Cagle reintroduces himself to Katy leaders at EDC meeting

Monday, February 21, 2022

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By: George Slaughter - Katy Times

Thanks to the recent Harris County Commissioners Court redistricting, Pct. 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle and Pct. 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey find themselves seemingly representing each other’s precincts. At a meeting Tuesday, Cagle said the situation reminded him of the 1976 film “Freaky Friday,” in which a mother and daughter awaken one Friday morning to learn they have transferred bodies and traded places.

“It happened to Tom and me with our precincts, but I’ve got to say, it’s exciting,” Cagle said.

Cagle spoke at the Katy Area Economic Development Council meeting. The meeting was at the University of Houston-Victoria at Katy building, 22400 Grand Circle Blvd.

Even though Cagle has been on the court since 2011 and held other local offices before that, his precinct did not include Katy. Now it does and he’s taking the opportunity to reintroduce himself. He said he was Katy’s new commissioner though he was familiar with the community. He was a member in the Katy Bar Association.

In his Tuesday presentation, Cagle spoke of what he called his “seven Cs” for being a commissioner. The first of these, what he called “commissioning 101,” involves dealing with potholes, county parks, public safety, flood control, pollution and drainage.

Cagle said community assistance, which he described as helping people find the solutions to their problems, was important. When a constituent has an issue, Cagle said his office works with other offices to resolve things.

“We want you to call us,” Cagle said. “Sometimes it’s not us that can do the job. If you’re a member of that community (Harris County precincts 3 and 4), we will assist. We get some interesting requests from time to time.”

Celebrating, such as ribbon cuttings or issuing proclamations, was another key role he plays.

“If your business, your organization has an exciting moment, we’ll be there for the celebrating,” Cagle said. “We think that’s an important part of our community.”

Cagle said cutting red tape is a part of the job. He said it always seems that when the commissioner’s office makes a call on an issue, that issue somehow becomes next in line to be addressed.

Encouraging collaboration is another key role for commissioners. The county is happy to work with other entities on projects, Cagle said.

The county also collects taxes. Cagle said tax revenues have increased because the tax base has grown.

“I have taken criticism because I believe that after Hurricane Harvey (in 2017), after the pandemic, this is not the time to raise taxes on the public,” Cagle said, adding that if people are cutting their personal budgets nowadays, local government should do the same thing.

Finally, the county addresses crime issues. Cagle spoke of a proposal that he and Ramsey submitted for consideration but was rejected by county commissioners. The idea was to take recommendations from local law enforcement and update the 2018 budget to include those costs. If this plan had been followed, Cagle said, no tax increase would be necessary and approximately $42 million would be put back into the county’s emergency fund.

As it turned out, law enforcement got 18% of what they requested, Cagle said.

Cagle said fighting crime is one of the basic issues commissioners must address.

“It’s one of the basic things we are here for,” Cagle said. “You want to have enough deputies so there are no crimes in the jails. You want to have enough deputies so there are no crimes in the streets.”

The meeting also marked Chuck Martinez’s first as EDC president. Monday was his first day on the job. He came to Katy after serving in a similar capacity in College Station.

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