Conroe, November 13 – Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador drinks a lot of coffee to stay awake and goes to the men’s room quite a lot during Montgomery County Commissioners Court meetings. On three occasions during the past year, proposals to spend money on the ever unpopular Tx-249 Tollway, the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 Extension, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway, have failed on 2 to 2 votes, because Meador either was absent from the meeting altogether or had walked out to have coffee and go the bathroom.
Of course, since County Judge Craig Doyal shouldn’t even vote unless there’s a tie, the votes on the Tollway should have been 2 to 1. But Doyal votes when he sees that a measure in which he seemingly has a financial interest comes before the Commissioners Court.
When it comes to Meador’s bathroom breaks, however, in the upcoming meeting on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., there an appropriate place and time. During one part of the meeting, Meador ethically should leave the meeting, while during the Toll Road portion of the meeting, the citizens of Montgomery County would be much better off if Meador relieved the citizens by relieving himself.
Meador should leave the meeting during the MCAD portion of the discussion
Meador is hungry for power and money. He’s never met a spending program that he doesn’t like. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Meador enjoys serving on the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District, the primary locus in Montgomery County for tax increases.
MCAD is completely out of control and greatly harms the citizens of this community who dare own a home. Through aggressive reappraisal policies, MCAD has become the primary source of tax increases behind which politicians such as Doyal and Meador hide. During the past three years, even while the tax rate of Montgomery County’s government has declined by a tiny penny per $100 valuation, everyone’s taxes have increased dramatically thanks to MCAD’s reappraisal aggression.
The MCAD Board of Directors is presently comprised of Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, Meador, former Precinct 3 County Commissioner Ed Chance, “establishment” hero Bruce Tough, and homebuilder Tom Cox. Under their direction, MCAD’s property tax appraisals have skyrocketed.
The current MCAD Board’s two-year term expires on December 31, 2017. The taxing entities will elect five new Board members. The Commissioners Court will vote its 1,037 votes out of a total of 4,288 non-special-purpose district votes. As a practical matter, the Commissioners Court will elect two of the five Board members while the Conroe Independent School District with more than 1,700 votes will elect the other two.
Meador loves taxing others so much he nominated himself for re-election to the MCAD Board. But, ethically, a Commissioners Court member should not vote for a matter that where he has a direct interest. That’s why Riley and Meador recused themselves earlier this year when the Commissioners Court voted on whether to approve the MCAD’s proposed budget. That’s why Riley should have recused himself when he moved to create a job for his wife. That’s why Riley did recuse himself when the Commissioners Court voted to put Riley’s wife into the job Riley had created for her.
In other words, Meador needs to recuse himself when the Commissioners Court votes on how to allocate its 1,037 votes. When the Commissioners Court gets to that point in the meeting, it would be a perfect opportunity for Meador to take that bathroom and coffee break he so thoroughly enjoys.
The Tx-249 Tollway
In actuality, the entire Commissioners Court has a conflict of interest in voting on any matter pertaining to the Tx-249 Tollway. That’s because the Court has created a supposedly-separate entity, the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority, which borrows money from the taxpayers every time they vote to spend money on the Tx-249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
All five Commissioners Court members have a conflict of interest on every Tollway vote, because they are the lenders (i.e. the County government) and the borrowers (the Tollroad Authority) in each of those financial transactions.
Whenever Meador is absent, the Tollroad spending dies on 2 to 2 votes.
At the Tuesday, November 14, meeting there will be two votes on Tollway spending.
First, hidden in the secretive “consent agenda,” the Montgomery County Commissioners Court will vote to approve $50,884.52 of additional spending on the Tx-249 Tollway project:
- $26,179.53 to CDM Smith, Inc., the engineering firm facing U.S. Justice Department charges for bribery which the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have banned from doing business with them as a result of inflated invoices utilized to pay those bribes.
- $20,715.53 to Halff Associates, Inc., the embattled engineering firm which has led Doyal’s criminal legal defense fundraising and hired Rusty Hardin to defend Doyal, and also the firm of Doyal’s best friend and business partner Bobby Jack Adams. Doyal’s close business and personal relationships with Adams mandate recusal under the Texas Local Government Code. Doyal doesn’t pay much heed to silly things such as the law.
- $3,989.47 to Linebarger Goggan law firm, a major political contributor to Doyal, Riley, and Meador.
Later in the meeting, the Commissioners Court will discuss a third change order in the Jones & Carter engineering firm engineering contract for the Tollway. Of course, Jones & Carter is also a major political campaign contributor to Doyal, Riley, and Meador. Therefore, if the three of them are in the room to vote, the measure will pass.
The proposal is for $54,390.00 in a change order for the Jones & Carter Tollway contract. Usually, those proposed change orders are appended to the agenda for the public to review prior to the meeting. This time, however, Doyal’s anti-citizen warrior, Sylvia Olszowy, decided to keep the proposed contract information outside of the public’s view.
The Tx-249 Tollway project is 3.6 miles at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County. The Tollway goes into vacant pastureland where Doyal-Riley political and criminal defense fund contributors Rick Sheldon and Varde Partners own land they want to develop.
The 3.6 mile Tollway presently has a cost estimate of $73 million, which will make it one of the most expensive roads per mile in an American history at a cost of more than $20 million per mile for a rural road! The United States Public Interest Research Group has called the proposed tollroad one of the ten worst “highway boondoggles” in the United States.
Citizen opposition to the Tollway, even in the Magnolia area, is overwhelming. The Tollway would do nothing other than cause traffic congestion. The County government has failed to budget funds for construction of frontage roads. The right-of-way agreements with the developers does not require them to build frontage roads for their own projects. Therefore, it’s likely that taxpayers will get stuck with tens of millions of dollars in direct frontage road costs.
Despite his assurance that he’d support a citizen referendum if the Tollway would cost Montgomery County taxpayers any funds, Riley has now reneged on that promise, as his true constituents are the engineers and real estate developers voraciously seeking construction of the Decimation of Hope Highway.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation has the funding to build the road without Montgomery County taxpayers having to foot the bill. Still, Doyal and Riley want control over the project so that they can funnel Montgomery County taxpayers to the vendors, such as Jones & Carter, who give them substantial political and criminal legal defense fund contributions.