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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
H-GAC Board of Directors
by Jim Guidry
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors on Tuesday voted 26-3 to approve an amendment to the First Round Method of Distribution for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds which adds Galveston Housing Authority as an eligible housing fund sub-recipient, and to reallocate $25 million in housing funds from the City of Galveston to Galveston Housing Authority. Listen MP3  RealPlayer  Document

A proposed amendment by Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark that would have required that construction start within six months and be completed within 18 months failed on a vote of 8-18.

Both decisions were by voice vote and there was no record of the division of the members. 

There was a diversity of opinion expressed by those who addressed the board on the issue, including Galveston City Council Members Rusty Legg, Elizabeth Beeton and Steve Greenberg; Galveston Apartment Association President Buzz Elton; and Deyna Sims-Hobdy, director of real estate and development for the Galveston Housing Authority. Listen MP3  RealPlayer  

Legg spoke in support of the provisions that were included in Commissioner Clark’s failed amendment.

Sims-Hobdy spoke on behalf of the GHA Board of Commissioners.

“This board is committed to rebuilding the 569 units of public housing that were destroyed during Hurricane Ike,” she said.  “We are committed to doing this in a mixed-income environment.”

The H-GAC board voted unanimously to establish the organization's service priorities and budget for 2012. Document

“The 2012 Service Plan and Budget addresses key regional priorities: transportation improvements, a competitive workforce, ongoing regional recovery from Hurricane Ike, an efficient and sustainable region, and an array of services to the region's local governments,” said H-GAC Executive Director Jack Steele in a report following the meeting.  “H-GAC's services in 2012 will continue major programs, although some will be affected by changes in intergovernmental fund availability. The overwhelming bulk, 93 percent, of H-GAC's revenues are restricted as to their use by intergovernmental contracts with local, state, or federal fund providers.”

The board voted unanimously to approve resolutions honoring the service to H-GAC and the region for Houston Council Member Anne Clutterbuck, Stafford Councilman Cecil Willis, Waller ISD Trustee Louis Tucker, Waller County Judge Glenn Beckendorff, and Wharton County Commissioner Chris King, who are leaving the board.

All other agenda items were approved with unanimous votes.  Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Commissioner Jack Morman, Baytown Council Member Brandon Capetillo, Deer Park Council Member Thane Harrison, Friendswood Council Member Deirdre Carey Brown, Huntsville Mayor Mac Woodward and Texas City Commissioner Dee Ann Haney were absent and not represented by an alternate member.  Sugar Land Council Member Thomas Abraham was absent but he was represented by Council Member Don Smithers.




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