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VOLUME 14, ISSUE 6 FEB. 8MARCH 2, 2023
DRAWING THE LINES
In addition to populating new campuses, Cy-Fair ISD attendance boundary changes will help relieve overcrowded campuses by rezoning students to underused campuses. Although CFISD is not expected to open a new high school until the 2030s, many campuses will be impacted by rezoning starting in 2023-24.
*PROJECTED 10YEAR GROWTH
2012 107,660 enrolled
*2032 120,397 projected
2022 118,565 enrolled
1 Bridgeland 2 Cypress Park 3 Cypress Woods 4 Cypress Ranch 5 Cypress Springs 6 Cypress Lakes 7 Langham Creek 8 Cypress Falls 9 Cy-Fair 10 Cypress Creek 11 Jersey Village 12 Cypress Ridge HIGH SCHOOLS 10-YEAR ENROLLMENT GROWTH
2002 67,441 enrolled
Cypress Falls and Langham Creek will gain students.
Cy-Fair and Cypress Creek tweaks better align feeder patterns.
Dunham Pointe will be zoned to Cypress Woods.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar coming soon to Towne Lake
First responders to receive raises
Public safety Public safety
2023 24 BOUNDARIES
2022 23 BOUNDARIES
SOURCES: CYFAIR ISD, POPULATION AND SURVEY ANALYSTS, TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT
New Cy-Fair ISD attendance zones to balance enrollment In a split 4-3 vote, the Cy-Fair ISD board approved new attendance boundaries at a Jan. 12 meeting to populate three new campuses opening in the next two years. BY DANICA LLOYD and one dierent ways that you could possibly accom- plish this,” Chief of Sta Teresa Hull said Dec. 8. “It’s unfortunate that I do think that this is a situation we’re going to nd ourselves in over the next few years as the district completes its build-out, but we still have to address growth in dierent areas, and we have to balance some of those enrollments.”
Dozens of other attendance boundaries were also altered to relieve overcrowded schools, better utilize campuses operating under capacity and better align feeder patterns, district ocials said. More than 6,000 students are expected to be impacted. “I know that it’s not easy. There are certainly a million
Houston Rodeo Guide
A committee of 18 district ocials representing curric- ulum, athletics, transportation and other departments
CONTINUED ON 24
County jail population, deaths swell in 2022
In 2022, the Harris County Jail recorded the highest number of in-custody deaths since 2006, and the population surged to numbers not seen since 2011. Harris County’s overburdened jail
Local meat market oers Latin American products
BY RACHEL CARLTON
The Harris County Jail was pushed to its limits in 2022: the average daily population in the third quarter of the year rose above 10,000 people for the rst time since 2011, according to the county’s jail population dashboard. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards also found the jail out of compliance twice in the lat- ter half of 2022: once Sept. 7 for
Pull the newest teaser from CC Libraries
in-custody deaths in Harris County Jail in 2022 27
of inmates on Aug. 1 were incarcerated pretrial, up from 58.8% in August 2012 84.9%
approved by Commissioners Court to outsource inmates to other jails in 2022 $34.89M
average jail population in third quarter 2022, the most since 2011 10,033
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SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE, OFFICE OF COUNTY ADMINISTRATION, TEXAS COMMISSION ON JAIL STANDARDSCOMMUNITY IMPACT
CONTINUED ON 26
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CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS MONTH
FROM KATHIE: The new year is underway, and I am lled with the sense that great opportunities are coming our way in Cypress and Cy-Fair. As you know, we covered the projected population growth last month, and this month, we explain how that growth has led to the rezoning of local schools in Cy-Fair ISD (see Page 24). Kathie Snyder, GENERAL MANAGER
FROM DANICA: Our Harris County Reporter Rachel Carlton brings us updates on the Harris County jail system this month, including a surging population and the highest death toll since 2006, among other challenges in the county criminal justice system (see Page 26). Plus, increased trac on the Grand Parkway has urged transportation planning experts to move up a planned widening project by three years. See Page 11 for more details. Danica Lloyd, EDITOR
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CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding
G R A N T R
L O U E T T A
VINTAGE PARK BLVD.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
COURTESY HOPDODDY BURGER BAR
6 Flip N Dip Burger opened in November at 13203 Fry Road, Cypress, oering a vari- ety of burgers, chicken wings, tender bites, loaded fries, chicken sandwiches and sides. 281-758-5307. www.ipndip.net 7 Ichiru Ramen and Sushi opened at 26084 Hwy. 290, Ste. 150, Cypress, in November. The eatery serves Japanese sushi and ramen dishes as well as soups, salads, bao, lunch specials and bento boxes. 281-369-7588. www.ichiru.kwickmenu.com 8 Orange Lee’s PoBoys & Wings opened in late 2022 at 11308 Humeister Road, Houston, serving New Orleans-inspired cuisine, including po’boys, wings, fried rice, salads, chicken and waes, nachos, sea- food gumbo, Alfredo shrimp pasta, fried catsh and desserts. 832-960-7365. www.facebook.com/ orangeleespoboyswings 9 Bobahouse opened Jan. 2 at 8302 N. Eldridge Parkway, Ste. 210, Houston, serving various avors of iced teas and milk teas with topping options; coee; smoothies and hot teas; and tea party sets that come with baked goods. www.facebook.com/bobahouse.us 10 Sri Satyanarayana Temple of Greater Houston , 24801 Botkins Road, Hockley, hosted a grand opening event Feb. 3-5. The temple aims to “provide a place for the growing Indian community to meet and get to know each other,” but all races and religions are welcome, according to the website. 281-560-3065. www.sstgh.org 11 Shiba Liquor opened in January at 12634 Grant Road, Ste. A, Cypress, of- fering beer, wine, liquor, mixers, snacks, party supplies, bar accessories and gifts. 346-808-7571. www.shibaliquor.com
