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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors
by Jim Guidry
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting the Bacteria Reduction Implementation Plan developed by a steering committee composed of government, business and community leaders “with a common goal of developing a plan for reducing bacteria in area waterways. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer

Director of Community and Environmental Planning Jeff Taebel explained that the committee, known as the Bacteria Implementation Group, or BIG, includes representatives of city and county governments, resource agencies, business and agriculture interests, conservation and professional organizations, watershed groups and the public.

“H-GAC facilitates the BIG and development of the implementation plan,” Taebel said.

The board voted to authorize staff to negotiate with CORE Conceptions for expansion of the Together Against the Weather Program.  Glenda Joe of Great Wall Enterprises had objected to the ranking of three groups that responded to a request for proposals, but chose not to pursue the matter after staff explained that the protest “did not identify any irregularities or non-compliance with H-GAC’s procurement policies”.

The board received a report on the waning days of the Texas Legislature. Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

“The good news is there is not much time left in the legislature,” said Houston City Council Member Anne Clutterbuck, who is vice chair of the H-GAC Legislative Committee.  “The bad news is there is not much time left in the legislature.”

Jack Steele reviewed the status of pending legislation that could impact the H-GAC and its member entities.

“The House and Senate Conference Committee met and did pass out recommendations that can go to the floor on roughly 50 percent of the state budget,” Steele reported.  “And that is all of the state budget except secondary education and higher education.”

He said the H-GAC will remain vigilant in Austin.

“We have to remember that it’s not over until it’s over and even when it’s over it’s not necessarily over,” Steele said.

Steele reported to the board that there has been “solid movement” in the hurricane recovery area, particularly in regard to housing recovery.

“We are actually beginning to see some housing units completed,” he said.

“Galveston County would have more houses built than what are on this list if it were not for the holdup at TDRA,” said Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark.  “They’re very slow at giving final approval for us to move forward.”

All agenda items were approved.  Agenda

All votes were unanimous, with Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Harris County Commissioner Jack Morman, Deer Park Council Member Thane Harrison, Friendswood Council Member Bill Holbert, Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, Texas City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney, Stafford Council Member Cecil Willis, and Meadows Place Alderman Terry Henley absent and not represented by alternates at the meeting.

Austin County Judge Carolyn Bilski was absent but she was represented by Commissioner Randy Reichardt, her alternate member. Wharton County Commissioner Chris King was absent but his alternate, County Judge Phillip Spenrath, participated in the meeting. Houston Mayor Annise Parker was not in attendance but she was represented by her alternate, Council Member Sue Lovell. Lake Jackson Council Member Bob Jeter was represented by Mayor Bob Sipple.

Chris Toombs, a resident of Galveston Island, addressed the board regarding the rebuilding of 569 public housing units in Galveston.  Listen: MP3  RealPlayer

“Texas City has decided not to fully rebuild its public housing lost to Ike, so Galveston will be the sole provider of public housing in Galveston County,” Toombs said, noting that he has proposed creation of a Galveston County Housing Authority.






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