Thursday, May 24, 2018

Houston Stronger Resiliency Conference Thursday May 31st

I've been working with this organization for a while and am a strong supporter.  This is an absolute no-brainer for Harris County taxpayers: every dollar we approve here has the potential to be matched 9-to-1 by the federal government for desperately needed flood-control infrastructure.


From their press release:
Houston Stronger, a new community advocacy group, will hold a symposium on May 31st at 2:00 p.m. at Houston Community College’s West Houston Institute, 2811 Hayes Road to promote resiliency efforts in the Houston region. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will kick off the program.

“Many organizations in our region started talking about how our community should respond after Hurricane Harvey,” said John Moody, Chairman of the West Houston Association and one of Houston Stronger’s organizers.

“Houston Stronger formed to bring these different community voices together and ensure that our region is better prepared for the next storm” said Karen Becerra, another Houston Stronger organizer and President of the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors.

“Sims Bayou was the only major channel that did not overtop its banks during Hurricane Harvey because of recent improvements. This $390 million investment enabled Sims to handle a 100-year storm event, and the Harris County Flood Control District concluded that the enhancements paid for themselves in Harvey alone,” said Becerra.

A team of engineers volunteering for Houston Stronger estimates the cost to provide 100-year storm protection in all of Harris County’s major watersheds is $35 billion. While the price tag is a large one, investing in infrastructure saves taxpayers’ money in the long run. Two recent studies, including one cited by the Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, have concluded that government saves over five dollars in services for every dollar it spends on resiliency infrastructure.

Regarding federal funding, Congress has allocated more than $141 billion to help Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and 20 other states address emergency response and resiliency expenses from storms in 2017. In order to be eligible to receive these dollars, local governments are required to provide matching funds.

Harris County has called for and the Governor has approved a special election for August 25 for voter approval on bond funding that would provide the required local match for much-needed flood control projects. The date coincides with the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey.

Houston Stronger estimates that Harris County is likely to need approval for a bond of at least $2.5 billion to receive federal funds to support buyouts, channel improvements, and other resiliency projects to bring 100-year storm protection to the other 21 major watersheds in Harris County. Harris County Budget Officer Bill Jackson estimates that to pay for $2.5 billion in bonds, homeowners could pay as an estimated 5 cents per $100 value in taxes.

For more information about Houston Stronger and to register for the May 31st event go to houstonstronger.net.

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2 Comments:

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