RECOVERY

Fort Bend County Announces Plans to Pursue Only State / Federal / County Funding for Jones Creek Watershed Flood Mitigation

No community consensus after several additional days of comments / petition gathering.

FORT BEND COUNTY - During the community meeting of residents and landowners within the Jones Creek watershed on Saturday, March 15th at the Pct. 3 J.P. Courtroom, citizens both for and against the creation or development of a Jones Creek Flood Control District requested additional time to solicit letters from the community. After a full week, it is evident that no consensus exists in the community to support creation of the district. As was promised by State Representative Dr. John Zerwas and County Commissioner Andy Meyers during the meeting, HB 4011 will no longer be pursused by Dr. Zerwas and it will not proceed further into committee hearings. This effectively kills the bill, and all county officials are in agreement with Dr. Zerwas that no further action will proceed for creation of any proposed Jones Creek district.

In January 2019, Fort Bend County made applications to the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to seek federal hazard mitigation grants for unincorporated communities who experienced significant damages from flooding over the last five years. An application was submitted for the Jones Creek watershed and is under TDEM review. Any such federal grants under the program, requires a 75% / 25% split between federal funding and the local match.

"The efforts to secure federal flood mitigation funding will continue because these residents have ongoing and immediate needs to help protect their homes and property," said Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers. "As has been discussed in multiple public meetings since 2017, there are avenues available for funding these mitigation projects and current TDEM applications require a 25% local match. In securing a local match, most Fort Bend County citizens have three boxes that are checked off - 1) the possibility of the State Legislature making an appropriation, 2) the possibility of a countywide flood bond, or 3) funds from a special district. In the last week, the community residents I've heard from can only agree on checking off the first two boxes. I promised that I would only support this bill if there was consensus and there is not. HB 4011 will not proceed under any format and the County will continue pursuit of the TDEM application working towards covering a potential local match via the state or county if the application is successful."

With over 300 special districts and the large number of cities and municipalities in Fort Bend County, it is particularly difficult for the 6% of residents in unincorporated Fort Bend County who do not live in a city or a special district, to compete with the same voice and resources that special districts can utilize. However, as Commissioner Meyers and Representative Zerwas stated in the public meeting, there are several options and parallel tracks available to communities in seeking federal and state grants for flood hazard mitigation. The decision to create a flood control district and issue debt for the local match is one option used across the majority of Fort Bend County. Such a district would have required local voter approval to create and any bonded indebtedness by that district would have required a public vote in an identical process to existing special districts in the county.

Meyers said, "We have listened to a lot of passionate residents on both sides of this topic since Saturday. Since the bill notice was publicly filed, Dr. Zerwas' office had received a 30 to 1 response from residents in favor of HB 4011. During the last week, the number of opposing residents outweighed those in support as both sides of the topic weighed in. I know that they’ve contacted Dr. Zerwas’ capitol office in Austin, and after giving out my cell phone number at the meeting, I and my staff have personally talked with even more residents, many of which couldn't be at the meeting. There is no consensus, and without it, the legislative creation of a district won't happen. Residents still need help and protection from future events, so the county will continue seeking federal hazard mitigation funding through the TDEM application, and we will continue to pursue a state appropriation to help cover the local match should our application be successful."

"Our citizens in the unincorporated area deserve to have their ongoing flooding issues addressed in a meaningful and transparent way. The ability of homeowners who are outside of cities and districts, to compete against the large developer-controlled special districts, is becoming an increasing problem to address with the exploding growth and population. My office continues to look for sources of funding and legislation to support their needs and protect their homes and property."


For questions / inquiries – contact Commissioner Andy Meyers, Precinct 3 – 281.238.1400 - andy.meyers@fortbendcountytx.gov

March 16, 2019 Jones Creek Watershed Meeting

Between 120-140 people participated in the Jones Creek community meeting requested by residents of the Jones Creek watershed to discuss flood mitigation projects and the funding sources to fulfill a local match for the potential receipt of federal funding from a TDEM hazard mitigation application. The meeting was held at 10:00am at the Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace courtroom at the County North Annex.

