In late July, Harris County announced it would be reorganizing the existing Flood Control Task Force into the Harris County Community Flood Resilience Task Force in an effort to “reflect a broader approach to the infrastructure challenges and opportunities in our community.”
The original Harris County Flood Control Task Force was established in 1972 to advise and recommend “policies and programs to adequately protect homes and businesses from the hazards of flooding and facilitate economic development.” The GHBA had several members serving on this task force who represented a variety of viewpoints in the residential homebuilding industry.
The bylaws proposed for the new task force in late July, outlined how the composition of the task force members would be selected, as well as strict criteria for who would be eligible to fill those seats. The 17-member committee will include five members selected by each member of the Commissioners Court, who will then determine the remaining 12 members.
The membership criteria for the task force was greatly expanded to include community members that would not generally be included in a flood and resilience committee tasked with helping steer the county on flood mitigation efforts. In that effort to increase community input, it is possible that 12 of the 17 members may not have any infrastructure planning or design expertise and only one seat is required to be filled by an individual from the “engineering/construction” industry.
During a short public comment period on the proposed bylaws that will guide the task force, GHBA members participated in Zoom meetings with the county and offered comments via phone during the July 28 Commissioners Court meeting. In addition, the GHBA sent a letter to the county judge and the four commissioners raising our concerns with the proposed bylaws. Commissioners Court adopted the bylaws on August 11.
The GHBA supports the county’s efforts to strengthen the role of the Harris County Flood Control Task Force and increase the diversity of its membership. However, due to how important the responsibility of the task force will be in reviewing flood projects and proposals, we stated that we are concerned that the task force will not have adequate technical representation to help guide the creation and implementation of a resilience plan.
The first five members are scheduled to be selected later this month, with the task force being fully comprised by the end of the year. We are and will continue to work with our industry partners and the court in offering nominees with subject matter expertise to fill these positions.