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Rockport hearing to discuss $4 billion in hurricane recovery

Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office George P. Bush has made many visits to Rockport and other areas of the Coastal Bend in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. This visit Wass in January 2019. Courtesy photo

Rockport hosted one of four public hearings in Texas the first week of December to decide how to spend $4 billion in hurricane recovery money. The hearing, which was held by the Texas General Land Office, was 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, December 2, at the Aransas County Navigation District Saltwater Pavilion.

Hearings also will be held in Dallas, Weslaco, and Houston to seek input from the public on the state’s action plan detailing the distribution and eligible uses of $4.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money is to be used to assist Texas communities with mitigation projects that address risks within the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Additional money was allocated to the floods in 2015 ($52.9 million) and 2016 ($169.7 million).

"Hurricane Harvey was a storm of historic proportions with more than $100 billion in property damage and immeasurable disruption to the lives of Texans," GLO Commissioner George P. Bush said. "With this action plan, the GLO will prioritize large-scale projects to maximize available infrastructure funding to improve the resiliency of Texas homes, businesses, and infrastructure from future storms."

A copy of the plan is available online. A comment period is open until 5 p.m. January 6, 2020. Once the comment period has closed, the GLO must respond to each comment in the Action Plan, which will be submitted to HUD no later than February 3, 2020, for approval.

The hearings are being held at the following times and locations:


Rockport:

Monday, December 2, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Aransas County Navigation District

210 Seabreeze Drive

Rockport, TX 78382


Dallas:

Monday, December 9, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DCCCD: Bill J. Priest Institute

1402 Corinth Street Road

Dallas, TX 75215


Weslaco:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mid-Valley Campus at South Texas College

400 N. Border Ave.

Weslaco, TX 78596


Houston:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Texas Southern University

3100 Cleburne St.

Houston, TX 77004


In total, 144 counties are eligible for grant money, including Aransas, Nueces, San Patricio, Refugio, and Victoria. Harvey mitigation money breaks down into the following categories:

  • Hurricane Harvey State Mitigation Competition ($2.1 billion) — Provides funds for mitigation projects to address risk in the Hurricane Harvey-impacted areas with a minimum award amount of $5 million and the maximum of $100 million. Eligible applicants include units of general local government (cities and counties), Indian tribes, COGs, state agencies, service districts (e.g., drainage districts), port authorities, and river authorities.
  • Regional Mitigation Program ($500 million) — Council of governments (COG) impacted by Hurricane Harvey will develop a method of distribution (MOD) to allocate funds to local units of government and Indian tribes.
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP): Supplemental ($170 million) — Will fund CDBG-MIT eligible HMGP projects submitted to TDEM after Hurricane Harvey but, due to program oversubscription, remain unfunded.
  • Coastal Resiliency Program ($100 million) — Funds Tier 1 projects identified in the Texas Coastal Resiliency Master Plan that mitigate coastal risks through green and gray infrastructure and nonstructural measures.
  • Housing Oversubscription Supplemental ($400 million) — Addresses oversubscription in the Hurricane Harvey Homeowner Assistance Program of eligible applicants that have been waitlisted. Hurricane Harvey-damaged homes will be reconstructed with mitigation measures, such as elevation.
  • Resilient Home Program ($100 million) — Reconstructs Hurricane Harvey-damaged single-family homes with homes that meet additional resiliency and mitigation standards. Waitlisted homeowners in the oversubscribe Hurricane Harvey Homeowner Assistance Program will be eligible.
  • Hazard Mitigation Plans ($30 million) — A GLO partnership with TDEM will contribute to the development of an enhanced State Hazard Mitigation Plan and fund the development of Local Hazard Mitigation Action Plans (LHMAP) for entities located in the CDBG-MIT eligible counties.
  • Resilient Communities Program ($100 million) — Funds for the development, adoption, and implementation of resilient building codes, flood damage prevention ordinances, zoning ordinances, land use and comprehensive plans, and public service activities for cities, counties and Indian tribes located in the CDBG-MIT eligible counties.
  • Regional and State Planning ($214 million) — Provides funding for regional and state planning studies and tools that work to reduce risk and impacts of future disasters.

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