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Harris County
Houston City Council
by Garrett Bryce w/photos courtesy City of Houston
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Houston City Council today voted unanimously to reappoint Theldon Branch to the Port Commission of the Port of Houston Authority.

Several council members thanked Branch for his continuing service on the board. Listen (9:54)

The city council voted unanimously unanimously to set a date of February 14 to receive nominations for Positions One and Two and two alternate at-large positions on the Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors.

Currently, Council Member Jerry Davis serves in Position One, while Council Member Greg Travis serves in Position Two. Council members Robert Gallegos and Jack Christie serve in the alternate at-large positions.

The item sparked lengthy discussion regarding the appointments. Initially, a committee meeting was planned for Monday to discuss the nominations. However, it was decided the committee meeting would not be held for the item.

Davis discussed his term serving on the H-GAC Board of Directors, noting his time as an alternate member. He noted that with the method of appointing a chair to the H-GAC, the opportunity is lost to some members to serve as chair.

“You lose your opportunity to have a voice, because you're already dominated by the surrounding counties, the surrounding region,” Davis said, noting that “often times we're outvoted.” Listen (21:58)

He asked that the city council consider the ramifications inside H-GAC when considering members to appoint to serve on the board.

The city council voted unanimously to confirm the appointment and reappointment of members to the Houston Ethics Commission.

Alfonso “Al” Maldonado, III, Julie Marinucci and David Goldberg were appointed to the commission, while Marsha Fisk was reappointed.

The city council took no action regarding a resolution approving the issuance and sale by the Houston Housing Finance Corporation of Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds related to the Villa Americana Apartments. The item was pulled from the agenda.

The city council voted 15-1, with Larry Green opposed, to adopt an ordinance approving the pricing certificates, terms, principal amounts and interest rates relating to the sale of the Airport System Special Facilities Revenue Bonds related to the United Airlines, Inc. Technical Operations Center Project.

Proceeds from the bonds will be used to finance approximately $120 million for the construction of a technical operations center and related facilities, and approximately $60 million for improvements to an existing aircraft maintenance hangar facility, among other projects.

The city council voted 15-1, with Green opposed, to adopt an ordinance amending the ground lease agreement with Houston Amateur Sports Park LGC, Inc. and appropriating $3,225,000 from the Parks Consolidated Construction Fund and authorizing a reimbursement agreement for public improvements between the city and Strikers' Stadium, LP.

The city recently acquired an additional 32.21 acres of land adjacent to the Houston Amateur Sports Park property, also owned by the city. The additional land will be utilized for construction of an outdoor facility for playing rugby and other sports.

The city council took no action regarding an interlocal agreement with the Harris Health System and Baylor College of Medicine for case management services. The item was not received at the council table in time for action to be taken.

The city council took no action regarding an ordinance authorizing the Director of the Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, Houston Public Works and the Finance Department to extend various contracts for unpaid parking citation collection services, unpaid utility bill collections and various other unpaid account collection services. The item was tagged by Green.

All other items were approved by unanimous vote. Council Member Steve Le was absent. Agenda

During his report, Mayor Sylvester Turner discussed matters involving recovery from Hurricane Harvey and a recent trip by several council members to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congressional representatives regarding federal funds for recovery and future storm mitigation efforts.

Turner opened discussions by noting that it has been five months since Harvey struck Houston. He reported that residents living in hotels has dropped to just above 3,000, and urged residents to appeal denials for assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Just because you've been denied by FEMA doesn't mean you need to stop, you need to appeal,” he said. Listen (41:52)

He also discussed proposed changes to the city's building regulations to mitigate future flood damage. He acknowledged that the regulations would come with additional cost, and asked for “constructive input” from developers and others in the city.

“We do want constructive input, but if someone says to us we don't need to anything, that Harvey was a once in a lifetime occurrence, that is not an acceptable response,” Turner said.

Several council members, including those who attended the trip to Washington, D.C., spoke regarding progress made during the trip, but did not get commitments regarding the $81 billion disaster relief package under consideration by Congress, and whether the funds would be increased. Chief Recovery Officer Marvin Odum also answered questions from council members.

Council Member Dave Martin stressed the need for funding, and he charged the Houston Congressional Delegation to acquire funding for remediation.

“Insist that the President of the United States puts $120 billion in relief packages for Puerto Rico, for Florida, for California, for Texas,” Martin said.

He stated that the "rhetoric was getting old" and urged action.

“Get off your butts and get something done, Houston delegation, and stick together,” he said.

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