Four months after Galveston County voters overwhelmingly approved an $80 million bond, construction for the first projects funded by the measure are nearing approval.

County commissioners on Tuesday deferred an interlocal agreement that would have moved projects in Texas City and Kemah forward. But Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said the agreements should be finalized soon, which will lead into work being started on bond-funded projects this spring.

The items were deferred on Monday because commissioners wanted more time to review documents, Henry said. He expected the agreements to be passed at an upcoming meeting.

The interlocal agreements split project duties between county and city officials — though the county won’t have much say about where and when the work is done, Henry said.

“Whatever project they want to do, they can do,” Henry said. “We won’t control what road they’re working on.”

When and if they are approved, the projects will be first in the county to receive funding through the $80 million bond that voters approved in October 2017. Henry said the county has already issued about $40 million in bonds in preparation of making agreements to move forward with projects.

County voters approved three separate measures on Nov. 6, 2017, to pay for repairs for roads, county facilities and for flood control projects.

During the election, the county listed more than two dozen projects that could be done under the bond. About half the total, $40 million, was scheduled to go to local road projects identified by cities.

Texas City asked for funds to reconstruct 3,600 feet of Texas Avenue between Sixth and 14th streets, and 2,700 feet of Century Boulevard near state Highway 3.

In Kemah, the county is initially considering releasing $400,000 to be used for road improvement projects. In a request to the county in May 2017, Kemah officials outlined $3.9 million in projects it wanted to complete, including $1.5 million for a major rebuilding project of Kipp Avenue between Cien Road and Sixth Street.

Henry didn’t want to commit to when all of the projects listed in the county’s bond proposal would be completed.

“If you put yourself out there with a guess like that, you’re setting yourself up to be wrong,” he said.

Commissioners deferred the two interlocal agreements Monday. Henry said he expected a vote to take place when the commissioners meet on March 12.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

(2) comments

Michelle Aycoth

Need to spend more on flood control projects then on road refurbishment projects over next several years. The Texas City project on Texas Ave. does not make sense after Harvey.
Andrew Aycoth

Jose' Boix

The article - along with a recent one - “County approves more spending for Tiki Island bridge,” by Marissa Barnett, The Daily News, Dec 20, 2017," rekindled my concerns about the apparent lack of detailed accountability to us the County voters about the whole litany of Bond projects, and what was done, not done and costs. Basically, there should be routine published/posted reports with such details.

Along those lines, I found it interesting the statement within the Tiki Island article that stated: "Tiki Island returned to the county, asking for the additional money out of a 2009 capital improvement bond approved by voters."

Reason being that according to the information in a published 2008 Bond flyer, it shows that these were projects for Tiki Island:
1. Tiki Drive - Repair Tiki Island Bridge
2. TBD - Repave Various Roads in City
3. Tiki Drive - Tiki Bridge to West End of Road

As such, I presume that to effectively "tally" the requested and voter approved 2008 $135M Bond, there must have been estimated/projected costs, included the ones for Tiki. In addition, that was in 2008, we are in 2017, and it is amazing to me that after almost 9 years we are debating cost and above all, that the money was not spent.

So fast forward to 2017, and we – the voters - approved an $80M Bond for a variety of additional projects, and accordingly, we don’t really know what happened with the $135M approved 2008.

Somehow we the voters need a much better accountability and reporting of bond related projects; in fact we should insist such information before voting on new bonds. We also need to have some assessment on how effective projects completed were.

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