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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


The buzz on commissioner’s court

There seemed to be quite a little buzz during commissioners court last week and we aren’t talking about the latest tell all gossip. This buzz was real—a noise—that was apparently irritating court members somewhat. County Judge Bob Hebert said the unknown origin of the noise prompted Precinct 1 Commissioner Grady Prestage to announce that the buzz was from a lie detector and would go off when anyone fibbed. When the buzz quieted, Hebert seemed relieved, but noted that if it was a lie detector, as Prestage indicated, it was sure to emit another wail sometime during the meeting.

A whole lot of hoopla

Last week commissioners entered into a sometimes heated debate over what appeared to be a $6 million overrun on the costs of three Katy area road improvement projects. There was a couple of Precinct 4 Commissioners typical little “lower the octave of your voice comments, such as “don’t put yourself in a bind and don’t say what the committee did” that suggested that the county’s engineer and another commissioner may have set off the lie detector (see above) when they claimed the mobility committee did not include right of way funding in the original cost of the projects.

Well, as usual, County Judge Bob Hebert listened to the public officials and watched as the debate became somewhat heated. Hebert then stepped in to say the engineer and other commissioner remembered the whole scenario accurately. Hebert always does that. He waits until one of the court’s hot air balloons is almost full, pulls out a pin and then BOOM!

Sometimes it almost appears that he almost enjoys listening to the banter. Quite frequently one of the court members will take aim at another member, lift his foot and aim squarely at the fellow commissioner’s backside. Then, in rides the county judge who manages to make that final comment. Oops—this almost always results in the foot aimed directly at the butt on one court member slamming into the mouth of the one making the comments. It is a fun thing to witness.

In actuality, Hebert explained this really wasn’t an unanticipated expense nor was it an overrun. Hebert said the mobility committee had no way of anticipating the costs of right of way and drainage on each project so it is now up to the commissioners to work their “magic” and find the funding to do the job. And, it was made clear that there are funds set aside to acquire right of way on road projects. Even though the amount seems to be about half of what is needed for these three projects alone, Hebert didn’t seem to be the slightest bit unnerved, so you can bet that the funds are there somewhere in the budget or soon will be. Very interesting how this works.

You can’t please all the people all the time

You can’t please all the people all the time is a saying that really applies to the tax notices sent out to Fort Bend County citizens by the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District in the last couple of weeks. A lot of property owners saw their property values soar over last year and they were seriously dismayed. On the other hand, since writing the story about how property valuations were up, I got several calls from residents in the Sugar Land area who were dismayed because their property valuations actually dropped from last year. Go figure! People upset about higher valuations are looking at the increase in taxes—understandably. On the other hand, for folks who see their homes as investment material and not just property—going down, is not all that great. I guess it just depends on how you see the glass—half full or half empty.


Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  July 30, 2008