N. BRIDGELAND LAKE PKWY.
HOUSE & HAHL RD.
N . H O U S T
R E S S
MAP NOT TO SCALE
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NOW OPEN 1 Jon Smith Subs opened at 8350 Fry Road, Ste. 600, Cypress, on Jan. 16. The eatery oers six-inch and footlong submarine sandwiches, including classics, such as turkey breast and tuna sandwich- es, as well as localized options, including Cajun and teriyaki subs. 281-213-4871. www.jonsmithsubs.com 2 Kelsey-Seybold Clinic - Faireld opened Jan. 9 at 27020 Hwy. 290, Cypress. The new 22,500-square-foot facility oers family medicine and
4 Bluen Hibachi & Sushi opened Jan. 1 at 17395 Hwy. 249, Houston, according to owner Lorence Eang. The restaurant’s head chef, Chef Lee, has over 20 years of experience. The restaurant of- fers hibachi meals and sushi options, such as mango and shrimp rolls. 281-653-9683 5 Cosa Nostra Cucina Italiana celebrated its soft opening in late December in the Willowbrook Plaza shopping center, 17485 Hwy. 249, Houston. Owned by Adriana and Sergio Bosco and Antonio and Daniele Avolio, the restaurant serves handmade pasta and Italian cuisine, such as beef carpaccio. 832-604-7460
internal medicine primary care for adults as well as on-site X-ray and laboratory services. Pediatric, dermatology, OB/GYN and orthopedic specialists are expected to join the clinic this year. 713-442-8400. www.kelsey-seybold.com 3 Teriyaki Madness opened Jan. 24 at 14123 Grant Road, Cypress. The fast- casual eatery is known for its made-to- order Japanese-style teriyaki bowls. This location will primarily focus on takeout business but will have limited dine-in seating, ocials said. 346-248-6015. www.teriyakimadness.com
COMPILED BY COMMUNITY IMPACT STAFF
COMING SOON 16 A new location of Hopdoddy Burger Bar is slated to open in early March at the Boardwalk at Towne Lake, 9945 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 129, Cypress. The eatery’s menu features several burgers, sandwiches, burger bowls, fried chicken, fries and shakes, and Hopdoddy’s bar serves wine, beer and cocktails. This location will feature a patio space with garage doors opening to the bar. 281-251-2337. www.hopdoddy.com 17 Code Wiz coding and robotics learn- ing center is planning a grand opening for March 11 at 16718 House & Hahl Road, Ste. I, Cypress. The business oers classes for children ages 7-17 and aims to teach kids to think outside the box and develop problem-solving skills, owner Ton Bui said. 832-653-9079. www.thecodewiz.com/cypress-tx 18 Koozies Sports Bar and Grill is slated to open in February at 8190 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 300, Cypress. The full-service sports bar will serve classic American cuisine. 281-815-3121. www.kooziesbar.com NEW OWNERSHIP 19 Kristin King, who joined the Amy Wine Counseling Center sta as clinical director in 2021, purchased and rebranded the business as Sequoia Counseling Cen- ter on Dec. 1. Located at 17920 Humeis- ter Road, Ste. 150, Cypress, the counseling center continues to provide the same services, including counseling for children, teens, adults, families and couples. 832-421-8714. www.sequoiacounselingcenter.com NAME CHANGE Cypress Families for Public Schools , formerly known as Cy-Fair Civic Alliance, launched the nonprot’s rebrand Jan. 16. The nonpartisan organization’s mission is “to engage, inform and unite Cy-Fair ISD sta, parents, students and taxpayers.” Since launching in November 2021, the group has delivered appreciation gifts to CFISD librarians, held school supply drives and awarded a scholarship to a CFISD graduate. www.cypressfps.org
COURTESY CODE WIZ
12 Local nonprot Cy-Hope opened a second location of The Hope Chest resale market in late January at 6545 Stockdick School Road, Katy. Proceeds will support programming that helps meet the needs of underserved local youth. The shop accepts donated items, such as clothing, furniture, antiques, books and household items. 281-758-1003. www.cy-hope.org 13 A new location of Jersey Mike’s Subs opened Jan. 11 at 8940 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. Jersey Mike’s oers fresh sliced subs with a variety of meats, cheeses and vegetables. Daniel Runzheimer and Benjamin Tupaj own this franchise location. 346-445-8222. www.jerseymikes.com 14 Live Hydration Spa celebrated a Dec. 2 grand opening for its new location in Vintage Park. Located at 130 Vintage Park Blvd., Ste. D, Houston, the business oers IV treatments designed to help shorten recovery time after an injury or a competition, and to help support increased athletic ability. 832-476-7837. www.livehydrationspa.com 15 HealthySmiles Pet Dental opened Nov. 30 at 17445 Spring Cypress Road, Ste. F, Cypress, oering anesthesia-free dental cleanings for dogs and cats as well pet chiropractic services, wellness exams and raindrop therapy. 832-281-5281. www.healthysmiles.pet Fresh Coat Painters of Northwest Hous- ton opened in the fall of 2022 oering residential and commercial painting and related services, such as wallpaper installation and removal, drywall repair, texture matching, pressure washing, and deck and fence staining. 346-541-4043. www.freshcoatpainters.com
