I skipped the two March meetings of the Shoreacres City Council because of the Republican Party primary, so it was good to be back and see if anything had changed.
3.0 Special Presentations
There were two proclamations made this month. First was proclaiming April as “Fair Housing Month” and the second one was proclaiming May as “Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month”. If you click here, you can read both proclamations. There was a large contingent of motorcyclists on hand, although the weather was such that they had all come to the meeting via cages.
5.0 Council Reports & Requests
Mayor Webber said that he had given a “state of the city” speech at the Houston Yacht Club and declared that the City of Shoreacres was in a state of growth. I asked if he could quantify that and he and City Administrator David Stall said that 6 new housing permits have been issued in the past 30 days.
6.0 Public Comments
David Solomon – not a citizen but a homebuilder. I’d suggest clicking on the city website and listening to Mr. Solomon’s rather strange complaint and threat. His complaint was that he was having problems with one homeowner and that she calls the cops on him every day. His threat was that he was currently building homes valued at $1.3 and $1.4 MILLION and if the city didn’t find a way to stop her from harassing him, he was going to pull out and either stop building homes or build cheap vacation rentals. He also mentioned problems with the city inspector, a problem I thought had been solved a while back. Interesting.
7.0 Administrative Reports
7.1 General Activity – Stall noted that Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan was holding up several projects but didn’t state why. I’ll follow up with Ryan’s office to see what the problem is. Sometimes it’s good to have a county commissioner live in your neighborhood – Jack Morman is going to replace the remaining block of asphalt pavement on West Forest Ave. with concrete out of the Precinct 2 budget! All we have to pay for is 200 feet of water line replacement. Nice.
7.2 Police – Chief Harrison noted that a new officer was now full time and on his own. I’m not sure how to spell his name, Haase (?), but my wife and I met him while we were out walking and he seems like a nice guy with a lot of experience from the Houston Police Department. The chief also said that he had recently received a check for a few thousand dollars from the Harris County DA’s office as a result of a drug bust by Officer Thompson last year. The money will most likely be used to purchase a new radio.
7.3 Public Works – Interim Director Eric Ingraham discussed the water pressure and aeration problems we’ve been having since Water Plant 1 came back on line. The city is going to have a contractor install baffles to try and slow the velocity of the water going into storage to correct the problem.
8.2 – Council moved the date of the second meeting in May from May 26th to May 27th.
8.3 – Stall discussed HR 3370 – Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, commonly referred to as the Grimm-Waters Act of 2014. The act addresses some of the problems of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, which raised flood insurance rates so much that the housing market has been affected. I’d suggest listening to Stall’s overview while browsing through his outline – click here to find the outline and click here to listen.
8.4 – Schnell postponed this ordinance because she had not heard back from the Texas Municipal League about a few questions she had.
After the motorcyclists left, there were few people in attendance. You get the government you deserve if you don’t bother to participate. The rant from the homebuilder bugged me. Threatening to pull out of the city if a citizen doesn’t stop making you follow the law is unacceptable. Had I been Mayor, I’d have told him to take his toys and go home. I know that the majority of the current council doesn’t like the woman involved but still, someone should have challenged him. I guarantee you that after listening to the guy, I wouldn’t buy a house he built, especially at the prices he claims to be selling the homes for. Besides, I don’t like bullies. As an aside, anyone that would pay $1.3 or $1.4 MILLION to live in one of those stilt homes on Miramar has a few screws loose. In my opinion, of course.
As a reminder, there is an election coming up on May 10th. There are clear differences between the two candidates for Mayor – I’d hope that citizens take the time to find out what those differences are and don’t vote for someone simply because the name is familiar.
Also, every homeowner in the city needs to file a protest of their property tax appraisal and make certain that you do not pay higher taxes simply because a computer program optimized for higher values says that you should. Remember, we already have the highest tax rate in the area by a wide margin. It doesn’t cost anything to file and Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Mike Sullivan is going to be offering classes on how to protest your appraisal.
Until next time, remember this: don’t let anyone steal your joy!