Image: Steve Toth (left), the Republican who is running for State Representative, District 15, and his wife, Babette Toth (right).
Conroe and The Woodlands, October 16 – Steve Toth, the Republican Nominee for State Representative, District 15, in the November 6, 2018, General Election, stood up for the citizens (victims) and didn’t mince words last night when he briefly spoke to a crowd at the Montgomery County Tea Party meeting about the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) with a number of the candidates for Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District in the room. Toth said, “During the 83rd Legislature (2013), I attended a meeting at the edifice which is the SJRA’s headquarters which is the way the SJRA sticks its middle finger to the taxpayers. SJRA General Manager Jace Houston included in his presentation an outright lie that south Montgomery County had sunk nearly 15 feet over the past 20 years due to subsidence from groundwater removal. He had studies that proved that didn’t happen but he didn’t mention those…The latest study shows that there hasn’t been any subsidence and that we expect about 6 inches of subsidence maximum over the next 100 years.”
“During the 83rd Legislature (2013), I attended a meeting at the edifice which is the SJRA’s headquarters which is the way the SJRA sticks its middle finger to the taxpayers. SJRA General Manager Jace Houston included in his presentation an outright lie that south Montgomery County had sunk nearly 15 feet over the past 20 years due to subsidence from groundwater removal. He had studies that proved that didn’t happen but he didn’t mention those…The latest study shows that there hasn’t been any subsidence and that we expect about 6 inches of subsidence maximum over the next 200 years.” – – Steve Toth, Republican Nominee for State Representative, District 15, October 15, 2018.
“We have to start believing in the science that is actually out there rather than what they want you to believe,” Toth added. “When [former Conroe Mayor] Webb Melder comes out in defiance of the establishment Republicans, and risks his own career, I take my hat off to that,” the Republican Nominee noted, referring to Melder’s work over the past nine (9) years to fight the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) regulation-induced groundwater shortage in Montgomery County which has forced users to purchase massive-priced surface water instead from SJRA. SJRA holds a Board seat and controls a majority of the Board of LSGCD which sets the groundwater production restrictions that force users to purchase water from SJRA instead.
In referring to the “edifice,” Toth spoke of the massive headquarters edifice SJRA constructed to honor itself. While Montgomery County citizens struggle to make ends meet, including to pay the gigantic water bills, which SJRA has forced on municipalities, utility companies, and homeowners associations, SJRA basks in the luxury of the public funds it revels to spend.
Toth has study up to SJRA previously. The community leader was highly critical of the failure of SJRA to provide any warning to downstream residents prior to the enormous release of water from the Lake Conroe Dam in the middle of the night during Tropical Storm Harvey. Toth also noted the unwillingness of SJRA to lower the water level of Lake Conroe before Harvey hit southeast Texas, because SJRA seems more focused on protecting boating and recreation on Lake Conroe than the safety of Montgomery County residents.
One of the primary statutory duties of SJRA is “to provide flood control.” SJRA has done nothing to provide flood control other than hire a manager for a understaffed Flood Management Division at an exorbitant salary in excess of $170,000 per year. To date, SJRA has done nothing to provide flood control and has failed even to provide minimal dredging of the San Jacinto River over which the agency has jurisdiction. Instead, SJRA and its General Manager Jace Houston have attempted to place the financial responsibility for flood control on the County government, the City of Conroe, and the City of Houston.
Meanwhile, according to its last audited financial statement, SJRA has $32,822,465 of unrestricted cash, mostly garned from exorbitantly-priced water sales to Montgomery county residents. SJRA has shown a complete unwillingness to fulfill its statutory duty “to provide flood control.”
It’s important to note that the median household income in Montgomery County, as of 2016, according to the United States Census Bureau, is $70,805. The median per capita income in Montgomery County is $35,912 per year.
SJRA has 169 employees. The average total compensation for SJRA employees, who are government employees, is $101,183 per year (including salaries and employee benefits). SJRA employees make almost three times what median per capita income of Montgomery County citizens.
Jace Houston, SJRA’s General Manager, who apparently is paid handsomely to make up fake scientific facts to mislead the public, received $224,931.20 in salary along during 2017 and employees benefits estimated at $90,872.21, for total annual compensation of approximately $315,773.41!!!
Clearly, Toth is standing up for Montgomery County citizens, because they need him to do just that.