Monthly Newsletter
April 5, 2019  Issue 75
Residents of District E,
  
Each year the District E office hosts two Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Town Hall meetings to highlight upcoming community projects and receive suggestions for the future. These meetings were held last month, March 19 in Clear Lake and March 21 in Kingwood with a large community attendance at both events.

Residents heard city updates from Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Public Works Department Director Carol Haddock, and Chief Resiliency Officer Stephen Costello from the City of Houston.

In addition, local Congressional representatives like U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw provided an update on federal issues. Local organizations including Space Center Houston presented on the upcoming celebration of the Apollo 11 Mission's 50th Anniversary. Lastly, the Lake Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ 10) had an opportunity to provide a progress update on the Northpark Drive Expansion Project.

Thank you to the many District E residents that attended these meetings and thanks to Mayor Sylvester Turner and fellow At-Large Council Members Mike Knox, David Robinson, Michael Kubosh, and Amanda Edwards for attending the meeting and showing their support.


During both meetings, residents engaged in candid conversation regarding their respective areas of District E. In the Clear Lake/Southeast Houston meeting, residents had been working with District E on various projects related to improving roadway conditions along Crenshaw Road and surrounding streets. The progression of projects related to this area continues to move forward under the scrutiny of the District E team. We look forward to the completing these many necessary projects over the coming years which include drainage improvements, additional street lights, and improved paving. It is through these types of relationships created in our office with residents the City can truly impact the lives of a whole community.

At the Kingwood/Lake Houston Town Hall, mobility was a hot topic with the recent success of City Council and the Houston Galveston Area Council both approving funding for the Northpark Drive Expansion Project. Since my first term in office, I've been committed to improving mobility in the Kingwood area and am very proud of the great strides TIRZ 10 has made over the last 7 years. This process has been long and filled with many challenges but we are finally at the tipping point when it comes to reducing congestion in the Kingwood Area by expanding Northpark Drive. This expansion project will not only improve mobility but will also increase safety and provide for the first ever flood resistant evacuation route for the Kingwood Area. Congratulations and thank you to the Lake Houston TIRZ Board Members for reaching this milestone.

The District E office is hard at work, managing cases, attending community meetings, and visiting the district each week. Please continue to reach out to the District E office for assistance and information related to city projects. I look forward to upcoming projects and continuing to serve the District E community.
 
Sincerely,



Dave Martin
The District E Office
900 Bagby, First Floor
Houston, TX 77002
 
Contact Information
  Phone: (832) 393-3008
Fax: (832) 393-3279
 
District E Team

Jessica Beemer
Chief of Staff

Katherine Cunningham
Deputy Chief of Staff

Jordan McGinty
South Sector Manager

Clarissa Perez
North Sector Manager

City of Houston Contacts
 
(713) 837-0311
 
 
Mayor's Citizens
Assistance Office
(832) 393-0955


 
 


Kingwood Community Center
(281) 348-2570
 
 
 
 

 
  
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Texas Senate Bill 7

On March 21, Senator Brandon Creighton's Senate Bill 7 (SB7), received unanimous support in the Senate. This legislation, which Lieutenant Governor declared "one of the most important bills this body has ever passed for the entire State of Texas and our future", provides the matching funds required to bring Texas tax dollars back to the state. 

Currently, there are billions of federal tax dollars that cannot be returned from Washington, D.C. without a state or local match. There have only been a few times the state has been the source of matching dollars, which typically come from local communities, but because of the severity of Hurricane Harvey, the state must take action. Once the matching funds are available, we will be able to maximize unprecedented federal funds for infrastructure projects we desperately need.

The bill also creates the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund (TIRF). TIRF is a fund that will be administered by the Texas Water Development Board to finance flood mitigation projects to protect the state in future storms.

This is a one-time, necessary expense to leverage billions of federal funds for rebuilding and flood prevention throughout Texas. 