A short presentation was made to discuss the process of the TDEM application, the powers of a proposed special district, the powers of the federal, state, and local governments to assist in flood mitigation, and the potential impact of ATLAS 14 changes upon development, flood mitigation, and the flood plain maps. That presentation is available in PDF format online via PrecinctThree.com at this link.

During the meeting, the residents asked dozens of questions that chiefly focused on the subject matter of a proposed flood control district in the Jones Creek Watershed, and the legislative bill that has been filed by Dr. Zerwas that would give voters the option to create such a district. That bill has been filed, but has not been referred to a committee or moved forward in the legislative process and Dr. Zerwas indicated that he would not do so without clear consensus from the community. The link to HB 4011 via Texas Legislature Online can be found here.

The majority of comments and questions from residents in attendance were against the creation of such a district. Copies of a large stack of signed petitions against HB 4011 were delivered to Dr. Zerwas, and multiple residents in attendance have asked for more time to collect more petitions and all the elected officials agreed to honor those requests to allow a few more days for that process.

Several residents requested an online form to register their support or opposition. That form is available via PrecinctThree.com at this link.

Multiple comments and questions were asked in regards to receiving a full list of available opportunities for public interaction and information regarding HB 4011 and other flood control discussions. Over 70 residents in attendance filled out information cards with their contact information and email addresses. The office of Commissioner Precinct 1 and Commissioner Precinct 3 promised to share the full list of those names. A full list of contact numbers was printed out and provided for meeting attendees and a full list of social media accounts for the Precinct 3 office follows at the end of this update. Additionally, Commissioner Meyers shared his personal cell phone number with meeting attendees.

Elected officials and county representatives in attendance included: State Representative Dr. John Zerwas, Commissioner Precinct 3 Andy Meyers, Commissioner Precinct 1 Chief of Staff Robert Quarles, County Attorney Roy Cordes, FBCOEM director Mark Flathouse, Drainage District Chief Engineer Mark Vogler, FBC Engineering First Assistant Rick Staigle, and other staff members from these respective offices.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Office - 281-344-9400 | Twitter | Facebook | vincent.morales@fortbendcountytx.gov

Precinct 3 Commissioner Office - 281-238-1400 | Twitter | Facebook | andy.meyers@fortbendcountytx.gov

State Representative John Zerwas - (512) 463-0657 or (888) 827-1560 | Twitter | Facebook | john.zerwas@house.texas.gov

Simonton Community Church Meeting on Bessie's Creek Flood Mitigation

On Saturday morning, a standing room only crowd met at 10am at the Simonton Community Church for a community meeting regarding flood mitigation and potential solutions and sources of funding for the Bessie's Creek watershed.

Commissioner Meyers and staff were joined by State Representative Dr. John Zerwas, as well as County Attorney Roy Cordes, Fort Bend County Drainage District Chief Engineer Mark Vogler, Fort Bend County Assistant Engineer Rick Staigle, and Scott Wieghat from Fort Bend County Road & Bridge, as well as several mayors and city council members from the watershed.

During the meeting, a short visual presentation was made to attendees and that presentation is available here in PDF format for download.

Video of the meeting was recorded and placed online on Facebook at the "Fulshear Forum" community page. Many attendees submitted written questions that were not answered in the meeting. Those questions from residents which were not answered because of the time will be answered by individual contacts by phone or email or office visits to answer all the submissions.

For any questions or to follow up on topics from the community meeting - please contact the Precinct 3 office at 281-238-1400.

FBC Commissioners Court Authorizes Study for a Barker Reservoir Levee

This afternoon, Fort Bend Commissioners Court voted unanimously to authorize our County Engineer to retain AECOM Technical Services, Inc. to conduct a high level study evaluating the feasibility and potential cost of enclosing the back side of the Barker Reservoir with a levee system.

As I stated today in court, I wish to thank County Judge Bob Hebert for his leadership in pursuing this agreement with AECOM. I support this study for several reasons but none greater than this - never again, should our citizens and property owners have to solely rely on the federal government and US Army Corps of Engineers for protection from the Barker Reservoir.

As Texans, God blessed us to live in a state where private property is the foundation of our laws and our way of life. It is my intent to determine through this study, how our property owners can be walled off and protected from the US Army Corps of Engineers and their operations in the Barker Reservoir.

