Post-Harvey Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why don’t LID 15 and LID 19 operate as one LID? Why the separation?

LID 15 and LID 19 were created at separate times.  Although they serve the same community, due to the timing related to federal approval of floodplain reclamation plans and wetlands mitigation, it was determined the two districts should not be combined.

2. Why can’t we stop LID 15 from dumping water into our LID 19 area?

LID 19 and portions of LID 15 share detention and drainage facilities.  Other than the natural topographic separation that separates the Alcorn Bayou watershed (LID 15) from the Steep Bank Creek watershed (LID 19 and part of LID 15), there is no physical separation between the two districts.  LID 19 does not have the authority to restrict flows from LID 15 (or any other property) to the extent post-development flows are shown not to exceed pre-development flows.

3. Why can’t we pump the Riverstone lakes dry in anticipation of a rain event?

Without the pressure from the lake water, the bulkheads would potentially fail and fall into the lake causing damage/erosion to the area surrounding the lake.  Ensuing property damage could occur as a result.

4. How much pump capacity do we have now?

In the Steep Bank Creek watershed there is 80,000 gallons per minute of total permanent pumping capacity at the pump station (60,000 gallons per minute plus 20,000 gallons per minute as a spare pump).  In addition, LID 19 recently purchased trailer mounted pumps to provide an additional 81,000 gallons per minute of capacity.  Total pumping capacity (utilizing the spare pump and temporary pumps) is 161,000 gallons per minute.

5. How much pump capacity do we need to Harvey-proof our LID 19 houses?

Detailed modeling is required to determine the pumping capacity.  That modeling is currently underway.  The scale of additional pumping capacity required to prevent structural flooding during an event similar to Harvey would be an additional 4 to 5 times more than the fixed pumping capacity currently available in the watershed. Generally speaking, permanent facilities require approximately 6 to 9 months for design and regulatory approvals and an additional 18 months for construction.

6. Do we own the temporary pumps that are now at the pump station?

LID 19 shares ownership of the temporary pumps with LID 15. LID 19 owns 72.7% of the temporary pumps while LID 15 owns 27.3%.

7. Will our taxes increase to pay for the temporary pumps?

The LID 19 Board has determined to pay for the temporary pumps from available funds on hand.  At this time, the LID 19 Board does not foresee a need to raise LID 19 tax rates to pay for the temporary pumps.

8. How will we be notified in the event of an evacuation?

As soon as LID 19 is made aware of any evacuation order from Fort Bend County, information will be posted on LID 19’s website and emergency text/voicemail/email will be distributed to anyone who has registered to receive notices.  If you are interested in signing up for emergency notices, please click here.

9. Can we fire any consultant that we have that has not met expectations?

Yes.  Except in rare instances, most consultants/professionals engaged by LID 19 can be terminated with or without cause upon 30 days’ notice.

10. When will the third-party remediation recommendations be available? How long before they are implemented?

Phase 1 of the Third-Party Engineering Review is posted here. Phase II is posted here. Phase III is anticipated by Summer 2019.

11. Why doesn’t LID 15 pay for LID 19 improvements?

LID 15 pays for its pro rata share of drainage improvements based on their relative share of the total acreage within the Steep Bank Creek watershed.  LID 15 paid for 54.4% of engineering and construction costs for the Steep Bank Creek pump station, and continues to pay 54.4% of ongoing maintenance costs.

12. I’m having trouble signing up for emergency notices.  Please help.

Currently, verification for LID 19’s emergency notices is based on ownership records that are intended to be updated monthly from the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District. At this time, we have identified delays that have affected some residents’ ability to sign up to receive notices. We have remedied the matter, and you should have no difficulties signing up for emergency notifications here. However, if problems signing up still occur, please contact us here.

13. Why does the LID own and maintain parks?

In an effort to incentivize the development of public parks and recreational facilities for the public benefit, Texas law allows developers to build and finance parks and recreational facilities for water districts, including MUDs and LIDs. To protect the LID taxpayer from potential abuse of this authority by a developer, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Attorney General must review and approve all park projects built and financed in this manner prior to any repayment to the developer by a water district. Additionally, the law does not allow the transfer of ownership to non-government groups such as an HOA. Maintaining legal rights and ownership to certain park areas is especially critical where the park serves dual purposes – such as providing critical drainage or detention, as well as recreational, purposes.

Recognizing the burden of a “newly” formed district, the Riverstone HOA, under no obligation, agreed to operate and maintain the LID 19 park areas. Meant to be a temporary arrangement, this agreement is renegotiated annually. Prior to the renewal of this agreement, the district evaluates options to ensure we are continuously providing the best service at the best cost to the district.

14. Why does the LID pay for roads?

Like many other MUDs in the Houston-region, the LID is authorized to construct and finance major thoroughfares and collectors that serve the community. The developer makes the initial capital outlay for the construction of such thoroughfares and collectors, and they are reimbursed through the issuance of bonds by the LID. Upon completion of construction of any road, the LID immediately transfers the road to Fort Bend County for permanent ownership and maintenance. The LID has no ongoing maintenance obligations with respect to the roads. However, the LID has the option (but not obligation) to pay for any decorative streetlight upgrades. As of 2019, the LID has no current plans to finance any additional roads.

