County judges provide updates on Fort Bend, Waller counties

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 3/16/22

Despite last year’s winter storm and the ongoing pandemic, the Fort Bend and Waller county judges said their respective counties continue to grow economically while bringing in new residents.

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County judges provide updates on Fort Bend, Waller counties

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Despite last year’s winter storm and the ongoing pandemic, the Fort Bend and Waller county judges said their respective counties continue to grow economically while bringing in new residents.

Fort Bend County Judge KP George and Waller County Judge Trey Duhon gave updates on their respective counties at the State of the Counties luncheon, which was sponsored by the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce. The event took place March 10 at the Embassy suites, 16435 Katy Fwy.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo was invited to attend and was advertised as being a speaker for the event. She canceled her appearance.

In Waller County, Duhon said the population grew 31%, from about 43,000 residents in 2010 to 57,000 residents in 2020. A growing tax base helped the commissioners court put through a property tax cut in last year’s budget. For this year, the county has a new precinct map that had to address both the growth in overall population and minority representation. The big challenge was working with the population growth in the southernmost precinct, which includes part of the City of Katy, the City of Brookshire, and the City of Pattison.

“It was not pretty, but a new precinct map was the best solution,” Duhon said. “It wasn’t an easy process.”

Duhon said other priorities for this year include road and bridge improvements, along with law enforcement. He said the $63 million budget has an almost 2% decrease in property tax rate, yet has increases in spending for road and bridge improvements and law enforcement.

The funding increase for materials for roads and bridges has gone up $1.7 million, while the funding increase for the sheriff’s office is $1.8 million. Duhon said this was the largest increase the sheriff’s office had received and would go towards more deputies, investigators, jailers and dispatchers.

“The quality of life means nothing if you are not safe and secure in your own home,” Duhon said.

Duhon said the county needed a new courthouse. He said the county built its present courthouse in 1955, during the Cold War era. While Duhon was complementary of the courthouse’s history, he said simply fixing its problems would not be enough to best serve the county’s interests.

After showing a video describing Fort Bend’s population and economic growth, George talked about how far Fort Bend County had come since being the first county in Texas to report a case.

“From day one, we took this seriously,” George said. “My job is to make Fort Bend County more stable so businesses will feel comfortable about moving forward.”

The county’s COVID-19 threat level has receded to yellow, or low/moderate community risk. The county has 136,258 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 134,102 recoveries and 1,209 deaths, according to its website.

George said the commissioners court, along with the local medical community, worked together to meet the challenge.

“It is a collective effort,” George said. “We decided we needed to get the much-needed help to our citizens.”

These efforts included mortgage assistance and business mentorship programs, he said.

Fort Bend County, Waller County, State of the Counties, Kary Area Chamber of Commerce

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