Funding access road on Grand Parkway challenged
By Elsa Maxey
An access road of about 5,000 feet along the eastern side of the Grand Parkway, north of West Bellfort will be constructed with some help from Fort Bend County. This month the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court voted to approve the action, but it was not unanimous. Both Commissioners Richard Morrison and Andy Meyers opposed the measure calling for a joint participation agreement between Fort Bend County Assistance District No. 2 and Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 194.
As part of its authority, Fort Bend County Assistance District No. 2 was created to fund the construction of certain roads within its boundaries and to levy a one percent sales tax for a project to serve the public purposes to include what is termed needed right-of-way to be dedicated to the county.
Under the agreement reviewed by the county attorney before it made its way to commissioners court, it states that the assistance district will reimburse payments made by the county and the utility district for the construction of the access road along the eastern side of the Grand Parkway.
Fort Bend County intends to use available funds to pre-finance costs, but only up to $2 million of the estimated $3.39 million project cost to complete the project, according to the agreement. Fort Bend County MUD 194 in that area will pre-finance the remaining shortfall and the costs for engineering design, estimated at approximately $1.39 million, until the assistance district funding is available for reimbursement.
“This is a change in the policy and practices in the past with regard to access roads to developers,” said Commissioner Meyers. “It is also different than what other counties do,” he also said. Meyers further explained his view about how on this particular deal, the developer’s projections on sales tax revenue it will receive from their strategic partnership agreement with the City of Houston totals about $3 million by 2015, with property taxes amounting to the same figure. “I’m not sure why the county feels it’s necessary to fund this particular access road for the developer. So, I am going to be voting against it.”
Before the vote to approve the project was called, Commissioner James Patterson told Meyers, “I respectfully disagree with everything you’ve said.”
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