New Caney, May 15 – Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark faces a serious electoral challenge in the May 22, 2018, Republican Runoff Election. Clark’s opponent has cost the County government millions in lost funds, cost and embarrassed taxpayers after the County government had to pay $45,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against Clark’s opponent (Metts), and has shown anything but a solid work ethic in his failing JP court. Meanwhile, Clark has steadily become a better County Commissioner over his first three years in office, works long hours, and has had a major success in the use of his $70 million of bond referendum funds to leverage almost $800 million of road projects in Precinct 4 which the Texas Department of Transportation will fund with local matches.
The Golden Hammer sat down with Clark to ask him what the first one hundred days of his second term will look like. Those one hundred days would be from January 1, 2019, to April 10, 2019.
Precinct 4 road projects
“The construction of the F.M. 1314 overpass will be winding to completion and well over halfway complete by the first one hundred days of 2019,” Clark said. “I expect the widening of State Highway 242’s western leg will be moving forward rapidly at that point in time.”
“A lot of people in East Montgomery County are excited about the water park, Big Rivers, which is on 23065 SH 242, just west of Highway 59, and will open on June 30, 2018,” Clark explained.
“It’s pretty apparent that my colleagues on the current Commissioners Court will not support removing the SH 242 flyover tolls. I plan to bring back my resolution to remove the SH 242 flyover tolls with a plan in place to build the third flyover right after the first of the year in 2019. I believe the Texas Department of Transportation will build the third flyover or, at a minimum, fund the project through pass-through tolls, but not another tolled flyover, which is what that money was intended to do for us.” Clark explained that “pass-through tolls” are not actual tolling of the road but a term to designate how much TxDOT pays the County government for road development.
Clark discussed several other road projects as well.
“The widening of Sorters Road from two lanes to four with a turning lane will be underway and should be complete my mid-2019 at the very latest,” the Commissioner said. “Construction on that project is scheduled to begin in the next 90 days. Ford Road, west of Loop 494, is in the substantial design and right-of-way acquisition phase with the construction likely to begin during the first 100 days of 2019.”
As for the western side of Precinct 4, Clark said that the “traffic signal at Donwick off of SH 242 will be completed in the next month or so to relieve congestion and allow for safer mobility. We’re also going to install stop signs to control the flow of traffic and improve safety and visibility of residents of Harper’s Landing at Trade Center Boulevard. Those projects will be done in the next couple of weeks but by the end of the first one hundred days in 2019, we’ll have studied how those improvements work and see what other remedies we need in those locations.”
Flood mitigation and drainage issues
Clark explained that by early 2019, the funding should be secured for the River Oaks and Allendale-Greenbough flood mitigation projects. “I believe those construction projects will be done by the 100 days of my second term.”
“By that time period, I expect the San Jacinto River Authority to have a full plan in place and begin implementing a dredge and desnag program for the San Jacinto River and all of its tributaries. County taxpayers should pay nothing for those mitigation programs,” Clark said.
“I’ve already begun the fight to work closely with our state officials to bridge the gap between the County drainage system and tributaries and outfalls which have been left unattended for decades and have become blocked and silted in. That’ the core issue of most of the flooding problems of East Montgomery County. If water doesn’t have a sufficient outfall structure to handle the water, we’ll continue to experience flooding. I’m looking to state elected officials to help me make sure these solutions are in place and complete. It’s gone far too long for these important issues to be unchecked,” the Commissioner added.
Other County government issues
Clark said, “I’m look at the possibility of hiring an in-house engineer to address drainage concerns with our road projects. I want to have an actual Professional Engineer on staff to help with drainage issues and assist with road projects.”
Clark also said that by the first one hundred days of 2019, he believes the following with occur:
- Incoming County Judge Mark Keough, the Republican Nominee, has said he’s for reducing salaries of the Commissioners Court. Clark said, “I hope that will occur and I’ll support his efforts. I’ve lead the charge to be fiscally conservative on the Commissioners Court and we should start in 2019 by setting an example with salary reductions.”
- Clark wants the full Commissioners Court to take back management of the County government away from the County Judge, as Doyal insisted on controlling the management and operations of the County government, in violation of the Texas Constitution, himself.
- “I want the new Commissioners Court to get behind a fully updated mobility plan for all of Montgomery County to include all four precincts, but precinct 4 has to come first, because we’re the fastest growing,” Clark said.
- “By early 2019, East Montgomery County will have a full-time working Justice of the Peace, which we’ve needed for several years,” said the Precinct 4 County Commissioner.
- “I’m working receiving a federal grant to begin construction of a full-service recycling center. I hope that will be complete by the end of March, 2019,” Clark said.
- “I’m hoping to continue to support organizations and projects that support the education of our youth. In my first term, we’ve done several projects that include park improvements, sports field improvements, and more than a dozen other projects that keep our children engaged in sports activities and lead to a healthier lifestyle,” Clark said.
Clark concluded his remarks to The Golden Hammer, “I meet with the people of East Montgomery County all the time, but I want to listen more to what people want, because I believe it’s my job to do the will of the people.”