Council Member Martin is extremely grateful to Senator Creighton for his work on this bill. This bill is the first of its kind across the nation and will prepare the State of Texas for resiliency, allowing our state to study the cause of flooding, design solutions, and fund construction statewide at a much faster rate than the current federal process. Our area has seen first hand the lag time in getting money for projects from the federal government. With the passage of SB7, local agencies will be able to get projects going much quicker, getting people and communities back on their feet.
Implementation of Proposition B

The implementation of Proposition B is underway and the first pay parity paychecks will be distributed to the Houston Firefighters as their first paycheck received in May. That paycheck will include their new pay amount in addition to back pay from January 1, 2019 at their new pay rate. This process has been in motion since January 2019.

Unfortunately, the Houston Professional Firefighter's Union denied the Mayor's offer to phase in the 29% pay increase over 5 years with no layoffs to any City Department or impact to service. An additional offer from the Mayor to phase in the 29% pay increase over 3 ½ years with minimal layoffs and impact to City services has also been denied.
 
The lack of willingness of the Houston Professional Firefighter's Union to accept either of these phased in approaches has resulted in what has been feared since the conversation about Proposition B began last summer. Layoffs have begun and unfortunately, they started with 67 Houston Firefighter Cadets. Next week, roughly 50 municipal employees will receive layoff notices with more possible in the weeks to come.
 
The City of Houston must balance its budget and unfortunately without the phase in of a 29% pay increase overtime layoffs and reduction in some City services is unavoidable.  The Houston Police Department has phased in their pay increases over 8 years and avoided layoffs as well as reduction in City services. The language in Proposition B is complicated, has no funding source, and did not establish a timeline for implementation.
 
Since January, the City of Houston  has been working with the Information Technology and Finance Departments to make sure the new pay parity guidelines are programmed correctly in to the city's payroll system to ensure proper pay out occurs. This is the most intensive part of implementation as they work to create new categories and assign new pay rates for nearly 4,000 employees. Again, pay parity is being implemented in the full amount of 29% and the first pay check to reflect pay parity as well as back pay from January 2019 will be delivered to Houston Firefighters on their first paycheck in May. 
Federal Funding Approved for Northpark Drive

At the Kingwood CIP Town Hall Meeting, residents received the latest update on the Northpark Drive Improvement Project from Stan Sarman, Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority TIRZ 10 Chairman. The goal of the project is to improve traffic flow and safety along Northpark Drive.  The first phase of the project is from US 59 to Russel Palmer and is being locally funded by the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority TIRZ 10 and City of Houston. The second phase of the project is from Russell Palmer to Woodland Hills. 

For the second phase of the project, the Lake Houston TIRZ (TIRZ 10) submitted an application for $28,362,932 in federal funding through the TIP process managed by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). This application among many others, went through a public comment period that closed on March 28, 2019. Of the 1,078 comments received, 485 came from Kingwood residents and leaders in the community.
 
On March 22, 2019, Council Member Martin attended the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council Meeting to voice support of the Northpark Drive Expansion Project. Once the final applications and comments were reviewed, the board took a vote to decide funding.  
 
We are pleased to announce the H-GAC Transportation Policy Council approved the federal funding for the Northpark Drive Reconstruction Project in the amount of $23,362,932. As planned, funding will be available for the second phase of the project in fiscal year 2023 and will be used for the second portion of the Northpark Drive Improvement Project. Design of the first phase of the project will begin in fiscal year 2020, and construction of the first phase is expected to begin as soon as fiscal year 2021. 
 
Since Council Member Martin's first term in office, he has been committed to improving mobility in the Kingwood area and is very proud of the great strides TIRZ 10 has made over the last 7 years. This process has been long and filled with many challenges but we are finally at the tipping point when it comes to reducing congestion in the Kingwood Area by expanding Northpark Drive. This expansion project will not only improve mobility but will also increase safety and provide for the first ever flood resistant evacuation route for the Kingwood Area.

