FEMA grants, food funding: 3 takeaways from the Montgomery County Court of Commissioners
Montgomery County commissioners have approved county reimbursement requests through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for pandemic and winter storm-related expenses. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Journal)
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include comments from the Montgomery County Commissioner’s Projects Coordinator.
Montgomery County commissioners held a commissioners court meeting on February 22. Enclosure 3 Commissioner James Noack was unavailable due to unspecified training. Here are some things discussed and implemented.
Reimbursement grants for pandemic, winter storm
Commissioners approved a motion authorizing the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to apply for grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse expenses related to Winter Storm Uri and the pandemic of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 grant covers expenses related to emergency personnel salaries and tents for county COVID-19 vaccination centers, according to Emergency Management Director Jason Millsaps. Court documents say the county has about $2.2 million in expenses eligible for the grant.
The winter storm grant, named Texas Winter Storm DR-4586-TX, covers emergency personnel salaries as well as construction expenses incurred during storm preparations, according to Millsaps. Court documents say the county has about $178,000 in eligible expenses.
The commissioners approved the grant applications by a vote of 4 to 0.
Save America brings together payroll-funded food
Commissioners also discussed funding for food for first responders at a Jan. 29 Save America rally with former President Donald Trump in Conroe.
Millsaps said expenses were $4,310.79, including signage for the event. Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker asked if the item could be postponed when Noack returns to court, but Millsaps said the county will incur interest on the overdue payment if it is not approved in court. of the February 22 session.
County budget officer Amanda Carter said the county can draw down $100 million approved in a Jan. 26 commissioners’ court session for overtime pay. Carter said about $88,000 was spent after the rally.
Commissioners approved funding food expenses from the overtime payroll by a 4-0 vote.
Eminent Domain Approved for Enclosure 4 Projects
Commissioners approved three items relating to the Ford Road expansion project in Precinct 4, represented by Commissioner James Metts, including two eminent domain clearances.
The items were approved in the consent agenda, meaning there was no discussion. The Ford Road expansion project completed its preliminary engineering phase in 2019, Community Impact Journal Previously reported. The project will widen the road to two lanes between the highway. 59 and Loop 494 by 10 feet to add wider shoulders for vehicles, while the road between Loop 494 and West Lake Houston Parkway will expand from two lanes to four lanes.
Eminent domain procedures have been approved for parcels held by Peter and Tina Holmes and Trinity Forest I Ltd. The combined area of the plots, which were labeled plots 6 and 37 respectively, is 0.2 acres, according to court documents.
According to the county clerk’s office, an appraiser was hired to determine the fair value of the two parcels, but neither party was willing to accept the county’s appraisal, leading to eminent domain proceedings.
Enclosure 4 Projects and Logistics Coordinator Hugo Sanchez said in a statement to Community Impact Journal that the enclosure was “65% complete” with the acquisition of the rights-of-way for the project, but could not provide a concrete timeline for the project. Sanchez said the county plans to complete right-of-way acquisitions by the spring of 2022 and begin construction in the summer after approval from the Texas Department of Transportation.