News & Press: Member Update

Genral Land Office - CDBG, HARVEY REPORT

Wednesday, September 12, 2018  
Posted by: Michael Hancock
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Member Update

August 31, 2018

 

GENERAL LAND OFFICE - CDBG, HARVEY REPORT

 

The General Land Office is the state agency charged administering the Community Development Block Grant -Disaster Recovery funds that have flowed to the state after Hurricane Harvey and other storms. Much of this is housing-related but a portion of it is for infrastructure. Member firms interact with the agency working for client political subdivisions that solicit grants under the program.

 

First, we have had several conversations with the agency about various issues and have discussed possibly getting a group of engineering firms that have experience working with the program together with agency staff to discuss issues, as we often do with other agencies. If your firm has involvement in this program and might be interested in further discusssion, contact Michael Hancock at ACEC Texas or just reply to this email.

 

Also, the GLO recently released a report titled Hurricane Harvey: Texas at Risk. The report makes a number of policy recommendations for the next Legislature, some of which are likely to be controversial.

 

For example, the report recommends that the Texas Water Development Board's statutory authority should be substantially expanded to cover flood control and have directive control over river authorities in carrying out these duties. The Board should also have directive control over drainage districts.

 

Part of this analysis is that "there is no agency that is tasked with and empowered to coordinate and direct flood control efforts. This must change, as it is impossible for a city or county to prevent or mitigate flooding when they have not authority in upstream areas of the watershed or the ability to pull together and force cooperation of multiple stakeholders." The report suggests that although river authorities have geographic coverage and statutory authority, they do not exercise it. The report recommends that a state commission should have authority to prioritize and oversee flood control efforts, manage federal funding for flood mitigation infrastructure, facilitate the completion of stalled reservoir project and other powers. River authorities would be required to execute these duties.

 

The report also proposes the creation of a Regional Building Code District for the ten councils of government/ planning commissions most vulnerable to hurricanes (coastal and inland). This entity would adopt a standardized building code for the region, with enforcement remaining with cities and counties.

 

Another recommendation that touches on the engineering/construction industry is the proposal that GLO "should bid out indefinite quantity contracts for information management, construction, and other engineering construction services under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) procedures before the annual hurricane season each year . . ." The discussion on this item is not very clear, however, on what this is intended to include.

 

You can view the report and the other recommendations on www.acectx.org under Agency Relations.

 

Interestingly, Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, made news this week with a proposal to abolish the General Land Office and distribute its functions to other agencies.

 

 

WATER ISSUES

 

Speaking of Rep. Larson, his House Natural Resources Committee publishes a monthly e-newsletter called The Aqueduct: Texas Water Issues. You can view it here and subscribe to an email distribution. This edition has an op-ed piece he did in the San Antonio Express News calling for legislative action on flooding issues as well as other articles on the drought, balancing property rights and water regionalization, and other matters.

 

 

Calendar of Events

  • October 18 - ACEC Texas Board Meeting (Austin)
  • October 24-25 - ACEC Texas/Morrissey-Goodale Texas AE Industry Conference (San Antonio)
  • October 28-31 - ACEC National Fall Meeting (Las Vegas


In The News

Go to www.acectx.org for current articles on construction, engineering, public works, transportation, politics and more including:

  • Pipeline constraints could curtail $1.4 billion in Permian completions
  • Wimberley will turn to private company for wastewater treatment
  • Loop 9 to create greater connectivity, economic development in Ellis County
  • Alvin ISD calls bond election
  • Politics shouldn't slam the brakes on Grand Parkway
  • Reasons conservatives should love wind energy
  • TxDOT now foresees no tolls in IH-35 expansion in central Texas
  • Report: DFW continues to show strength in industrial market
  • and more . . .

ACEC Texas Chapters

 


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512-474-1474 - fax 512-474-1490

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2019 ACEC Texas Leadership Academy Session I: Leadership Skills