Council Member Martin extends his gratitude and congratulations to the Lake Houston TIRZ Board Members for reaching this milestone.
Northshore Area Ditch Maintenance Project

Beginning Wednesday, April 10, Houston Public Works will be in the Northshore area, performing a ditch maintenance project to the off-road ditch, running from 13201 Candlewick Street to Goodyear Creek. The scope of work includes clearing and grubbing of the ditch to increase the drainage capacity. Residents are expected to hear light to moderate construction noise and should not expect any road closures around the work area. The project is expected to be completed by end of May 2019, weather permitting. 
Gemini Avenue Overlay

The Gemini Avenue overlay project's start date has been postponed from February 25 to Monday, April 8 due to delays in the assigned crew's schedule. In addition to milling and overlaying the street, this area has been identified as a part of the Houston Bike Plan and HPW and the Planning Department plans to add in 5 feet bike lanes on each side following the completion of the overlay. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of July 2019, weather permitting. 
 
The project will start in the 1000 block of Gemini Avenue and progress towards Reseda Drive. The  scope of work includes resurfacing the asphalt street. This process includes milling off an approximate 2 inch layer of old asphalt, repairing the base as needed, spraying tack coat and overlaying 2 inches of new asphalt surface pavement.  Crew staging activities are anticipated to occur between 7:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with work occurring between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
 
As a result of the construction activities, please be aware of flagmen and orange traffic cones that will be put in place on site to help with traffic flow through the construction zone as temporary lane closures are expected. One lane will be open in each direction during peak traffic hours. Residents and businesses may experience temporary delays accessing Gemini Avenue, as well as individual driveways, and may experience an increase in noise levels because of trucks and equipment. 
 
Council Member Martin is excited to see this project along Gemini Avenue, from El Camino Real to Reseda, come to fruition as it has been on Houston Public Works' queue since ot was first submitted in 2015.
Bens Branch Update

Bens Branch, a channel within the Kingwood community stretching from Northpark to the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, was completely inundated with water and sediment during Hurricane Harvey. As a result, a considerable buildup of sediment infiltrated the southern bends of the channel south of Kingwood Drive around Town Center and behind the Lake Houston YMCA. This stretch of Ben's Branch Channel from Kingwood Drive to about 1,800 linear feet downstream of West Lake Houston Parkway, is   owned by the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD). 

As property owners of this channel, HCFCD has completed their field survey of the reach to remove sediment accumulations within the system and restore channel conveyance capacity. HCFCD has also completed final design of the conveyance restoration project. They are now preparing the project for bid later this month. The next steps for HCFCD once bids have been accepted is to award the project and begin construction for Summer 2019. HCFCD is funding 100% of this conveyance project.

Other channels in Kingwood and the Lake Houston communities within the City of Houston are also being evaluated by HCFCD for projects. Currently, there is one portion of Ben's Branch, between Woodland Hills and Rocky Woods Drive, that is under final review with City of Houston Legal, HCFCD and the Bens Branch Trail Association. Once that final review is complete HCFCD will be the owner's of the Bens Branch channel from Northpark Drive to 1,800 linear feet south of the channel's intersection with West Lake Houston Parkway.

Eventually all open and natural channels will be maintained by HCFCD while the City of Houston maintains all closed storm sewer systems and drainage. To monitor progress of this and other Harris County Flood Control projects please visit their   website.


Kingwood B.O.P.A. Recycling Event

Council Member Dave Martin and the City of Houston is hosting a Batteries, Oil, Paint (latex only) and Antifreeze (B.O.P.A.) mobile collection event on Saturday, April 27, 2019, from  9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Kingwood Metro Park and Ride. A valid Texas driver's license or other proof of residency will be required. This is a rain or shine event, except in the case of severe weather. Business waste will not be accepted. 
 