15. What will be the flood impact on LID 19 due to the new homes that are being built north of Hagerson where the health retreat was?

The area currently under development north of Hagerson Road, west of Sweetbriar, is located within Fort Bend County LID No. 15 and Fort Bend County MUD No. 149. The property is wholly within the Snake Slough watershed which does not drain toward Steep Bank Creek. Two detention ponds have been constructed to accommodate the development of the property to prevent adverse drainage impacts to the existing surrounding property. Additionally, Fort Bend County LID No. 15 has executed a contract to construct a new storm water pumping station for the Snake Slough watershed. The pump station is being constructed with 4x 12,500 gallon per minute pumps with a natural gas generator for back up power. The construction of the pump station is expected to be complete in early 2020. In the interim, provisions are included in the construction contract for temporary pumps in the event that a flood level river event should occur simultaneously with localized rainfall.

The development of the tract also provides for the improvements to Hagerson Road west of LJ Parkway. The improvements include the expansion of Hagerson Road utilizing a concrete road surface with curb and gutter construction. The drainage system for Hagerson Road is also being improved by installation of an underground storm sewer system built to County standards.

An additional improvement due to the development of the tract is the proposed traffic signal to be constructed at the intersection of LJ Parkway and Hagerson Road. The signal work is expected to be complete in the summer of 2019.

16. Why is Costello still the District engineer?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, LID 19’s Board undertook a two separate Requests for Qualifications (“RFQ”) for engineering services. First, LID 19 performed a nationwide search of qualified engineering firms to perform an independent review and analysis of LID 19’s levee and drainage system. All local engineering firms were disqualified from the request to avoid any possible conflicts of interest. As a result of this nationwide RFQ, LID 19 engaged Aptim to perform the analysis.

Next, LID 19 performed a local RFQ for qualified engineers related to the design of the expansion of the Steep Bank Creek pump station. After numerous discussions with qualified firms, based on a comprehensive review of experience, expertise, and capabilities, LID 19’s Board determined that it was in LID 19’s best interests to retain Costello for design services.

Although Costello serves as LID 19’s design engineer, Aptim continues to play an important role in ensuring the integrity of the design of the LID’s facilities. The size and scope of the LID’s pump station projects have been based on 1D (ICPR) and 2D (HEC-HMS/HEC-RAS) hydraulic and hydrologic models that were updated or developed by Aptim. In addition, the Fort Bend County Drainage District also plays an important role in developing design criteria and reviewing and approving pump station projects proposed by the LID.

17. Is the erosion on the slopes of Flat Bank Creek damaging our levee?  Will the slopes be repaired? If so, when?

The erosion within Flat Bank Creek is not damaging the Fort Bend County LID No. 19 levee at the current time. The erosion is contained within the ditch and has not encroached the levee nor the maintenance area between the ditch and the levee. Left unchecked, over time, the erosion could worsen and pose a threat to the levee.

Fort Bend County owns the ditch and has secured a grant from FEMA to repair the erosion along Flat Bank Creek.  As with most government funding, there are conditions to utilizing those funds. Fort Bend County is working to obtain environmental clearances and other items to start the construction work.  Should the erosion become a threat to the levee, the District is prepared to fund and mobilize construction crews to make repairs to protect the levee and our residents. As the ditch is not a Levee District facility, we are anxiously waiting on the County to complete the repairs to their facility. The District does not have a firm commitment from the County as to when the repair work will begin or be completed.  They have only indicated that the funding for the repair has been received which is a significant hurdle.

18. Why are LID 19 tax rates higher than neighboring LID tax rates? Why are LID 19 tax rates not decreasing while the tax rates of neighboring LID tax rates are?

LID 19 serves a relatively newly developed community, whereas other LIDs may serve communities that are older or whose development started many years ago. Active development in LID 19 began approximately 12 years ago, whereas the average age of other LIDs in the county is over 20 years. As a result of LID 19 being recently developed, LID 19 still has considerable bond debt to repay. Notably, this debt includes $10,725,000 bonds issued in 2019 to finance various projects aimed at improving flood protection and resilience within our District. Each year, a portion of the District’s total debt is paid off. As the LID debts are paid off and the assessed value within the District increase, LID 19 will be able to decrease its tax rate.

In addition to age, other LIDs may have larger residential populations and/or commercial properties that bring greater assessed value to their areas, resulting in greater tax revenue. Conversely, LID 19 is geographically smaller and almost entirely comprised of residential development, which produces less tax revenue comparatively speaking.

LID 19’s Board actively reviews outstanding debt obligations and continually evaluates its practices to ensure the financial and operational integrity of the District while remaining cognizant of its role as stewards of public funds.