Willis, January 27 – In late October, 2016, after several years of complaining and petitioning to Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador, the residents of Deer Haven Village, a subdivision in Willis, received some surprises. A road and bridge crew from Meador’s Precinct 1 arrived in the neighborhood to provide them with some road paving for which they’d been pleading.
The roads of Deer Haven Village have a circular “H” shape with Deer Haven Run forming the middle horizontal bar of the “H.” Meador’s employees cleared trees and shrubs growing in Deer Haven Village’s roadways first and then performed some grading on the surfaces throughout the neighborhood. Those road improvements brought smiles to the faces of many of the residents of Deer Haven Village who have suffered unkempt, unimproved dirt roads since the early 2000s time frame when much of the residential construction in the neighborhood occurred.
Road construction in Montgomery County, after grading, often happens in three steps. There is a sub-road constructed from approximately eight inches (8”) of asphalt. This phase of construction is the cheapest portion of the construction, because Montgomery County usually receives a large allotment of recycled asphalt each year from the Texas Department of Transportation for free. Above the asphalt sub-road, there is often a crushed limestone surface. The final road surface is a two-and-a-half inch hot asphalt mix.
In Deer Haven Village, the good news that the residents observed came when they saw the County employees laying the sub-road and the crushed limestone surface. That was the end of the good news, because the County, under Meador’s so-called leadership, never laid the final asphalt surface.
The truly bizarre part of the story, however, occurred on Deer Haven Run where Meador and his crew decided not to provide any road surface at all. While the remainder of the neighborhood now has a partly paved road, the residents living on Deer Haven Run in the center of Deer Haven Village subdivision still only have a dirt road for their homes.
Deer Haven Run is all of fourteen feet wide and 4,650 feet long. Two county officials have estimated that the total cost of constructing the road on Deer Haven Run would be less than $20,000, since the vast majority of the materials would be the recycled asphalt the County obtains for free from TxDOT.
Dennis Hudgens, a homeowner and longtime businessman involved in the construction trade before he recently retired, has expressed his complete befuddlement to The Golden Hammer. “We’ve been talking, petitioning, and complaining to the County for years. They’ve repeatedly told us that they didn’t have enough money in the budget to build the roads in our neighborhood. I even went to the Commissioners Court and spoke to them directly during a meeting over a year ago. We pay our taxes too and don’t understand why our County government won’t work for us,” Hudgens explained.
When The Golden Hammer asked Hudgens and his wife for a reaction to Commissioner Meador’s transfer of millions of dollars from the budgeted road funds to other expenditures (see “Meador Transmogrifies Road Fund Into ‘Slush’,” The Golden Hammer, January 27), Hudgens added the questions, “Why is the Commissioner ignoring us on Deer Haven Run right in the middle of a subdivision where he’s put in roads? Do we have to petition him some more?”
The “Truck for Gerald” for which Meador transmogrified $30,902 of road funds on May 13, 2014, alone would have more than paid for the residents of Deer Haven Run to enjoy the minimal amenity.