Waller County approves tax relief for new rice mill, polling locations at Sept. 2 meeting

By R. Hans Miller | News Editor
Posted 9/9/20

In a short meeting on Sept. 2, the Waller County Commissioners Court took action to approve a tax abatement agreement for the Brookshire Drying Company which is developing a $6.3 million facility in …

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Waller County approves tax relief for new rice mill, polling locations at Sept. 2 meeting

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In a short meeting on Sept. 2, the Waller County Commissioners Court took action to approve a tax abatement agreement for the Brookshire Drying Company which is developing a $6.3 million facility in Brookshire to allow it to mill rice. The court praised the project’s nod to Waller County’s rice farming traditions.

“This is one way that we can support them and support that history, that heritage,” said Commissioner Justin Beckendorff who led the meeting in Judge Trey Duhon’s absence.

Pam West, the owner of the business, was present and verified that the facility will bring four new jobs to the area with annual salaries of about $40,000 each. The agreement, which was approved unanimously by the commissioners present – Commissioner Jeron Barnett was also absent – provided a tax abatement of 40% for four years to help the company get developed and establish its footing at the facility which is located at 1019 Bains Street, Brookshire. The company already has a facility there that will be expanded, West said. She added that the products made there would arrive on local grocery store shelves at grocers like HEB and Aldi in the future.

Commissioners also approved the judges and polling locations for elections coming up in October and November. Early voting begins Oct. 13 and Election Day is Nov. 3.

However, Rosa Harris, the county’s Democratic Party chairperson expressed concern about voting not being established on campus for Prairie View A&M University students. She said she felt that either the lack of access for voting at the campus was either to disenfranchise Black students or Democrats that attend the university, which she felt was inappropriate and setting the wrong example, especially since the county appeared to have the voting machines to man an on-campus voting site.

“Voting is something that we teach our young people and this is their first step into the adult world,” Harris said.

Harris was joined by Prairie View City Council Member Kendrick Jones who commented that the county should follow the NBA and other counties throughout the country on both sides of the party line which are expanding access to voting by adding locations.

County Contruction Manager Danny Rothe reported that the county’s Precinct 4 Annex located between Katy and Brookshire on Highway 90 was essentially complete. Minor fixes will need to be taken care of over the next few weeks and water will not be turned on for the building for a few more weeks either, Rothe said. However, the remaining work is minor and he expects county staff to be able to move into the building in late October or early November.

Rothe said he was pleased with the site and expected the location to be relatively safe from flooding with nearby facilities having low elevation parking lots that would allow water to drain away from the county’s facility if a serious rain event were to occur. Additionally, the facility is intentionally built up in order to have it higher than neighboring Highway 90, he said.

Other actions:

  • Commissioners approved standards for addressing that will allow dispatched first responders to easily find locations throughout the county.
  • Commissioners approved information technology purchases for the county’s new justice center and updated library.
  • Commissioners left a burn ban in place due to high risk indexes indicated by the Fire Marshall’s Office.

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