Xiomara Zabala owns Dolce Art Custom Cakes and plans to open her storefront soon.
COURTESY DOLCE ART CUSTOM CAKES
FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON After years of running her custom cake business, Xiomara Zabala plans to open her rst storefront this February at 14908 Hwy. 290, Houston, near Jersey Village. Dolce Art Custom Cakes will oer custom cakes for any occasion, and Zabala said she will also oer a variety of cakes and baked treats for purchase in-store. The shop will initially be open Tue.-Fri. from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat. from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Zabala said she hopes to grow her team and oer baking classes in the future, which may include kids camps and even small party packages for groups of 20 or less. “The vision for this cake studio is not only to make beautiful cakes but provide unique experiences,” she said. Her whole family pitches in to help make this vision a reality, according to her son Miguel.
“The opening of our new storefront this year is a monumental milestone in the advancement of our American dream story,” he said. “Our family immigrated from Venezuela to Cypress in 2004. Many changes came along with this move, including 180-degree career changes for my mother and father. [My mother] leveraged skills she learned from only a few-day baking workshop in her country to make edible art to simply provide for her family in times of need.” 281-882-9259. www.mydolceart.com
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CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
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FEBRUARY 10 LEARN ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Amanda Trickey, a local digital marketing expert and the owner of Modern Marketing & Media, will teach a free Intro to Social Media for Business class. 3-5 p.m. Free. Lone Star College-Tomball Community Library, 30555 Hwy. 249, Tomball. 832-559-4200. www.marketingtomball.com 11 THROUGH 26 SEE A HORSE RACE Sam Houston Race Park live thoroughbred racing continues. Events include premier racing events, a variety of promotions and drink specials from 3-5 p.m. on Fridays. 1 p.m. (select dates). Free (children ages 5 and younger), $5 (general admission). Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Parkway W., Houston. 281-807-8700. www.shrp.com 17 THROUGH 25 SEE AN AMERICAN CLASSIC LIVE Playhouse 1960 presents “The Women” by Clare Boothe Luce, an American classic about the hardships of womanhood in an articial society. 8 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.). $24.50-$27.50. Playhouse 1960, 6814 Gant Road, Ste. 116, Houston. 281-587-8243. www.playhouse1960.com
WORTH THE TRIP
UIL WRESTLING STATE CHAMPIONSHIP BERRY CENTER
DIY MINI CAKES + CRAFTS AR WORKSHOP
ALL THE BOOKS HOUSTON DOUBLETREE BY HILTON
21 ATTEND A JERSEY VILLAGE TOWN HALL Jersey Village Mayor Bobby Warren will host a town hall meeting. Residents are encouraged to attend to ask any questions they may have. 7-9 p.m. Free. Jersey Village Civic Center, 16327 Lakeview Drive, Jersey Village. 713-466-2100. www.jerseyvillagetx.com A cake decorating class is followed by a Valentine’s Day-themed craft session. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $65-$154. 16718 House & Hahl Road, Unit C1, Cypress. www.arworkshop.com (Courtesy The Flour Petal Bakery)
25 SWING BY A CAR SHOW Heritage at Towne Lake will be hosting its 11th annual car show. A portion of prots will be donated to local charitable organizations. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free (admission), $25 (car registration). Heritage at Towne Lake Lodge, 19201 N. Canyon Lake Springs Drive, Cypress. 281-373-0970. The University Interscholastic League wrestling state tournament will be held in Cy-Fair. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. $15-$25. 8877 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress. 512-471-5883. www.uiltexas.org/ wrestling (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
This All the Books Houston book signing event features various authors. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5-$35. 15747 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Houston. www.allthebookseventhouston.com (Courtesy All the Books Houston)
27 THROUGH 28 HEAR A MADRIGAL FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE
The Langham Creek High School Choir invites the community to listen as singers preview the music they are taking to San Antonio for the Madrigal Festival. 7-9 p.m. Free. The Foundry Church, 8350 Jones
Road, Houston. 281-463-5426. www.langhamcreekchoir.org
Find more or submit Cy-Fair events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.
