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by Garrett Bryce w/photos courtesy City of Houston
Friday, September 29, 2017

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in a news conference today, spoke regarding Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, during which Abbott presented $50 million in disaster funds to Turner.

Abbott opened comments noting Houston and Texas as an “inspiration” to the entire nation in the response to the storm. He then noted the scale of destruction along the Texas coast.

“Our goal is to ensure that we are going to put all of these people, communities and counties on the path to prosperity as quickly as possible,” Abbott said. “But achieving the best result is going to require the very same resolve that Texans have shown up to this point.” Listen (20:43)

Abbott then stated that the effort is going to require use of the state's “Rainy Day Fund.”

“Of course, Texas is going to be using the Rainy Day Fund to address our challenges,” Abbott said. “But one thing we all know, is that it is going to require a lot more than what is in the Rainy Day Fund to adequately rebuild the state of Texas.”

He stressed the need for everyone to play a role in the effort, both public and private organizations.

“One thing that we're doing is making sure that whenever there are shortfalls, we're going to be here, prepared to assist our communities, make sure they are going to be able to rebuild as quickly as possible,” Abbott said.

With that, Abbott presented a $50 million check, available through contingency funding budged for the state, to Turner to assist with needs.

Turner then spoke, thanking Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, members of the Texas Legislature and others attending the meeting. He also noted the efforts of many during the storm.

“The beauty of Texas and people in this region, is that there were just people helping people,” Turner said, also recognizing first responders and even those who have been impacted by the storm for their patience.

Turner then discussed needs, noting there are both short and long term issues to address.

He then spoke on the costs of public building damage, and insurance coverage for the buildings, which are covered for $100 million.

“We now anticipate the damage to those city buildings, as a result of Hurricane Harvey, to be more than $175 million,” Turner said, and noted that he is seeking approval of the city council to increase the city's insurance for damages.

Due to the $50 million presented by Abbott, Turner said that the city will not seek an emergency action under the revenue cap to increase the city's taxes.

“There will be no need for a public hearing on Monday, because we will not have to do that,” he said.

Abbott and Turner answered questions following the conference. Listen (14:40)

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