There are 20 levee systems that guard thousands of lives and many billions of dollars in private property and infrastructure in Fort Bend County. Three years of record floods have proved those levees' worth many times over as they guarded our citizens from the floodwaters of the Brazos River and its tributaries. In this AECOM study, we will ask world-class engineers to perform the analysis and calculations of what can feasibly be done with a levee along the Barker Reservoir to protect private property from the operations of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Countless homeowners, flooding experts, and drainage district directors have approached me and other elected officials in recent months and asked the County to examine a lot of different options for flood mitigation. A number of these plans would be extremely helpful to us and I fully support the third reservoir in Cypress Creek, lowering the flood pool in the Barker and Addicks reservoirs, and the need for increased downstream conveyance along Buffalo Bayou. But the costs and the required time to construct these projects are high. And frankly, as a conservative Texan, I'm losing sleep at the idea of solely trusting the federal government to fully fix the messes they've made with the reservoirs. The people I do trust are the ones I stand beside right here in our community.

So when I'm asked how we can approach the Corps and the men who control the Barker Reservoir, to ask them for operational changes, more communication, and for ways they can protect us - I say that Katy homeowners can turn that premise on its head. Through this study, we want to examine what our community can do to protect ourselves from the US Army Corps of Engineers, and how a levee can be a centerpiece of that protection.

We have spent many months soliciting informal input about this concept with the Harris County Flood Control District, Stephen Costello of the City of Houston, numerous engineering firms, and directors and legal counsel from the Willow Fork Drainage District (AECOM also works closely with WFDD on engineering projects and design). In choosing AECOM, we partner with a firm that is ranked #1 in Engineering News Record's "Top 500 Design Firms" for eight consecutive years and has been named one of Fortune magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies" for four consecutive years.

Once the study has been completed and reviewed this summer, we will be giving you the results and analyzing next steps in partnership with the community and other government entities. AECOM has 90 days to perform the study as you can read from the official Agreement for Professional Consulting Services, which I'm making available to you here on this website. I would draw your attention to Exhibit A at the end of the PDF where you can view the Project Overview, Scope of Work, Assumptions, and compensation matrix that the County and AECOM have agreed upon.

Fort Bend County Drainage District Receives $52 Million of Federal Funds for Emergency Watershed Repairs

NRCS Funding Will Repair Damages to Bayous and Creeks Damaged By Harvey

KATY, Texas — Fort Bend County Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers is pleased to announce that the Fort Bend County Drainage District has been awarded several multi-million dollar disbursements from the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Program. These funds will be used to address construction costs and technical assistance for repairs and restoration to Precinct 3 bayous and creeks that were severely damaged from Hurricane Harvey.

The NRCS funds total over $52 million dollars, awarded between eight different damage survey reports for the following watersheds: the Cane Island Branch of Willow Creek, Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou and Oyster Creek. This funding will cover 90 percent of the construction cost and Fort Bend County will cover the remaining 10 percent.

"In the wake of Harvey's destruction, Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and the Fort Bend County Drainage District have prioritized many miles of Precinct 3 drainage channels for repair and construction," said Commissioner Meyers. "These funds from the Emergency Watershed Program will be carefully used to maximize and leverage the work that our own departments have been undertaking over the last seven months. Indeed, we hope that we will be able to obtain additional funding from FEMA to broaden the scope of work even further to various other channels damaged by Harvey."

Fort Bend Commissioners Court voted to accept the first agreement for the Cane Island Branch damage survey report on Tuesday, April 10th. The Fort Bend County Drainage District has already obtained an engineer for the initial project and is working towards finalizing an agreement with a contractor to execute the scope of work. The Drainage District staff have been working for several months to document, apply, and respond to the NRCS program to expand the scope for erosion repair along these watersheds, and especially for Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou, all the way to the Grand Parkway.

Commissioner Meyers stated, "I wish to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the Fort Bend County Drainage District, particularly by Chief Engineer Mark Vogler and Project Coordinator Adam Wright, to get us to this point of secured funding. The amount of damage and subsequent documentation that is required to satisfy federal funding requirements is a significant challenge and they have done our residents a tremendous service through this work. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the execution of these multiple agreements with combined efforts from various county departments and my office."