WE ARE YOUR CY-FAIR FIRE DEPARTMENT
Congratulations to Tim Swift for completing the final part of his credentialing process with Dr. Lesley Osborn for in-charge Paramedic with the Cy-Fair Fire Department.
Congratulations to Abilene Castro for completing the final part of her credentialing process with Dr. Lesley Osborn for in-charge Paramedic with the Cy-Fair Fire Department.
@CYFAIRFD • #CYFAIRFD
CONNECT WITH US!
CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
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Village Medical Primary Care Clinics are now open in Cypress- Fairbanks
To schedule an appointment or learn more VillageMedical.com
intment or learn more VillageMedical.com
Provider Spotlight We’re bringing high-tech, high-touch care to patients. Our doctors and staff partner with you to understand your needs and work with you—not just on treatment, but also education and preventive care. Village Medical Primary Care Clinics are now open in Cypress- Fairbanks
Located at: Village Medical 10720 Barker Cypress Rd, Cypress, TX 77433 Tel: 713-461-2915 Mon - Fri 8am – 5pm
Village Medical at CyFalls 9511 Huffmeister, Ste 100 Two Cypress locations to serve you:
Village Medical at Vintage 10220 Louetta Rd., Ste 100
David Hoefer MD Village Medical at Walgreens 12314 Jones Rd. Houston, TX 77070
press Rosehill Rd. TX 77429 7am – 7pm n: 9am – 5pm
Walk-ins welcome We’re bringing high-tech, high-touch care to patients. Our doctors and staff partner with you to understand your needs and work with you—not just on treatment, but also education and preventive care. Same-day appointments available Provider Spotlight Alfredo Ermac MD Julius DeBroeck MD
Village Medical at Walgreens 713-461-2915 14317 Cypress Rosehill Rd. Cypress, TX 77429 Mon - Fri: 7am – 7pm Sat & Sun: 9am – 5pm Houston, TX 77095 Mon – Fri: 8am –5pm
Village Medical at Riata Ranch 713-461-2915 10720 Barker Cypress Rd. Cypress, TX 77433 Mon – Fri: 8am – 5pm
Sergio Perossa MD
Paul Shepard MD Houston, TX 77070 Mon – Fri: 8am –5pm
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To schedule an appointment or learn more VillageMedical.com
Several area locations to serve you:
Medicare accepted at all Village Medical locations
Village Medical at CyFalls 9511 Huffmeister, Ste 100 Houston, TX 77095 Extended hours offered at some locations
Village Medical at Vintage 10220 Louetta Rd., Ste 100 Houston, TX 77070 Virtual visits
Village Medical at Walgreens 12314 Jones Rd. Houston, TX 77070
Village Medical at Walgreens 14317 Cypress Rosehill Rd. Cypress, TX 77429
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15881 FM 529 Ste. A Houston, TX 77095 Walk-ins welcome
Same-day appointments available
TRANSPORTATION UPDATES Grand Parkway widening rescheduled due to high priority
COMPILED BY DANICA LLOYD
F A L L B R O O K D R .
DEMANDDRIVEN PROJECTS Four segments of Grand Parkway widenings are expected to be added to the 2023-26 Transportation Improvement Program.
