The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board
of Directors today voted unanimously to approve a $1.2 million request by the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, Inc. to establish a training center for coastal habitat restoration and conservation in Galveston County.
“The training program will address worker health and safety, restoration science and technology, conservation land use planning and monitoring the effectiveness of restoration projects,” said the staff report.
The board approved a $500,000 request from the Sheridan Water Supply Corporation in Colorado County in conjunction with the replacement of a temporary package wastewater treatment plant with a permanent facility and related collection system improvements.
The board authorized staff to enter into interlocal contracts with the Galveston Housing Authority, Airline Improvement District, Near Northside Management District, the City of Hempstead and the NASA Area Management District for the receipt of matching funds for Livable Centers Studies.
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were unanimous with Brazoria County Commissioner Stacy Adams, Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark, Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman, Deer Park Council Member Thane Harrison, Friendswood Council Member Bob Holbert, Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, Texas City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney and Houston Mayor Annise Parker absent. Parker was represented at the meeting by Houston City Council Member Sue Lovell, her alternate member.
Executive Director Jack Steele reported on the Texas Legislature.
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“As you know, we’ll have lots to look at, lots to do, lots to monitor in Austin now,” Steele said, advising the board of Senate Bill 336 by Senator Mario Gallagos. “As near as I can figure out, it would require Harris County to withdraw from H-GAC.”
Steele said the bill would give communities within Harris County the option to remain with H-GAC or join a new Harris County organization.
“Is it appropriate for me to disavow all knowledge of this?” asked Harris County Judge Ed Emmett to the laughter of the other members.
“This is a sort of grudge situation,” Steele said, recalling similar legislation in the past session. “My apologies to all of you that time and effort will have to be spent on this.”
“This is going to be a very good year to play defense,” said H-GAC Chair Kerry Neves.
Steele noted that the H-GAC General Assembly Annual Meeting will be held on February 25 at the Westin Galleria with Congressman Kevin Brady as the featured speaker.
“He is right at the center of a great deal of the economic debate and discussion that is going to be going on in the new Congress,” Steele said.
In a ceremony following the board meeting Neves and Director of Community and Environmental Planning Jeff Taebel presented awards by the Parks and Natural Areas Subcommittee.
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For additional information on the awards