February 6 FBC Commissioners Court Recap

There was a packed house and a lengthy agenda this week at Fort Bend County Commissioners Court. The court took action on a bundle of essential decisions ranging from flooding block grant funding to 2017 mobility bond engineering selections.

The agenda's first public item was the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program concerning infrastructure and housing applications for 2016 floods. One Richmond citizen stood to comment in favor of increased attention and funding for continued flooding problems from three years of historic floods.

Next, the Court moved into agendas for the county Drainage District, among other things: approving a historic site property tax exemption for the Darst Home in Richmond, a 10-year tax abatement for an economic redevelopment zone in Needville, and two additional equipment expenditures for drainage maintenance within the County.

The Court then completed consecutive agendas for several of the Fort Bend County Appraisal Districts. The purpose of these agendas were to outline the terms of the County's assistance in providing administrative support for the districts. Court also took actions to install community-requested solar-powered speed signs at locations within Cinco Ranch. These speed signs are funded through CAD funds generated from local sales and use taxes, instead of property taxes from the county's general fund.

As the Court returned to the full agenda, they approved specific items relevant to Precinct 3 constituents, including: a traffic control plan for Section 10 of Harvest Green subdivision, the reappointment of commissioners to the Board of Emergency Services District #1, and the administrative steps for the installation of solar-powered radar signs within the requested areas. The commissioners also approved several items for the Vanbrooke development north of the city of Fulshear along FM 359, including: thoroughfare plans, TxDOT participation in improvements to FM 359, and plats for subdivision roads and lots within the community.

Other noteworthy Court approved items elsewhere in the county merit inclusion for this report. In Precinct 4, Commissioner James Patterson made a special point to thank FBC Elections for their work in organizing an upcoming election of five directors for Levee Improvement District #7 in the New Territory community - an area where unbelievably destructive flooding erosion has already forced emergency repairs to the Jodie Stavinoha Bridge on the Grand Parkway. LID #7 faces further critical decisions regarding the future of their flood control system to protect property from the power of the Brazos River.

The Court also approved action for a Health & Human Services grant application to the State of Texas for the county's FY2019 Immunization Program and a Public Transportation grant application to the Federal Transit Administration for funds totaling $4,206,855 with $899,107 in local match funding, and $663,549 in transportation development credits in lieu of local match.

Finally, as is part of their regular fiduciary duties, the Court approved over two dozen purchasing items including several contracts related to the construction of Phase 2 of the FM 1093 / Westpark extension, and approved recommendations for the selections of the most highly qualified providers of engineering and surveying services for the 2017 Mobility Projects which voters passed overwhelmingly in last November's elections. The County will now enter into negotiations with these selected engineering and surveying firms to expedite construction of the voter-approved bond projects, so we can get our citizens moving!


Fort Bend Commissioners Court meets every 1st, 2nd, and 4th Tuesday of the month at 1:00pm in the historic Courthouse in Richmond, TX. All meetings are open to the public. The full agenda and video of the Court's meeting are available online from our county website. For any questions, please contact our office at 281-238-1400. The Precinct 3 Commissioners Office is located at the County Annex at 22333 Grand Corner Drive in Katy. This and more information about Precinct 3 can be found online - www.PrecinctThree.com

January 23 FBC Commissioners Court Recap

The January 23rd regular meeting of Fort Bend County Commissioners Court held several items of note for Precinct 3. As many of you know, our County Commissioners also comprise the board of the Fort Bend Drainage District and the major item on our agenda yesterday afternoon was to approve a statement of qualifications to work on accelerating the desilting of Willow Fork of Buffalo Bayou in the vicinity of Fry Road, eastward into Barker Reservoir. Fort Bend County is providing LIDAR data and cross-section drainage reports to an outside vendor who will add a greater number of trucks and daily capacity to the desilting work.