Transportation planning experts have proposed widening segments of the Grand Parkway sooner than previously scheduled to improve mobility and meet growing demands. Projects include the widening of the two lanes heading in both directions to three lanes from I-45 to Hwy. 249 and from Hwy. 290 to I-10, which were initially planned for scal year 2029. As of press time, the Houston- Galveston Area Council’s Transpor- tation Policy Council was expected to vote Jan. 27 to move these projects into the 2023-26 Transportation Improvement Program. Major projects in the TIP can receive federal funding, and HGAC transportation committees regularly revise plans as needed. Jim Dickinson, senior transportation planner for the HGAC, said the project would be funded by state toll revenue. “These widenings would mitigate congestion and improve the opera- tional eciency of the system,” he said at the Dec. 16 TPC meeting. Emily Black, public information
Hwy. 249 to Kuykendahl Road: $65.34 million in scal year 2024
ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF JAN. 25. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CYFNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. four-lane roadway was put on hold last May when the previous contractor left the project. Project scope also includes new trac lights at Fallbrook Drive and Windfern Road, as well as modications at West Road. The project was in Harris County Precinct 4 before redistricting, and construction initially began in sum- mer 2021. Precinct 1 is responsible for about $6 million of the total cost. Timeline: January-late 2023 Cost: $14 million Funding sources: Harris County Precinct 1, Harris County Precinct 4 Gessner Road extension An eort to extend Gessner Road from West Road to Fallbrook Drive resumed in January. Ocials with Harris County Precinct 1 said construction on the
Kuykendahl Road to Holzwarth Road: $45.94 million in FY 2023
Hwy. 290 to West Road: $72.8 million in FY 2026
West Road to I-10: $100.8 million in FY 2026
SOURCE: HOUSTONGALVESTON AREA COUNCILCOMMUNITY IMPACT
ocer with the Texas Department of Transportation in Houston, said as tollway use has grown, the level of service standards agreed upon by TxDOT and the seven aected counties are no longer being met. Construction for each segment
could take between 18-30 months, and further widenings could be needed in the future depending on trac counts. Black said the Grand Parkway was built with large medi- ans, so widenings can be made from the inside to minimize disruption.
Westside Sporting Grounds August 31, 2023 Sponsorships Available
Contact Marie Holmes 281.370.0144
CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
EXCEPTIONAL, CONNECTED CARE. CLOSER THAN EVER.
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Fairfield NOW OPEN!
Scan to schedule your appointment or call 713-442-8578
PUBLIC SAFETY Harris County ESD No. 9 approves pay raises for first responders
TOP OPERATING EXPENSES Fire suppression and emergency medical services make up 50% of Harris County ESD No. 9’s 2023 budget. See the top five expenses below.
BY DANICA LLOYD
historically been successful. “You bring a wealth of [expertise] that could bring value and synergize, but don’t dismiss what we’ve done before because it’s worked; it just wasn’t your language. … Let’s come together instead of driving division, and let’s [combine] your expertise, our expertise and
Commissioners with the Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 voted 4-1 on Dec. 22 to modify the budget previously approved in September, solidifying 4% salary increases for personnel. This taxing district supports operations for the Cy-Fair Fire Department. The ESD approved a to 10%. At the time, officials were waiting for the U.S. Social Security Administration to release the annual cost-of-living adjustment. Fire Chief Amy Ramon said staff raises are typically tied to that number. On Oct. 13, the federal government reported an 8.7% COLA increase for 2023—the highest since 1981, Commu- nity Impact previously reported. At the Dec. 22 meeting, Commis- sioner Kevin Stertzel, a certified public accountant and “fiscal budget Sept. 15, which included raises of up conservative” who was elected in May, expressed disapproval of the way the CFFD has developed budgets in the past. He said the department did not have a financial professional until the hiring of Finance Director Mike Abend on Nov. 10. Commissioner Bevin Gordon said “meaningful” budgets have been passed for years before this position existed, and CFFD officials said they believe their budget process has
11 new full-time firefighters and a 4.06% salary increase for staff were included in the 2023 budget approved Dec. 22.
Human resources & accounting
SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES DISTRICT NO. 9/COMMUNITY IMPACT
“WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE COMPENSATING OUR EMPLOYEES THE BEST.” BEVIN GORDON, ESD 9 COMMISSIONER
make the com- munity better,” Assistant Chief of EMS Justin Reed told Stertzel. Stertzel
REVENUE SOURCES Most of the ESD’s revenue comes from sales tax with about one-third coming from local property taxes.
proposed 3% salary increases with $2,000 stipends. But members of the Cy-Fair Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 5248 preferred a flat-percentage increase over a one-time stipend that would not be accounted for in future salary increases and would negatively impact long-term benefits. Meeting demand Chris Fillmore, who has served as the president of the labor union since May, said offering attractive benefits is a must as fire departments across the nation face staffing shortages. “The only way we’re going to be able to recruit and hire new people is by having a benefits package that gets them to leave whatever department they’re currently with to come be a part of our department,” he said. Commissioners and CFFD adminis- tration ended up coming to a general agreement of a raise based on the
Property tax: $26.75M Sales tax: $51.75M
Other sources: $468K EMS collections: $6M
TOTAL REVENUE $84.96 million
With a property tax rate of $0.049984 per $100 valuation , the owner of a $300,000 home would pay $149.95 to ESD No. 9 .
SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES DISTRICT NO. 9/COMMUNITY IMPACT
five-year average of the COLA rather than on one given year. This comes out to 4.06% for 2018-23. In addition, department staff will continue to conduct market analyses every two to three years to ensure wages are competitive enough to recruit and retain top talent. “We can be passionate; we can love our jobs. That’s all great, and I hope for that from everyone who works here. But compensation is why people work, and we need to make sure that we’re compensating our
employees the best,” Gordon said. Ultimately, Stertzel was the sole commissioner to vote against the now-$74.3 million budget Dec. 22. He left the Sept. 15 meeting before the remaining quorum voted to approve the initial $80 million budget. The 2023 budget also allocates funding for the hiring of 11 additional full-time firefighters, which the command staff deemed a “neces- sity” as the department deals with staffing shortages in a fast-growing jurisdiction.
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CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
ENVIRONMENT Task force to target Cypress Creek ood mitigation with drainage district
BY EMILY LINCKE The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force is seeking to speed up ood mitigation eorts along Cypress Creek by creating a drainage district by June, should Texas legislators approve the idea. “The creation of the special district would enable us to seek state funding and federal funding for ood control eorts,” said Glenn Wilkerson, pres- ident of the Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force, a local organization made up of community leaders. “Right now, we have no voice to help us do that, so the creation of this district is desperately needed.” The Cypress Creek watershed has a history of ooding with 29.3 inches of rainfall received and 9,450 homes ooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, according to the Harris County Flood Control District. Flooding events such as Harvey have sparked eorts to mitigate ooding, such as the task force’s proposed drainage district. Since the communities along Cypress Creek in the Cy-Fair and Spring areas are largely within unin- corporated Harris County, there is no central government entity to assist with these funding eorts. The district would be led by a board of directors who would decide what ood mitigation eorts to pursue along the Cypress Creek watershed, Wilker- son said. Before the district can be cre- ated, however, it must be led in a bill proposed by a local legislator. The task force has been working with state Rep. Sam Harless, RSpring, to le the legislation to create the drainage district.
SPEAKING UP FOR CYPRESS CREEK
The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force’s proposed drainage district would cover the Cypress Creek watershed in areas excluding the Willowbrook community and the cities of Waller, Tomball and Prairie View.
Proposed drainage district
Little Cypress Creek
THE DRAINAGE DISTRICT EXPLAINED What would the Cypress Creek drainage district do? It would pursue ood mitigation projects along the Cypress Creek watershed. How will the district be created? A local legislator would le a bill that would be approved this session. Q: A: Q: A:
Who would run the district? A temporary board of directors. A permanent board will be up for election as soon as November. How would the district be funded? The permanent board would determine this once elected. What is the soonest the district could be created? After the November election
Q: A: Q: A: Q: A:
SOURCES: CYPRESS CREEK FLOODING TASK FORCE, HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICTCOMMUNITY IMPACT
Moving toward change If the legislation to create the task force’s drainage district is led and passed by the Texas Legislature, the bill would go before Gov. Greg Abbott for approval in June. The bill would create a temporary board of directors for the district, Wilk- erson said. The temporary board would then call a districtwide election as soon as November for the community
to vote on a permanent board of direc- tors and “conrm the creation of the special district,” he added. The task force’s initial plan was to have a local legislator le a bill directly giving the drainage district taxation powers if approved by voters in an election. However, this idea has since been scrapped, Wilkerson said. “The purpose of the legislation the task force is proposing is to create a
“I certainly am interested in [the drainage district], but I want to make sure that there’s not a tax increase on my constituents or that there’s not a bond proposed,” Harless said Nov. 23. As of press time on Jan. 25, Harless had not yet led the bill. March 10 is the deadline for legislation to be led for the ongoing legislative session, which began Jan. 10 and will end May 29.
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FROM IDEA TO IMPLEMENTATION
The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force has proposed the creation of a Cypress Creek drainage district to promote ood mitigation, but legislators must approve the district before it can be created.
May 2022: The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force announces its pursuit of creating a drainage district along the Cypress Creek watershed.
March 10, 2023: The deadline for legislators to le bills in the 88th session
May 29, 2023: The last day of the Texas Legislature’s 88th session
June 2023: If approved by the Legislature, the bill will go before Gov. Greg Abbott for consideration.
November 2022: The task force announces it has pivoted its plan so Texas legislators will create a Cypress Creek drainage district with a temporary board of directors.
Jan. 10, 2023: The Texas Legislature’s 88th session convenes.
November 2023 or May 2024: A temporary board of directors will call an election to choose a permanent board of directors and uphold the district’s creation. It will be up to the permanent board to create a funding mechanism for the district.
