It’s probably not too early to look at the lessons learned through the catastrophic Harvey experience for our town. For those whose houses were flooded, I personally express my deepest sympathies. Few things could be worse than losing your home, even temporarily. It is on your behalf that I write this letter.
First, I should note that Missouri City’ Emergency Services teams provided outstanding and commendable service. Our police and fire departments were wonderful. Most of us take for granted our low crime rates and fast response times, not appreciating the training and dedication behind those statistics. These men and women train so that they are ready for any circumstance.
Now a huge question is: Can the City look ahead and clearly see the need to invest in itself? Harvey showed in stark detail our drainage and infrastructure deficiencies and lacks. Some may say this was a 500-year storm but how many Tropical Storm Allisons and huge (yearly) rainstorms do we need to experience? The storms that we’ve gone through recently prove that we live in an extreme weather environment and that the Gulf of Mexico is warming to the point that virtually any storm is a huge threat. Many subdivisions were either inundated or access limited due to flooding. We weren’t ready and more importantly our infrastructure wasn’t ready for Hurricane Harvey.
So, do we react by saying it was a very close call and go on with life or do we insist that LIDs, the city and county focus on spending our tax dollars to protect our families? Infrastructure and drainage expenditures aren’t glamorous and win few votes but they do keep our homes and properties safe. Could some flooding have been averted through the purchase and construction of better drainage, more pumps, better located pumping stations, and backup systems?
Obviously, the answer is yes. Just like our emergency services personnel, we need government agencies which will focus and train for providing flood prevention services no matter what the circumstance. We all know the importance of this now.
Missouri City, in particular, has a history of giving little regard for its infrastructure requirements and obligations. As demonstrated by this past week’s flooding, the city plainly needs more drainage ponds, more street drainage outlets, and more flood planning and green space requirements for the developers building homes within our city limits. For the past 20 years, Missouri City government has distinguished itself by paying huge amounts for recreational amenities and spending tens of millions of dollars to support a Harris County transportation bureaucracy with little return for the amounts invested. My personal opinion is that we need a better-informed and more serious attitude toward finances by both the LIDs and the city.
—Howard E. Moline