Several other items were approved by the Court, all of which will address mobility needs for residents of Precinct 3. These include:

  • Acceptance of a 45 mph speed limit for Jordan Road between FM 359 north of Fulshear, and the Waller County line.
  • Authorization to purchase a small parcel of land for Phase 2 of the FM 1093/Westpark Extension west of Spring Green / FM 723.
  • Authorization to purchase three parcels of land for the expansion of Katy Flewellen Road.
  • Finalizing contractual obligations and deadlines for the construction of Cane Island Parkway, Phase 1 between FM 1463 and I-10.
  • Finalizing one of our last contracts for engineering services on the construction of Spring Green Roundabout near Crossover Road and Katy Flewellen.

The full agenda and video of the Court's meeting are available online from our county website.

As we undertake an extremely busy year in the county, let me say again that it is truly an honor to work to serve you. My staff and I are available to you at 281-238-1400 and our office is located at the County Annex at 22333 Grand Corner Drive in Katy. Much more information about our Precinct can be found on my website - www.PrecinctThree.com

Moving forward in 2018, my staff and I will be issuing regular updates for our residents on the work of Fort Bend County Commissioners Court meetings. The Court meets every 1st, 2nd, and 4th Tuesday of the month at 1:00pm in the historic Courthouse in Richmond, TX. All meetings are open to the public.

Mucking, Cleanup, Tips, Tools & More

Mucking = removing wet carpets, flooring, dry wall, mud, or other items to prepare a flooded home for drying out and renovations. We know many of you are in the process of doing this right now, or hoping to begin the process soon. The following information will hopefully help you with the process or clearing your home & removing debris. I have also included information on what to do with your car, if you need to find a temporary home, what assistance is available & who to contact, etc.

NEED HELP? / WANT TO HELP? : Checkout the following websites:

CLEANUP TIPS AND TOOLS

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  • * Shut off the power at the main circuit breaker before you start. Don’t skip this step it’s not worth it. Turn off gas at each individual appliance. Locate the main water cut off in case you damage a water pipe.
  • Clean out & then duct tape your refrigerator before moving it. do not open. It will be a biological hazard quick. If possible, use metal screws to screw it closed and get it to the side of the road.
  • Cut your carpet into small sheets, the water weight will prevent you from moving large pieces.
  • Save the drywall for the end. Carpet covered in mud and drywall is even heavier than straight-up wet carpet.
  • If the water level reached your roof, your ductwork is probably filled with water. Be careful taking it down.
  • Fort Bend County debris pick-up has started & will continue for as long as needed. Make sure you have debris as close to the curb as possible, and separated into piles (see attached images). Our trucks will not pick-up trash bag, so set aside trash for regular garbage removal.

OTHER HELPFUL INFO:

ALSO:

  • Did you know you can track when & where Fort Bend County is spraying for mosquitos? Check out the map here: http://bit.ly/2xanSta
  • Plan to always wear mosquito repellant when you are cleaning your yard/houses. Standing water breeds mosquitoes
  • Lost immunization records for students displaced by Harvey can be accessed online here: http://dshs.texas.gov/immunize/
  • HAR has created an awesome tool that matches those with temporary homes available to those who in need for free/reduced cost. Find more information here: http://bit.ly/2gQoPjW
  • If your vehicle has been towed in Fort Bend, you can call the Fort Bend Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch at 281-341-4665 to locate

IF YOUR VEHICLE HAS FLOODED:

  • Don't drive vehicles damaged by floodwater until they have been inspected by a qualified technician. It is easy to see how floodwater damages a car's upholstery and carpeting, but difficult to see damage to a car's engine, transmission and electrical components.
  • Don't try to start your car if it's flooded. Starting your vehicle could cause more damage to the engine.
  • Document your damage by taking pictures. When you visit with your claims adjuster, show them the pictures you have.
  • Let the interior dry out. Take out floor mats and trunk mat & seats if possible
  • Vehicle damage caused by flooding is typically covered by a comprehensive auto policy, if your vehicle has sustained damage, start the claim process by contacting your agent, or filing online.

Report home damage, and find more information at 281-342-6185 or online via FBCOEM.org

Help take pictures of lost pets so they can be reunited with family members & bottle feed kittens & puppies. Contact: barbara.vass@fortbendcountytx.gov or 281-342-1512.