SOURCES: LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE LIBRARY OF TEXAS, TEXAS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, THE CYPRESS CREEK FLOODING TASK FORCECOMMUNITY IMPACT
special district and a board,” Wilker- son said. “The special district created by the bill will have no taxation pow- ers nor powers of eminent domain.” If voters eventually approve the district in an election, the district’s permanent board of directors would discuss and establish a funding mech- anism for the district, he said. The district could pursue projects to mitigate ooding along Cypress Creek, look into state and federal funding for ood projects, and develop partnerships with local util- ity districts. The Cypress Creek Flooding Task Force—which formed in 2019, accord- ing to Wilkerson—initially announced the proposed Cypress Creek drainage district in May. The group set out to create the district to prevent cata- strophic ooding to homes and struc- tures in the watershed. Community group reactions Since proposing the drainage dis- trict, the task force has met with other local organizations that ght ooding in the Cypress Creek area. Multiple members of the Cypress
Creek Flood Control Coalition—a non- prot founded in 1999—joined a steer- ing committee with the task force in late July to discuss the proposed drain- age district, CCFCC President Joe Mey- ers said. Since then, the task force has presented drafts of legislation to the steering committee. “[CCFCC] did pass a resolution in support of eorts [of] like-minded eorts to solve ooding,” Meyers said. “That includes supporting, corrobo- rating, cooperating and coordinating with like-minded eorts in the cre- ation of a drainage improvement dis- trict for Cypress Creek. So we agreed that this was something worth being in the mix with versus outside.” Cypress Creek Association-Stop the Flooding also works on ood mit- igation eorts in the Cypress Creek area. The organization’s founder, Paul Eschenfelder, said he wished the task force would hold public meetings with the community about the district, and he worries the pro- posed district is not the right solu- tion for local ooding problems. When it comes to funding and attention, Meyers said he believes
The Cypress Creek watershed has a history of ooding, which puts homes, businesses and community centers at risk should another severe ood strike. 453,399 people lived in the Harris County portion of the Cypress Creek watershed in 2020. 9,450 homes in the watershed were ooded during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. 29.3 inches of rainfall was received in four days in the watershed during Hurricane Harvey. $17.9B worth of damage to 16,000 structures located in the Cypress Creek Cultural District would result from a 100-year ood event.
SOURCES: THE CYPRESS CREEK FLOODING TASK FORCE, HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT COMMUNITY IMPACT
“THE CREATION OF THE SPECIAL DISTRICT WOULD ENABLE US TO SEEK STATE FUNDING AND FEDERAL FUNDING FOR FLOOD CONTROL EFFORTS. RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE NO VOICE TO HELP US DO THAT." GLENN WILKERSON, CYPRESS CREEK FLOODING TASK FORCE PRESIDENT
the Cypress Creek watershed has been “historically neglected” com- pared to other watersheds through- out Harris County. “Cypress Creek … just hasn’t gotten the funding and the support that other
watersheds have gotten for a lot of dierent reasons,” Meyers said. “Now … Cypress Creek is the largest water- shed. It’s got a 10th of the population in Harris County, and it’s growing, and it still has a lot of area to grow.”
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CYPRESS EDITION • FEBRUARY 2023
Harris County Flood Control District completes 2 phases of bond projects along Cypress Creek
BATCH BY BATCH The Harris County Flood Control District completed the rst two portions—batch 1 and 2—of the Major Maintenance of Cypress Creek and Tributaries program in December to improve channel conveyance capacity by removing built-up sediment and repairing erosion damage in the Cypress Creek watershed.
BY EMILY LINCKE
stones to ght erosion, outfall pipes, maintenance holes and concrete channel linings. A $13.4 million project, Batch 1 included about 8 miles of work across seven channels south of Spring Cypress Road in the Spring area. Construction on this portion began in June 2020. Batch 2—a $3.3 million eort spanning nearly 6 miles of work across nine channels north of Cypress Creek near Hwy. 249—launched in August 2021. During renovations for Batch 1, over 2.12 million cubic yards of material were removed, and about 4 linear miles of pipe were installed. The HCFCD began construction on Batch 3 in summer 2022 with completion anticipated for summer 2024. This $10.8 million segment of the project includes nearly 6 miles of work across 12 channels in the Spring and Cypress areas. Construction on Batch 4 is expected to begin in early 2023 and will cover 4 miles of work across several tributaries.
