GALVESTON

Galveston County has until the middle of 2019 to finish more than a dozen Hurricane Ike recovery projects. If it can’t complete the projects, the county could end up with millions of dollars unspent from grants made after the historic storm that made landfall 10 years ago.

Galveston County Commissioners on Monday approved an amendment with the Texas General Land Office that extended the deadline for a $31.6 million disaster recovery contract from Dec. 31 to June 30, 2019.

The extension allows more time to finish more than a dozen infrastructure projects funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development block grants awarded to the county after Ike.

The extension was a disappointment for county officials, however. The county has asked for the deadline to be extended to December 2019, County Engineer Michael Shannon said.

The county has 13 projects funded by the block grants underway, Shannon said. Five of them are under construction already, but the remainder are in various stages of design. With less than a year to complete those projects, getting them done will be difficult, Shannon said.

“We’re moving forward with all the projects,” Shannon said.

During a meeting Monday morning, Shannon told county commissioners that “time was of the essence” to complete the projects.

It’s unclear what the penalty would be if the county missed the mid-2019 deadline. It’s possible the county would need to pick up the entire cost of the incomplete projects, or only receive partial reimbursement for them.

During a workshop meeting Monday, commissioners talked about ways to to try to move the projects along faster, including using county funds to expedite environmental reviews for some projects.

At least one proposed Ike project, a drainage basin in Gum Bayou in Dickinson, has been delayed over concerns about damaging timber rattlesnake habitats.

The lengthy review required to assess the threat to the snake means that project is unlikely to be completed under the Ike program, Shannon said, although officially the county is still weighing its options.

It’s possible the county will seek another extension for the projects to the end of 2019 — and some commissioners called for such a move as they passed the amendment unanimously on Monday.

“We should probably see if we can try to get the extension,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Ken Clark said. “I’d like for us to continue to seek out a further out date.”

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(7) comments

David Schuler

Are we talking the Hurricane Ike from ten years ago? The one where babies born during that month would now be in Fourth Grade? What have these people been doing? And now they want additional time? So - just like the missing $500K - will anyone's head roll if these projects don't get done on time and taxpayers are left holding the bag?

George Caros

What is the problem with them all this time what have they been doing. I bet they are trying to funnel money to their buddy's. Need to investigate them.

Ron Binkley

We are usually begging for money. We have had the money for 10 years and may now lose it because we can't spend it fast enough. That makes no sense.

Michelle Aycoth

So why would the Government give us any Harvey money, we do not know how to spend money from 10 years ago.
They must be thinking we do not need any aid when still money left over from Ike.
Andrew Aycoth

Jack Reeves

Just like their having let the rail trolleys sit in that mold covered transit barn for years, before finally shipping some of them off for repair. I would be willing to bet that as hard as New Orleans was hit by Katrina, they didn't waste any time getting Federal money spent. I think if Maxwell had been City Manager when these major storms hit, we would be miles ahead by now.

George Caros

That's the county that can't figure out how to spend the money not the city

George Croix

My favorite:

"At least one proposed Ike project, a drainage basin in Gum Bayou in Dickinson, has been delayed over concerns about damaging timber rattlesnake habitats.
The lengthy review required to assess the threat to the snake means that project is unlikely to be completed under the Ike program, Shannon said, although officially the county is still weighing its options."

Delayed 10 years over talking about a rattlesnake.....

And anyone....anyone...really thinks an 'Ike Dike' could be built in their lifetime? No, their grandkids' lifetimes.....??
The Everly Brothers wrote a song, the first 8 words of which describe that exactly......

Insanity.....wonder how many people got flooded because the rattlesnake(s) had priority.....
If you think that's nutty, be sure to 'remember in November' to vote for people who place HUMANS over snakes................

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