Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grimes County officials continue foot-dragging on 391 Commission

Local republicans invite 391 commission speakers

Related Link: Texas 391 Commission Alliance


The navasota Examiner
Copyright 2008

The regular meeting of the Grimes County Republican Party held Monday, July 7, at 7 p.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom in Anderson featured a slightly different agenda and group in attendance.

This meeting was open to all concerned citizens, regardless of political affiliation, to gather information regarding the formation of a 391 sub-regional commission in Grimes County.

Special guests were Commissioner Glenn Beckendorff of Waller County, who is also an officer of the Waller County sub-regional planning commission and a director of the Houston- Galveston Area Council (COG); Trey Duhon, an attorney from Waller County, as well as a director for the Waller County Toll Road Authority and a director of the TTC/I-69 Advisory Committee; and Don Garrett, long time Waller County realtor and president of the Citizens for a Better Waller County Organization. Each spoke, then answered questions for the 35-plus people assembled Monday evening.

Grimes County officials attending were Judge Betty Shiflett, District Attorney Tuck McLain and councilman Norman from the newly-formed City of Iola.

Duhon presented an overview of a 391 sub-regional planning commission, explaining the state statutes authorizing the formation and authorities awarded the commission under those statutes.

He allayed the fears of some that a 391 might have the authority of eminent domain by citing Texas statutes as well as assuring listeners that for extra measure, special verbiage could be included in the commission by-laws to exclude any and all condemnation authority.

Another negative brought before the Iola City Council in a recent meeting was the threat of a lawsuit. Duhon again countered with an explanation of the commission’s authority, which in general is to coordinate with State Agencies. “How can someone get sued for coordinating?” he asked.

Beckendorff assured the group that forming a 391 sub-regional was not an obstructionist movement but a full-fledged effort to bring their county together to work toward common goals and improvements for the cities individually as well as the county as a whole. He cited a working example.

Several months ago, TxDOT proposed a road widening. The school district and bus drivers were concerned with the plan as presented because they felt it put the drivers and children at risk.

After contacting TxDOT and explaining their 391 commission was in progress, meetings were facilitated and the schedule and plans for the project were adjusted to meet the needs and safety concerns of the school district.

After a general question and answer session, Judge Shiflett spoke to the group. She reported on her recent visit with TxDOT and stated that TxDOT welcomed the formation of a 391 sub-regional planning commission.

She added that the Commisisoners Court still needs more information before making a decision on the matter.

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