Water Quality Not Affected In Cinco MUDs

Per Board of Cinco MUD 1 and its operator, Severn Trent

Re: Cinco MUD #5-8 (except Bayou Oaks and Hunter’s Glen)

Severn Trent has been making wastewater system repairs as the flood waters have receded. Yesterday, the crews accessed the inoperable lift station and pumps servicing Cinco MUD 5-8. Severn Trent has been able to access the sewer plant today and is onsite making repairs. They have brought in generators to begin restoration of pumping capabilities. The best estimation for release of the abbreviated usage requirements is today, September 7th. Severn Trent is evaluating the ability of the plant to determine if restrictions can be lifted. Be prepared to have restrictions beyond Thursday. All other Cinco MUDs can continue normal use of sewer facilities.

In Cinco MUD 5-8 (except Bayou Oaks and Hunters Glen), please continue to use toilets and showers as normal. Limitations on the use of dishwashers, washing machines and faucets continue. Do not use bathtubs. If your toilet is backing up, please call Severn Trent at 281-398-8211.

Water remains safe to drink in Cinco MUD 1-14.

Because the plant was down for several days, Severn Trent was required by the Texas Water Commission to provide notice to the public via the media and counties that there could be a potential overflow. This overflow does not affect water quality as the water wells are a great distance from the sewer treatment plant. The water has remained safe to use in Cinco MUD #1-10 throughout Hurricane Harvey and the aftermath.

Updates for Canyon Gate Subdivision

Hello everyone, Constable Thompson has done a great job keeping everyone updated as he has information. Wanted to pass along a few updates on accessing your home & evacuation orders. We are waiting for the official word from OEM on removing the mandatory evacuation order.

In the meantime our law enforcement agencies have made it possible for residents to access the area & their homes. They are planning to move barricades to remaining high water points & have been allowing larger vehicles to pass near Mason Rd.

If you plan on visiting your home today, please make sure to have your DL, or ID card or some sort of proof that says you live there incase you're asked.

We know some homes have reported broken windows & earlier our Constable reported that broken windows are likely to be caused by the force of the flood waters.

Areas in the neighborhood still have high water & our law enforcement has been escorting residents to their property since yesterday.

We wanted to post a few things to keep in mind as you go to check on your home.

  • Wear protective clothing & boots if you're going to be dealing with high water. The water all over the greater Houston area is a public health concern.
  • Do not turn on electrical appliances or AC units. (If you want your home to air out, open up windows.
  • If you smell gas, leave immediately & call 911.
  • Make sure you document your home/ property damage with pictures if possible.

Also wanted to post a quick update on FEMA. Yesterday in Commissioner's Court Judge Hebert broke down the process for FEMA & how the County, our state reps & congressmen are working on requesting waivers that would apply to your community. If you were declined, have questions or need help Congressman Pete Olson's office is 281-494-2690 or you can email his casework director at Joseph.d'eramo@mail.house.gov

We're here if you have any questions. You can contact me through NextDoor or emily.hodges@fortbendcountytx.gov

Update for Residents Affected by the Barker Reservoir Flooding

Fort Bend County is working with U.S. Congressman Pete Olson and U.S. Senators Cornyn and Cruz to seek additional help from FEMA for our residents impacted by Harvey, particularly those behind the Barker Reservoir.

Per County Judge Bob Hebert, the immediate actions we want to obtain are administrative or legislative remedies from FEMA to make our residents eligible for all available Federal assistance including the programs administered by FEMA. Further assistance requests are also in the works, and you can expect more Harvey recovery updates and news in the upcoming days and weeks from both legislative and administrative actions at the federal level.

To assist local residents in step-by-step actions to speed up recovery and restoration, Congressman Pete Olson's office has provided a comprehensive document available at: http://bit.ly/2xQ8zno & http://www.precinctthree.com/harvey

For now there are immediate steps that individuals can take to begin documenting and applying for recovery. You can contact any of the Congressman Olson's offices to ask for additional assistance with these resources: https://olson.house.gov/contact-us

Fort Bend County will continue to press forward with our efforts in seeking additional funds and remedies to help our community recover, and the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management continues to reach out to the community for FEMA registration assistance.

They can be contacted at 281-342-6185 or online via FBCOEM.org