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Houston Maritime Museum
Harris County
Houston-Galveston Area Council
by Jim Guidry
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors today voted unanimously to approve the H-GAC 2015 Budget and Service Plan.  Listen (5:15)

Executive Director Jack Steele said the $307,196,135 total unified budget is $54.6 million over the 2014 budget.

“That increase is attributable totally to an increase in pass-through funds largely in our Disaster Recovery Program in our final push to try to get that work completed, if not by the end of the year, almost by the end of the year,” Steele said.

The board approved the Elections Committee recommendations for 2015 H-GAC officers and authorized the mailing of ballots. H-GAC Vice Chair Manvel Mayor Delores Martin, who chaired the Election Committee announced the nominees: 2015 Chair – Judge Nate McDonald, Matagorda County; Vice Chair, Gary Nelson, Chambers County; Chair Elect, Council Member Chuck Engelken Jr., City of La Porte.

The board recognized outgoing members, Austin County Judge Carolyn Bilski, Waller County Commissioner Frank Pokluda, and City of Lake Jackson Mayor Joe Rinehart. 

All other agenda items were approved.  Agenda (The agenda has links to staff reports and additional audio excerpts.)  All votes were unanimous. Attendance

During his Executive Director’s Report, Steele reported that progress has been made toward consensus on a storm surge suppression effort. Report (6:08)

“We sponsored, with others, a coastal resiliency dialogue to sort of gently nudge all of those that are involved in the discussion about what the right path to some sort of coastal resiliency program ought to be together,” Steele said.  “There were numerous elected officials attending from all parts of the watershed, and we think that’s doing some good because we have seen some form of coming together of the group and more commonality in their discussion.”

Steele also announced that Trustee Kristin Tassin of Fort Bend ISD was selected to represent school districts on the H-GAC Board next year. Her alternate will be Trustee Lance Botkin of Pearland, ISD.  Steele also mentioned that H-GAC had received two awards for watershed modeling at the Houston Area GIS Day. He also announced that a tentative date for the annual H-GAC General Assembly meeting had been chosen. The meeting will be held on February 27, 2015.

Photo courtesy H-GAC: Left to right: Chair Darrell Morrison, Council Member City of Pasadena; retiring board member Trustee Tiffany Thomas, Alief ISD; retiring board member Mayor Joe Rinehart, City of Lake Jackson; retiring board member County Judge Carolyn Bilski, Austin County; Vice Chair Chuck Engelken, Jr., Council Member City of La Porte; and Chair–Elect Nate McDonald, County Judge, Matagorda County. Not pictured are retiring board members: Commissioner Frank Pokluda, Waller County and Council Member Brandon Capetillo, City of Baytown.

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