Presidents Corner: July 2021

Howdy WHA Members, 

There have been many moves in Harris County that you should be aware of. Russ Poppe is leaving the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) and Alan Black will be serving as the interim Executive Director. On June 29th Harris County Commissioners Court approved HCFCD’s plan to provide for the 2018 Flood Control Bond Program in response to the lack of sufficient HUD/GLO funding. The Court also appointed a County Administrator, David Berry (Harris County Budget Director), which fundamentally changes the structure of county government. More details about this proposal can be found here, but we will not know what this will mean for County administration until Berry submits a plan for the new structure sometime in the next 45 days. 

At the state level, the Governor has called for a Special Session starting July 8th and then there is still redistricting to take place later in the Fall. Meanwhile, we celebrate that HB 1410 authored by Rep. Jim Murphy and Sen. Brandon Creighton went into effect June 14th, tripling the potential amount of funds special districts may be able to access for more green space, parks, and recreation. This new legislation will provide for more green space, trails, and resilience in West Houston. For more information, see the joint statement released by Houston Stronger. 

Here at the West Houston Association, we hosted a well-received virtual forum on Emerging Trends in Transportation. Thanks to the WHA Regional Mobility committee and in particular Jim Webb (Goodman Corporation), William Papadopoulos (Delta Troy Interests), Sivaji Senapathi (EHRA Engineering), and Elizabeth Whitton (Energy Corridor Management District) for putting it all together. Hopefully, the days of virtual events are behind us as we move to in-person forums in July and August.  

On July 22nd, we will be hosting ain-person discussion with Houston City Council members who are strongly involved with issues in the West Houston Region including: Amy Peck (District A), Greg Travis (District G), Tiffany Thomas (District F), Edward Pollard (District J), David Robinson (At-Large Position 2), and Sallie Alcorn (At-Large Position 5). This event will provide an opportunity for council members to update us on important issues impacting the West Houston region and to address questions from WHA members and guests. The panel discussion will be moderated by WHA Vice Chair, Marlene Gafrick (MetroNational). Then on August 12th we will be hosting our 6th annual Flood Control Forum featuring Andrew Weber (USACE), Kathleen Jackson (TWDB), and Jonathan St. Romain (HCFCD) and moderated by WHA’s Flood Control and Drainage Committee Chair Tim Buscha (IDS Engineering Group). 

Committee meetings are also returning to an in-person format with some already meeting in person and others with plans to return to in-person for their next meeting. As a reminder, WHA committees provide a venue for regular discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing the Greater West Houston Region. Most committees are topic based, including:  Education and Workforce, Flood Control and Drainage, Parks Recreation and Open Space, Quality Planned Development, Regional Mobility, Sustainable Infrastructure, and Water Resources. There is also the Government Affairs committee which works to coordinate our engagement of public and elected officials and the Membership committee with a focus on recruitment, engagement, and retention. If you are a WHA member interested in being part of any of these standing committees, please reach out to me or Jennifer Boggs. 

Thank you for what you do for the Greater West Houston Region!