Scope: 8 miles of work across seven channels Cost: $13.4 million Timeline: June 2020- December 2022 Batch 1
Scope: 6 miles of work across nine channels Cost: $3.3 million Timeline: August 2021- December 2022 Batch 2
In December, construction wrapped up on two groups of 2018 bond projects from the Harris County Flood Control District that focus on improving water ow along Cypress Creek and its tributaries, according to a news release. Batches 1 and 2 of the Major Maintenance of Cypress Creek and Tributaries program were completed ahead of schedule, HCFCD ocials said. Combined, the two phases used almost $17 million in bond funds, and a little over 13 linear miles of work were completed. The Major Maintenance of Cypress Creek and Tributaries program will be completed in four to ve total batches; batches 3 and 4 are in progress. This program is targeted at bettering “channel conveyance capacity” in the Cypress Creek watershed by removing built-up sediment and repairing erosion damage, according to the news release. Other work included replacing “riprap”
SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT COMMUNITY IMPACT
Historic water rate reductions approved
Lone Star College System chancellor to retire Aug. 1
BY PEYTON MACKENZIE
months after the election of three new board members whose cam- paigns centered on bringing an end to water rate increases. “I am grateful that in just over a month of hard work since being sworn in, the directors worked with the sta and consultants to identify and implement an immediate savings to ratepayers while working on longer-term solutions to better utilize abundant water resources available to North Harris County residents,” President Mark Ramsey said in a statement.
The North Harris County Regional Water Authority approved a reduc- tion of water rates during a Jan. 9 regular board meeting for the rst time in the water authority’s history. The NHCRWA voted to reduce its surface water rates by $0.50, changing the rates from $5.05 to $4.55 per 1,000 gallons. The board also voted to reduce the groundwater pumpage fees from $4.60 to $4.10 per 1,000 gallons. The price reduction will go into eect Feb. 1, according to the NHCRWA website. This vote occurred
Stephen Head, the chancellor of the Lone Star College System, will retire Aug. 1. (Courtesy Lone Star College)
BY CASSANDRA JENKINS
Stephen Head, the chancellor of the Lone Star College System, announced he will retire Aug. 1 in a LSCS news release Jan. 10. Head joined LSCS in 1984 and became chancellor in 2014. Head said in the release he hopes to give the LSCS board of trustees plenty of time to search and select his replacement by making his
announcement early. A search com- mittee will be formed in addition to selecting a search consultant. “I am very proud of what we have accomplished and have watched the college evolve into one of the premier community colleges in the country,” Head said.
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News from the 88th legislative session
Sign up for our newsletter at communityimpact.com for daily updates throughout the session. SUBSCRIBE TODAY that would require state health ocials to issue a statewide order prescribing opioid antagonists— medications designed to reverse opioid overdoses—to individuals at risk of opioid overdoses or to those assisting these individuals. HIGHLIGHTS Senate Bill 465 State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, led a bill that would enable prosecutors to charge and convict individuals in possession of a catalytic converter that has been removed from a vehicle. Exceptions would be made for certain businesses such as automotive shops. House Bill 1343 State Rep. Jon Rosenthal, D-Houston, led a bill that would make carrying a rearm while intoxicated in public a Class C misdemeanor unless the rearm was unloaded and encased in a container. Special investigators and peace ocers would not be charged under this law. House Bill 1543 State Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, led a bill
Texas House re-elects Speaker Dade Phelan on rst day of legislative session
BY HANNAH NORTON
are routinely appointed to lead some House commit- tees, but a small group of Republican lawmakers— including Tinderholt, Sla- ton and Schatzline—want to end the practice. Phelan appointed Dem- ocrats to lead 13 of the 34 House committees in 2021 and has vowed to do the same in 2023, according to The Texas Tribune . Every House Democrat voted for Phelan. As speaker, Phelan has the authority to assign House members to com- mittees, appoint com- mittee leaders and more. He also presides over the chamber throughout the session and is required to sign all passed legislation.
Speaking before his colleagues, Phelan out- lined his priorities for the session. He called for a “family-focused House” that prioritizes what matters most to everyday Texans. Phelan emphasized a need for lasting property tax relief, which Gov. Greg Abbott and other state leaders have highlighted as a top concern. He also urged lawmakers to help more Texans gain access to quality and aordable health care. This includes ensuring new mothers have health cov- erage for 12 months after childbirth, Phelan said. In 2021, the Texas House voted to extend
Members of the Texas House of Representatives re-elected state Rep. Dade Phelan, RBeaumont, for a second term as speaker Jan. 10. Phelan beat state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, RArling- ton, to secure the chamber’s top leadership position. Phelan garnered 143 votes, while Tinderholt received three—one from himself, alongside Republican state Reps. Bryan Slaton of Royse City and Nate Schatzline of Tarrant County. In a statement, Schat- zline said he voted for Tin- derholt to “stand against the practice of nominating Democrat chairs.” Mem- bers of the minority party
Medicaid coverage for one year postpartum, but the Senate cut it to six months. The six-month plan was not approved by the federal government, so low-income Texans currently have access to two months of coverage after childbirth. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced Jan. 9 that lawmakers will have an unprecedented $188.2 billion—which includes a $32.7 billion surplus—as they create the state’s budget for 2024-25.
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