Presidents Corner: June 2021

Howdy WHA Members, 

Exciting news this month as HB 1410, has been passed by both the Texas House and Senate. The bill, which is heading to the Governor’s desk, allows for a raise in the cap on parks and recreation bonds from the current 1% of the value of the taxable property in the district to a maximum of 3% based on the district’s financial health. The bill provides a critical avenue for increasing green spaces within a community including parks, landscaping, native habitats, trails, and other recreational facilities. Many of these spaces provide benefits beyond recreation, such as assisting with flood mitigation, erosion control, air pollution, and even increased mobility. 

Another major piece of news was how little funding was allocated by the GLO to the Harris County region out of the federal funds set aside for flood mitigation projects post Hurricane Harvey. Since the announcement, GLO Commissioner Bush has requested a $750 million direct allocation of federal funds to Harris County for flood mitigation efforts from HUD. However, this is still significantly less than the $2+ billion that was hoped for to match the $2.5 billion flood bond Harris County voters supported in 2018.  

As we enter the summer, we have three forums coming up. This month is our virtual Emerging Trends in Transportation Forum organized by the WHA Regional Mobility Committee featuring an array of speakers who will be discussing everything from automated pizza delivery, to networked public transit, to the electric F-150, including what this means for the energy industry, and how Houston plans to embrace these opportunities. In July we have our first West Side City Council Forum where we will be having an in-person discussion with Houston City Council members who are strongly involved with issues in the West Houston Region. In August, we will have our WHA Flood Control Forum featuring speakers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Texas Water Development Board and the Harris County Flood Control District. I’m sure the GLO funding decision will still be a hot topic to be discussed. 

I would also like to give a shout-out to the WHA Rising Leaders Class 4 for the highly successful Top Golf Tournament that we held on May 27th. The class started planning for this event almost a year ago during the height of Covid. The date of the event was a moving target as they navigated the politics and member comfort regarding in-person events. In the end, their hard work and determination paid off. The event exceeded expectations attracting over 200 participants, numerous sponsors, and being the most successful fundraiser for WHA in the last few years. It was particularly exciting for me to get to meet so many of you in person for the first time. We had interest from multiple people at the Top Golf Tournament about the Rising Leaders program, so look for information about the 2022 class to be available in the fall of this year. Also be on the lookout for a new WHA event organized by Rising Leaders Class 5. It will be a challenge for them to top this event, but I look forward to seeing what they can do!  

We look forward to seeing you over the summer at the forums and committee meetings as we move towards more in-person events. Your efforts lead to continuously improving the quality of life for the 2,000,000 people who live, work, and play in West Houston. On behalf of them, thank you for your involvement with the West Houston Association!