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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors
by Jim Guidry
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Houston-Galveston Area Council today voted unanimously to "release for public comment" the proposed Community Development Block Grant Second Round Regional Allocation Formula August 2010 Method Of Distribution that had previously been approved unanimously by the H-GAC Hurricane Ike Recovery Committee.
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"Housing advocates filed an administrative complaint with HUD against the State of Texas," H-GACV Housing and Economic Development Coordinator Chuck Wimple reminded the board.  "We got a large infusion of housing dollars and actually our infrastructure, our non-housing dollars, were reduced slightly."

"We are getting less funding for non-housing that we got in Round One," noted Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark. "I think that's disgraceful."

"This is the opportunity for the public to weigh in and have their say," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.  "I've had quite a number of people who have expressed great frustration to my office, say , 'Is this a disaster recovery (program) or is this a housing program?'"

H-GAC President Kerry Neves noted that at the last meeting of the Hurricane Ike Recovery Committee Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia was elected chair and Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski was elected vice chair.

The board voted to lease approximately 3,120 square feet of additional office space in the building at 3555 Timmons Lane that currently houses the H-GAC, but the vote was not unanimous.  League City City Council Member Mick Phalen, who was opposed, questioned the $20 per square foot price for the lease, which H-GAC staff said is competitive in the Greenway Plaza area of Houston.
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"I would suggest that you come down to League City," Phalen said.  "The rate is much lower down there."

"Truth is, if we went to League City or Huntsville or Horton, the economics would be different," Steele said.  "We just have to recognize that there is a location cost associated with being centrally located."

"And I would say League City is right between Galveston and Houston" Phalen said.

Executive Director Jack Steele and Director of Human Services Rodney Bradshaw reported on a contract with the Gulf Coast Workforce Board to assist aerospace workers whose jobs are in jeopardy because of cuts in the human spaceflight program.
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Steele noted that some of the concerns may have been alleviated by legislation sponsored by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison last week, "but at this point, we can't tell."

Texas City City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney, who works for United Space Alliance, spoke in support of the H-GAC program.

"This program has been in place for a little while," Haney said.  "People are going, they're getting their resumes updated, they're having classes to try to help people prepare for some other career."

All other agenda items were approved with unanimous votes. Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald, Wharton County Commissioner Chris King, Friendswood City Council Member Michael Barker, Houston City Council Member Anne Cluttterbuck, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, La Porte City Council Member Chuck Engleken, Jr. and Missouri City Council Member Bobby Marshall were absent. 




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