at SH 99. The MUD has agreed to contribute up to $550,000 toward these improvements, contingent upon the work being accomplished within a calendar year of the agreement. FBC Commissioners Court recently voted to approve the work for the management & engineering for right turn lanes on Cinco Ranch Boulevard at SH 99. When complete, these will add dedicated right turn lanes on both the eastbound and westbound side of Cinco Ranch Boulevard as illustrated in the map below.
This is not the only partnership between us for the community's benefit! Coming up in the very near future, we hope to announce the approval of an agreement between the county and Cinco MUD 12 for the donation of 60 mature live oak trees to the MUD. As part of our ongoing work to provide trees from Bates Allen Park to the community, we're excited to be able to make this happen through our work with the MUD and their engineers at AECOM. More details to come soon!