Ramsey talks high crime, infrastructure and taxes at Katy EDC meeting

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 8/20/21

Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 3 Tom Ramsey was the keynote speaker at this month’s Katy Area Economic Development Council’s general assembly meeting. During his comments, Ramsey …

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Ramsey talks high crime, infrastructure and taxes at Katy EDC meeting

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Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 3 Tom Ramsey was the keynote speaker at this month’s Katy Area Economic Development Council’s general assembly meeting. During his comments, Ramsey spoke on three topics that he referred to under the acronym, HIT, which stands for high crime, infrastructure and taxes.

“You know what crime does to businesses? It devastates businesses,” Ramsey said.

High Crime

During his speech which lasted slightly longer than 15 minutes, Ramsey said he was interested in working with community partners to attack what he termed a “crime-demic.” He cited prostitution activity along Bissonnet Street between Beltway 8 and State Highway 59 as one of the major crime centers in the U.S. for prostitution. That area, he said, is full of empty buildings because crime has driven businesses from the area and he wants to change that.

Part of Ramsey’s plan to reduce crime is to hire 50 additional police officers to patrol neighborhoods in Harris County. He said he proposed the hiring a few meetings ago and disagrees with other members of the Harris County Commissioners Court on their proposed solution to growing crime.

“We can’t do what the court did in this last meeting and say, ‘I know, we’ll solve the problem by sending psychologists out next time we get a 9-1-1 call.’ We got to get serious if we’re going to address it,” Ramsey said.

Infrastructure

Ramsey said the Precinct 3 Road and Bridge team is out working on a variety of projects throughout his precinct.

According to the Precinct 3 website, construction of additional detention and wetland habitat areas is underway at John Paul Landing Park north of the city of Kat. Louetta Road from Stablewood Farms Drive to Little Cypress Creek is being converted to a four-lane boulevard. Peek Road is also being expanded to four lanes from Grand Ventana to Stockdick School Road. Asphalt repairs are being conducted on Bauer Hockley Road, Kickapoo Road, Badtke Road, Becker Road, House Road, North Eldridge Parkway, Clay Road, Windsong Trail, Katy Hockley Cut Off Road, Becker Road, Roberts Road, A.J. Foyt Road and Nichols Road.

No costs for the above projects were listed on the Precinct 3 website.

Drainage infrastructure is also a priority for the county, Ramsey said. He said he’d reached out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that Mayde Creek south and east of Greenhouse Road was desilted. That project will allow water to flow from the northwestern portion of that waterway which has been cleared by the Harris County Flood Control District into Addicks Reservoir.

Finally, Ramsey expressed his support for a proposed $4-5 billion flood mitigation tunnel that would take water from Addicks and Barker reservoirs to the Gulf of Mexico in the event of a severe storm such as Hurricane Harvey. Ramsey said funding for the tunnel would likely come from his budget and that of Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 4 Jack Cagle.

“We’re going to build a tunnel because that’s the only way we’re going to get the water here on the west side into the bay and that tunnel’s going to help a lot of different groups,” Ramsey said.

Taxes

Ramsey said he opposes any tax increase that may be presented at a commissioners court meeting.

“We not going to be raising taxes. We don’t need to be raising taxes,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said that rules within the commissioners court prevent a raise in taxes without at least four members of the court present to form a quorum to vote on the tax rate. He said that, if necessary, he would break a quorum as his predecessor, Steve Raddack, and Cagle had two years ago in order to prevent a quorum for an issue he feels so strongly about.

Ramsey said he supports a tax rate that would fit the criteria of a “no new revenue” tax rate in which the county receives the same amount of funding in property taxes. With increased property values, that is likely to reduce the tax rate for Harris County.

In closing, Ramsey expressed appreciation for the Katy EDC and the business leaders that make up its membership.

“I appreciate what y’all do as an entity in terms of coverage of businesses,” Ramsey said.