Image: Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack tried to stop the Montgomery County Commissioners Court from committing to construction of a Forensics Center, which will cost at least $18.1 million to the taxpayers, but the Riley-Meador-Metts tax dollar spending freight train stop rolled over him.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, September 23 – With no plans, no public information, no details, no drawings of what it would look like, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court shoved construction of a Forensics Center, of questionable necessity, down the throats of Montgomery County taxpayers by a 3 to 1 vote, with debilitated Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough absent from the meeting while convalescing at Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands Hospital from the major vehicle accident with a law enforcement vehicle he caused two weeks ago. The Forensics Center will cost at least $18.1 million, a boon to County government vendors and one of the most expensive facilities construction projects in the history of the County government.
Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley had placed the item on the super secret “consent agenda” with no explanation whatsoever. The entire agenda item read: “Approve advertising for…Construction of Forensics Facility for Forensics.”
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack objected to inclusion of the item on the “consent agenda” so the Commissioners Court, under the leadership of Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador, the senior Commissioner, had to discuss the matter in the open, the last place where Riley, Meador, and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts, the three liberals on the Commissioners Court, would want any discussion.
Noack explained, “I’m not sure what we’re advertising for, so I was hoping to get more information. I wanted to defer until the judge is back, because this is a countywide issue.”
Riley immediately jumped into the discussion with the interjection, “I think we have plenty of information.”
County Purchasing Director Gilbert Jalomo said, “The Court would have the option to put it in phases. That’s what we’re talking about. We would have a shelled facility in the first phase.”
Riley and Jalomo both claimed that it was advisable to proceed with the project in order to get good pricing, but neither of them could provide any details whatsoever about what the Forensics Center would entail.
Noack then said, “What are the options? I have no information about it. I’ve talked to the architect once, and the information I’ve been given is there are a lot options. The last I heard was $8 million for construction, but now I’m hearing $18 to 19 million. The people in the public have no information…This will be one of the most impressive forensics centers ever built.”
“What are the options? I have no information about it. I’ve talked to the architect once, and the information I’ve been given is there are a lot options. The last I heard was $8 million for construction, but now I’m hearing $18 to 19 million. The people in the public have no information…This will be one of the most impressive forensics centers ever built.” – – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, speaking of Commissioner Charlie Riley’s proposal to spend at least $18 million on a Forensics Center with no plans or specifications for the project, September 22, 2020.
Riley then meaningfully provided the following analysis, “That’s not true.”
Noack then said, “We don’t need to build now for something we need 20 years from now. Especially with changes there may be in medical advancements. We may not need to look that far ahead.”
Noack specifically referred to the fact that the County government would not need a Forensics Center by law until the County population reaches 2 million, a number the County is unlikely to reach for two decades.
Riley retorted, “We need to look that far ahead.” Clearly Riley’s priority is lining the pockets of County vendors.
Noack asked, “Do you have some pictures of what this will look like inside?”
Riley then sarcastically responded, “How many times have you seen pictures of buildings we were going to build.”
Noack replied, “I just want to know what it is we’re going to build and what the cost will be. $18 million is a lot of money.”
Riley admitted, “We don’t know what it will be.”
Jalomo then said, “Architect’s estimate is $18.1 [million]. This is the estimate from the architect.” Neither Jalomo nor Riley explained how an architect could provide such a precise estimate without plans or specifications.
Noack added, “I know it would be good to wait for the county judge to be here. I know he’d appreciate it on a countywide issue.”
Meador, always wanting to spend money on anything which would transfer tax dollars to his main supports, the County vendors, responded, “I know he’d appreciate us taking care of business. They’ve done what they were supposed to do.”
Riley made the motion and his lackey Metts second the motion.
The vote was three (Riley, Meador, Metts) in favor and one opposed (Noack).
Montgomery County will spend far more than $18.1 million on a Forensics Center, which is completely unnecessary at this time.