Many common household materials are considered hazardous and need disposal. When Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is disposed in the trash, it can contaminate landfills and subsequently ground water. This event provides a free and safe alternative for residents to rid their homes of potentially dangerous materials. Below is a list of acceptable and non-acceptable items for the April 27th collection event: 
  • ACCEPTED ITEMS: rechargeable household and automobile batteries, motor oil and filters, LATEX paint, antifreeze, small appliances and scrap metal. Used motor oil will be limited to 15 gallon. All liquids are required to be in sealed, non-leaking containers that are labeled as to their contents. 
  • ITEMS NOT ACCEPTED: business, medical and agricultural waste; oil-based paints, solvents, flammables, pesticides, herbicides and other similar hazardous materials, and electronic waste.
For more information about the City of Houston Solid Waste Management Department and its services, residents may check online at www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste, like the department on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/houstonsolidwaste, follow SWMD on twitter @houstontrash or call 3-1-1 (713-837-0311), the City of Houston's Customer Service Hotline.
Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class

On Wednesday, March 6, Council Member Martin had the opportunity to speak to the Clear Lake Area Chamber Leadership Group as part of their Elected Officials Day. Council Member Martin shared his story on how he became involved in community leadership roles with the Leadership Program Students and Chamber employees. It was an inspiring conversation about local government and how to become involved with your local municipalities. 
 
Council Member Martin appreciates the opportunity to address the Clear Lake Leadership Group. 
LHACC Yeppie Awards

On March 7 the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2nd Annual Yeppie Awards, honoring this year's outstanding young entrepreneurs and professionals. 

This year, Bobby Harl, owner and president of Back Pew Brewing, received the 2019 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and Chris Butsch, Executive Director of the Lake Houston Family YMCA, received the 2019 Young Professional of the Year Award. 

Also honored at the event were the Top 4 Under 40 recipients: Emily Thomas Stander, founder of Stander and Company, Brittney Mittag, owner of K&S Sportswear, Robert Marmerstein, COO of HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood, and Duane Johnston, owner of Chick-fil-A Wilson/Beltway 8. 

Council Member Martin congratulates the award recipients on their achievements and looks forward to all the great things they will continue to do for the Lake Houston area.  
LHACC Teacher of the Year Luncheon

On Tuesday, March 26, Council Member Martin's staff attended the Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year Luncheon. It was a wonderful tribute to those dedicated to educating the youth of the Lake Houston community.
 
Council Member Martin was honored to provide certificates to all 76 recipients who have gone above and beyond for their students and communities during the 2018-2019 school year. C ongratulations to all of the award recipients!
Hurricane Harvey Recovery Program

If your home was damaged during Hurricane Harvey, it's time to check out the City of Houston's recovery programs. 

Programs are available to reimburse homeowners for money they already spent, or to help people work with an existing contractor or a City contractor to complete repairs. The reimbursement program is available to people at any income level. Maximum assistance ranges from $20,000 to $80,000 per household, depending on income. 

Council Member Martin reminds residents to check with friends and relatives who had Harvey damage to make sure they've taken the first steps to getting help by taking the Harvey Recovery Survey.

Get started by calling 832-393-0550 or go to recovery.houstontx.gov/survey Please contact the District E office after completion so the District E team may monitor and assist throughout the process. 
Mobile Recovery Center Heads to Huffman

Council Member Dave Martin would like to make residents aware that intake specialists will be at the May Community Center in Huffman, TX on Tuesday, April 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to assist families with guidance on recovery programs and resources under the City of Houston Homeowner Assistance Program.

The first step for residents interested in accessing the City's recovery programs is to take the Harvey Recovery Survey. You can access this survey through the following options:
The Recovery Survey is a tool to direct residents to the appropriate recovery program and to help the City prioritize those with urgent needs. No documentation is required to take the Recovery Survey, and it takes less than 15 minutes to complete. While priority will be given to low and moderate-income homeowners, assistance is available to homeowners of all income levels.
Lake Conroe Seasonal Lowering

Seasonal lowering of Lake Conroe began on April 1, 2019.  The intent of seasonal lake lowering is to lower the lake level in Lake Conroe by 1 foot in the spring and 2 feet in the fall to provide a near-term, flood mitigation benefit while downstream mitigation projects such as dredging of the West Fork are being completed.   
 
