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County Commissioners

Meeting notes - Aug. 25, 2009

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PUBLIC MEETING NOTES

Harris County Commissioners Court
August 25, 2009, 10 am

Meeting agenda

Houston Tomorrow publishes notes from public meetings to help local governments in their mission to provide transparency and to allow a greater pool of citizens to participate in important policy discussions. These notes are not official meeting minutes, nor do they necessarily record every agenda item.

Note: The Commissioners Court covers a wide variety of topics. Questions or comments regarding agenda items are discussed during the meeting, and some items may be removed. At the end the commissioners vote on the agenda as a whole.

The Commissioners Court authorized the Public Infrastructure Department (PID) to review the potential impacts of proposed commuter rail lines on county projects. Commissioner Steve Radack (Precinct 3) asked if this would put Art Storey, executive director of PID, in the middle of the process. Storey said that he would not be in the middle of it, but that the county would need to know about the projects. County Judge Ed Emmett said that since commuter rail is fundamentally an infrastructure project, Storey should lead the county’s efforts and interact with the Gulf Coast Freight Rail District and METRO.

In addition, the Court authorized the county to purchase four tracts of land for the Grand Parkway Segment E project, at a total price of $408,000. The Court also authorized the Harris County Toll Road Authority to begin the acquisition process for 16 other tracts for Segment E.

In other business, the Commissioners Court recognized an employee for receiving a national award and recognized September as National Preparedness Month, and Commissioner Steve Radack (Precinct 3) held an item authorizing the Harris County Hospital District to conduct an expanded appraisal of the Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Complex. Radack was concerned that the project was too expensive, and he wanted to make sure the board had taken a public vote authorizing the appraisal.

County Judge Ed Emmett questioned whether the Court actually had to approve a local teleconference for ten people at a total price of $26. He was told that the expense provided an example of how cheaply teleconferences could be done, and that it might encourage more people to do teleconferencing.

The County Clerk’s Office keeps track of exceptions to the meetings, including revisions, holds, withdrawn items, and rejected items.

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