Tomball - Magnolia Edition | July 2021

CITY& COUNTY

News from Tomball, Magnolia and Harris & Montgomery counties

Council members oppose subsidence requirement MAGNOLIA City Council members unanimously passed an ordinance July 13 opposing a proposed goal by Groundwater Management Area 14 that would include a subsidence-re- lated requirement for the region’s groundwater aquifer system. 2080, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. Subsidence is the gradual sinking of the earth as a result of excessive groundwater use. “The fact that [GMA 14 is trying] to support this with science, yet they believe they can pull as much water BY CHANDLER FRANCE & EVA VIGH difficult to assess whether pumping from Harris County is affecting subsidence in Montgomery County, which is why it launched its own study focused solely on understand- ing pumping within Montgomery County. Phase 2 of the study began in June, but the study is not expected to be complete until after the DFCs will need to be approved in January.

Cityconsideringright- turn-onlysignsat2 FM1488 intersections

BY CHANDLER FRANCE

MAGNOLIA City Council passed a resolution July 13 to draft an ordi- nance requiring right-turn only signs at the intersections of FM 1488 and Commerce and 10th streets. Police Chief Kyle Montgomery said the idea is to lessen the number of crashes. “This is where we have most of our crashes, and they typically end up being our worst crashes,” Montgom- ery said during the meeting. There have been 37 crashes at these intersections over the past two years, most of which have resulted in inju- ries, Montgomery said in an email. Montgomery said drivers often attempt to cross FM 1488 from Commerce Street into the Wal- greens parking lot or make left turns from Commerce and 10th streets onto FM 1488. When traffic backs up, he said it makes these moves dangerous, as drivers cannot see other oncoming vehicles. Council Member Brenda Hoppe said she is concerned about enforcing the potential traffic change. “You can’t not take steps for public safety because you’re afraid it won’t get enforced,” Mayor Todd Kana said. The ordinance to add the signs will be voted on Aug. 10.

out of the same aquifer flowing under us and it not be part of the problem—it’s ludicrous,” Mayor Todd Kana said. The LSGCD claims this subsid- ence metric cannot be accurately calculated with existing equipment and restricts entities from making decisions best suited for their individual needs. The LSGCD is advocating for more research into subsidence before mak- ing a decision. The LSGCD officials claim it is which cover medical plans for employees and retirees. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said three or four years ago, the county had $17 million-$20 million dedi- cated to its internal service fund, but it has not increased. “During that time ... that fund has been depleted to the point where last month, the county had to step in, make some changes and put in $6 million-$7 million more,” Noack said. One proposed option to resolve the issue would mean a $0.01 tax rate increase for the FY 2021-22 budget. Montgomery County Auditor Rakesh Pandey said another solu- tion could come from unassigning up to $15 million in funds to cover the $6 million for employee health

GMA 14—which includes the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation Dis- trict, which regulates groundwater in Montgomery County—is the entity tasked with voting on the region’s groundwater goal, known as desired future conditions, or DFCs. In April, GMA 14 proposed goals for the region’s groundwater usage. It included a metric that would restrict those within GMA 14 to no more than 1 additional foot of aver- age subsidence between 2009 and

City Attorney Leonard Schneider said Magnolia is the sixth city in the county to pass a resolution opposing the proposed DFC. However, not all entities agree with the LSGCD’s stance. During the April GMA 14 meeting, the LSGCD was the sole entity in favor of allowing districts to select their own DFCs that do not include a subsidence metric. EYEING AN INCREASE Montgomery County commissioners are anticipated to further discuss the budget for fiscal year 2021-22 in late July and August. Preliminary FY 2021-22 budget: $376.21 million FY 2020-21 budget: $350.56 million SOURCE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 7.1% INCREASE

$376Mpreliminary budget presented

BY ANDREW CHRISTMAN

MONTGOMERY COUNTY Prior to the fiscal year 2021-22 budget workshops, Montgomery County Commissioners Court was presented with an early version of the county’s budget during a July 13 meeting. The preliminary total budget is $376.21 million, an increase of around $13.7 million, about 7.1%, from last year’s $350.56 million, Montgomery County Budget Officer Amanda Carter said. Commissioners discussed the county’s internal service funds,

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care rather than raising the tax rate. Commissioners voted in favor of that option.

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