Last month the San Jacinto River Authority's (SJRA) Board of Directors voted to renew the seasonal lake lowering program to gradually release water and maintain the level of Lake Conroe at 200 feet mean sea level (msl) during the spring season and 199 feet msl in the fall season.  During these seasonal lowering periods, releases into the San Jacinto River will be stopped in the event significant rainfall enters the forecast to allow the river to drain out before the rainfall begins.  At the end of each seasonal lowering period, flows will be captured to restore normal lake elevation.
 
This is the second year SJRA has participated in the seasonal lake lowering program. The strategy was originally adopted in April 2018. The City of Houston appreciates this partnership with the SJRA. 
Impactful Giving Forum

On Wednesday, April 10th, homeless service agencies from The Way Home (Houston's collaborative homeless system) and other members from the community are gathering to host a forum on what it means to give to the homeless in a meaningful and impactful way. 

For more information and to register for the event, click here
Curbside Glass Recycling Resumes

On April 4, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the return of curbside recycling of bottles and jars made from clear, green and brown glass.

In 2018, Houston City Council selected FCC after considering several proposals from competing recycling companies. The FCC agreement saves taxpayers millions in recycling costs and expands the type of materials the City's Solid Waste Department can collect curbside.
The resumption of curbside glass recycling after a two-year pause is made possible by the city's new recycling contractor, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, Inc. (FCC), which built the recycling facility in northeast Houston.
Glass, along with other items accepted in the recycling cart - paper, cardboard, aluminum, tin cans and plastics -- should be clean, dry and empty before recycling. 
The FCC facility opened in March and has a 145,000 ton per year capacity, which is more than double the current needs of the City. 
G lass continues to be accepted at the City's Recycling Drop-Off Centers in District E listed below. 
  • Ellington Airport/Clear Lake - 246 Loop Rd
  • Kingwood - 3210 West Lake Houston Parkway
The City's partnership with FCC also represents a reduction in the cost of Houston's recycling program. The new contract shares the financial risk between the City and FCC, so the City can limit its liability when the value of recyclables declines and share in revenue when it rises.

The entire facility and plant ownership are transferred to the City ; however, FCC will be responsible for operations and maintenance and the liability of the entire plant for the duration of the contract.
During the course of negotiations, the city worked hard to come to an agreement for Houston that at no time will the cost per a ton of recycled material exceed the cost per a ton of disposal to the landfill. Mayor Turner said the City and FCC look forward to working together to grow our recycling program,  improving the quality of the material, preserving our valuable landfill space, and protecting Houston's environment for the long term.
Updated Lake Houston Survey

Council Member Dave Martin would like to make City of Houston residents living in the Kingwood and Lake Houston area aware City of Houston Public Works Department has updated and broadened the reach of the original Lake Houston Survey as a result of the feedback received at the March Kingwood CIP Town Hall meeting. 

The revised and updated Lake Houston Survey will be open until April 12, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. and may only be taken once. To fill out the survey please click here. The survey should take no longer than two minutes to complete. 

Thank you in advance for your participation. 
Clear Lake B.O.P.A. Recycling Event

On Saturday, March 30, Council Member Martin and the Solid Waste Management Department (SWMD) hosted the Clear Lake Batteries, Oil, Paint and Anti-Freeze (B.O.P.A.) Collection Event at the Ellington Airport-Clear Lake Recycling Center. Approximately 7,598 pounds of recyclable materials were collected from residents over the course of the event. Volunteers from the Clear Lake area aided in the effort, which ended up yielding  500 pounds of batteries, 476 of used motor oil, 5,600 pounds of latex paint, 154 pounds of antifreeze and 868 pounds of scrap metal. 
 
