Tx 249 Tollway/Woodlands Parkway Extension dominates first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting of 2018

Is this a photograph of Charlie Riley trying to sneak away after his constituents have caught him supporting the voter-rejected Woodlands Parkway Extension?

Conroe, The Woodlands, and Magnolia, January 22 – The $73 million Tx 249 Tollway/Woodlands Parkway Extension project dominated the first Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting of calendar year 2018 on January 9. At the time, the public wasn’t aware that Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner have included initial construction on the Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX) as part of the Tx 249 Tollway construction package. Doyal dropped that bomb on the public during a Friday, January 19, 2018, candidate forum.

The Golden Hammer‘s ratings measure Commissioners Court votes that affect spending in comparison to the provisions of the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Points are good. The number of points depends upon the amount of money involved in each vote.

Commissioners Court meeting, January 9, 2018, 9:30 a.m. All Court members were physically present.

Toll Road/Woodlands Parkway Extension Agenda.

Seven citizens spoke against the $73 million Tx 249 Tollway/Woodlands Parkway Extension project: Kelli Cook, Bill O’Sullivan, Paul Gebolys, Diana Gebolys, Reagan Reed, Ginger Russell, and one other.

The issue that Doyal and Riley placed before the Commissioners Court was whether to begin advertising for bidders for the construction of the Tx 249 Tollway and the first phase of the Woodlands Parkway Extension. The Commissioners Court still has not received back the results of the “traffic and revenue” study from $400,000 vendor CDM Smith. Furthermore, the Commissioners Court still has not received construction drawings with which they could even go out for bids.

Doyal and Riley are in an enormous rush to move the project forward, as they realize they may lose their jobs after the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. Therefore, Doyal and Riley are striving to lock the entire $73 million Tx 249 Tollway/Woodlands Parkway Extension – First Phase project into place as quickly as possible.

Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack argued against proceeding. Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador didn’t care whether the Commissioners Court had all of the information or not. They want to make certain that Doyal and Riley are able to funnel $73 million of public dollars into the hands of their favorite political campaign contributors and to the primary contributors to their criminal defense legal fund.

The first phase of the Woodlands Parkway Extension, under the guise of the Tx 249 Tollway, is a part of the project, which includes the bridge and grade separation for “Wood Trace Boulevard” which is the same as the Woodlands Parkway Extension.

Major thoroughfare plan which shows that the Woodtrace Boulevard extending from the Tx 249 Tollway is just another name for the Woodlands Parkway Extension.

This vote is a gigantic vote. 100 points. A “NO” vote is appropriate. It passed 3 to 2.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK No

CLARK No.

Agenda Item 8A1: Consider and approve payment of accounts.

This $8.994 million dollar 94-page page list of accounts received approval without any review or authorization from the Commissioners Court. They’re just too lazy and disinterested to pay attention to this important matter on which they’re voting. What they approved included, inter alia:

  • $22,126.54 of payments to Graves Humphries law firm for their terrible work trying to collect fees and fines for four of the give JP courts;
  • more than $350,000 of credit card charges without any backup or authorization on the County’s credit card;
  • over $685,000 in payments at retail prices for building materials rather than appropriate governmental rates;
  • $1,209 spent on the completely unnecessary law library;
  • $17,666.45 paid to engineer John Holzwarth who duplicates the responsibilities of County Engineer employees out of funds the voters approved for road projects;
  • $151,812.10 paid out of the County’s general revenue fund for the Tx 249 Tollway/Woodlands Parkway Extension project, which includes over $20,000 paid to Halff Associates, the firm of Craig Doyal’s best friend and business partner Bobby Jack Adams and $13,465 in legal fees paid to Doyal’s Tollway/Woodlands Parkway Extension spokesman Rich Muller, the Sugar Land attorney.

This vote was major. Under the circumstances of complete lack of review, a “no” vote was appropriate. 25 points

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Items 8A1 and 8A2. Budget amendments.

Since the Commissioners Court so hastily passed the largest governmental expenditure budget in the history of Montgomery County on September 5, by a 4 to 1 vote (Clark voted “no”), they’ve had to go back and clean up the budget. It’s a mess. There were $1,686,849.60 of budget amendment to clean up the mess of last year’s budget and $3,6899,967 on one totally unexplained page of budget amendments for the current Fiscal Year, and $19,713,982.00 of budget amendments to the current budget. The members of the Commissioners Court didn’t have any idea what the amendments were, just like they didn’t know what the budget contained either.

50 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8A4 was merely approval of the debt defeasance previously approved on September 5, 2017, when the Commissioners Court voted for the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget. Doyal put the matter back on the agenda so that he could try to take credit for Noack’s work on reducing the debt service.

Agenda Item 8C: Purchasing.

Approximately $739,000 of contracts were approved without review.

10 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 8F: Approve payroll change requests.

These payroll changes requests are super-secretive. None of the Commissioners Court members knew what they approved.

5 points. “No” vote appropriate under the circumstances.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9: There were no citizen comments. Doyal has made the process of signing up for citizen comments so complicated as well as so a priori that citizens and Commissioners Court members can’t follow what is Doyal’s new policy each moment. Doyal receives a subtraction of 100 points for his attempt to destroy free speech.

Agenda Item 12A: The Commissioners Court seriously spent over 5 minutes debating whether to spend $490.35 to purchase a replacement Christmas tree and decorations. A “No” vote is appropriate. 1 point.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Commissioners Court ratings for January 9, 2018, meeting:

DOYAL 0/195. Grade F.

MEADOR 0/195. Grade F.

RILEY 0/195. Grade F.

NOACK 100/195. Grade F.

CLARK 100/195. Grade F.

The following are the cumulative scores for Fiscal Year 2018, which began October 1, 2017.

DOYAL -770/1,508. Grade F.

MEADOR 80/1,508. Grade F.

RILEY 80/1,508. Grade F.

NOACK 940/1,508. Grade D.

CLARK 955/1,508. Grade D.

The citizens must remain vigilant.

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