Council Member Martin thanks the Solid Waste Management Department for coordinating the successful event and all the hard-working student volunteers who helped collect the recyclable materials. 

Due to a miscommunication between the departments, electronics were not accepted at the March 30th B.O.P.A. event as advertised in press releases and on the Solid Waste Department's website.  Council Member Martin encourages residents to participate in the electronic recycling event at the Ellington Airport-Clear Lake Recycling Center on Saturday, April 13, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This event occurs the second Saturday of each month. 

For a list of accepted electronic items, please click here
NEWPP Expansion Public Meeting

Council Member Dave Martin would like to invite residents to attend an informational open house on Tuesday, April 23, to learn more about the expansion of the Northeast Water Purification Plant.  The meeting will be held at Lakeside United Methodist Church, located at 14303 West Lake Houston Parkway, Houston, TX 77044. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will conclude at 8:00 p.m.

The meeting will include an update to neighbors on the status of the construction project and what will occur in the next few months.

The District E Office encourages you to attend the meeting as well as to visit  www.GreaterHoustonWater.com . If you are unable to attend the meeting or would like to learn more, please contact representatives from the water project at  info@greaterhoustonwater.com  or call (281) 520-3777.
Apollo 50th Anniversary

The historic Apollo lunar landing on July 20, 1969 paved the way for future space exploration and opened the door to boundless curiosity and discovery. 

This year, the United States will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11.  The Apollo 11 mission symbolizes how anything is possible. We are all explorers who can do our part to expand knowledge and be a part of the NASA mission. Experience the legacy of the first lunar landing and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing among an array of significant Apollo artifacts under one roof by visiting Space Center Houston.
 
Be on the lookout for more events and celebrations as we get closer to the 50th anniversary. 
Houston Fire Department Fire Safety Open House Schedule

The Houston Fire Department's "Open House" Public Safety Awareness Campaign will kick off in the month of April to promote Fire Prevention and Safety. Citizens will have the chance to learn about common causes of home fires such as cooking, heating units, and smoking; be reminded of the importance of having working smoke detectors (and checking them frequently) and how critical it is to have a fire safety escape plan in place.
 
There are two safety themes for 2019 open houses: "Know the Way Out" and "Cook with Caution." Open house activities, which may vary by fire station, include: an interactive tour through the fire safety house to learn how to prepare and evacuate during an emergency, demonstrations by firefighters, fire station tours, photo ops with Sparky the Fire Dog, and free pizza and chips. 

"Every year, the majority of fire deaths in North America happen at home. In a typical home, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Our open houses are a time for people to think ahead. You can help ensure your family's safety by having a home fire escape plan, making sure your smoke alarms work well, and being careful with cooking and heating equipment," said Fire Chief Sam Pena.

Several Open House events are scheduled to occur across the City, and HFD will open its doors to the citizens twice in District E. Please save the dates:

  • Houston Fire Station 105 (Summerwood): Thursday, June 6, 2019, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 14014 W Lake Houston Parkway
  • Houston Fire Station 71 (Clear Lake): Saturday, October 12, 2019, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 15200 Space Center Boulevard
For the full schedule of 2019 open house, please click here
Upcoming Events

Please email the District E office if you would like us to include your upcoming event in future newsletters! 

City Wides

April 23
Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee

Kingwood 

April 6
Kingwood Electronic Waste Recycling

April 10
Kingwood Service Association Public Safety Committee

April 16
Kingwood PIP

April 17
Kingwood Super Neighborhood

April 23
NEWPP Public Meeting

April 27
Kingwood B.O.P.A.


Southeast Houston/Clear Lake 

April 11
Meadowcreek Civic Club Meeting

April 13
Clear Lake Electronic Waste Recycling 

April 16
Clear Lake PIP

April 25
Freeway Manor Civic Club Meeting