Letter from Mayor Neal

Incorporated May 2008

City of Weston Lakes

Mayor Ramona Neal

PO Box 1082 « Weston Lakes, Texas 77441

8045 FM 359 Fulshear, Texas 77441

(281) 533-0907 City Hall

June 27, 2020

Recently, we had two workshops and two meetings. Thank you to everyone who attended. Following are the updates:

  • Weston Lakes CARES Act Committee – This committee has been working to provide a framework that will allow those who have been impacted by COVID-19 to get help. All of our work has been approved by council. Together we created a budget, moved funds, approved transfer of funds, and approved contract to be signed. Listed below is a breakdown of how the funds will be dispersed. Rental/Mortgage/Utilities Assistance is available for those who have been laid off due to COVID-19. More information will be available on the City of Weston Lakes website as soon as all details are complete. Stay tuned for upcoming training on Online Ordering, Zoom, Office 365, Facetime and Telehealth.
  • Emergency Management Administrative Assistant – We are currently creating the Job Description and will soon hire someone for this position.
  • Drainage Advisory Committee – This committee has been established by the Mayor as a focus group to explore future projects, guidance and assist with future grants. Meetings will begin mid-July.
  • Flood Mitigation Grant – On June 15th, the Flood Mitigation Grant Phase 1 was submitted. Barrett Shepherd wrote the grant application for $900, 000.00. There will be more phases to this grant.
  • Office 365 – After months of working towards moving the city into compliance with state regulations and increasing productivity, Office 365 has been approved by council. COVID-19 has created the need to meet virtually. The CARES Act monies will cover the cost for Office 365 through December 30, 2020.
  • Election – The City of Weston Lakes will hold an election in November. All election information is currently posted on the City of Weston Lakes website. There will be three council seats available.

Risk Assessment Program – Are you at risk with COVID-19? Click on this link to find out https://www.responseregistry.com/. Disclaimer: This program is put on by a private foundation and not the City of Weston Lakes.

  • Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) – During Hurricane Harvey, the City of Weston Lakes received funds from FEMA to cover costs. At the state level, there were funds available and Governor Abbott designated funds for the city to cover our portion of the 10% required payment of funds. FEMA paid 90%, we were required to pay 10%. The monies allocated by the Governor paid 75% of our 10%.
City OF WL Expenditure category Draft Budget
Rent/mortgage/Utilities ASST$120k
SignagE/mailings$20k
Technology/software$10k
Special needs SUPPORT$10K
Education$4k
TEsting $1k
Small Business GRANTSTBD
Contingency/Reserves$46k
Total$211K

Fort Bend County has a Small Business Grant program – On Tuesday, June 23rd, the program added two tiers of funding which were previously not available. More funds were allocated to the grant program overall. See the FBC website for more details.

Judge KP George has issued a mandatory order regarding facial protection. Please visit the City of Weston Lakes website, Coronavirus, Guidance on Covering Nose/Mouth.

July 4th Parade – Please check the Weston Lakes Country Club website for more details.

Normally, we take the month of July off for meetings. Due to COVID-19, we will be meeting in July. There is much going on concerning CARES Act funding and staying on top of changes occurring around us.

The City of Weston Lakes COVID-19 cases have risen. Please do all you can to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Thank you for all of your efforts!

Mayor Ramona Neal

*

June 2, 2020

Thank you to each one of you that attended the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 26th.

We had a really good meeting and accomplished many things:

  • Office 365, government version, was approved by council with workshop
  • Flood mitigation grant was approved by council
  • Resolution 02-20 the City of Weston Lakes supporting the allocation of funding under the CARES Act passed
  • Established a Mayoral committee determining CARES Act funds distribution

We are looking for volunteers for the following:

  1. Volunteers to sit on the Weston Lakes Drainage Advisory Committee.
  2. Volunteers to help write flood mitigation grants.
  3. Volunteers to help allocate CARES Act funds.

If you would like to volunteer for any of the above items, please send an email with your qualifications to mayor.neal@cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov.

For your information, some questions asked during a city council meeting are unable to be answered due to legal restrictions regarding the item in question not being on the agenda. Here are answers to some questions asked at the meeting and in conversations.

  • The mayor is a very conservative Republican and believes in small government working for the people. Allowing the people to guide policy and the direction in which our city heads.
  • A precedent was set by the previous administration that the city attorney would not attend meetings due to the cost. He is available upon request.
  • It is my position that the City of Weston Lakes Ad valorem taxes (property tax) will remain at zero.
  • It has come to my attention that there has been some discussion regarding removing the front entrance gates. The front gates are a vital part of the living environment in the City of Weston Lakes.
  • CARES Act provides that payments from the Fund may only be used to cover costs that-
    • are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID-19.
    • were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the State or government: and
    • were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020 and ends December 30, 2020
  • The SBA will be offering grants to small businesses. This program will roll out around June 15, 2020.
  • The rental/utility assistance program began June 1, 2020. Payments will not exceed $1,500. The deadline to enroll is June 12, 2020. Go to www.forbendcountytx.gov or call 281-238-2273

Hope to see you at the next Regular City Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd , 6 pm, Weston Lakes Country Club Ballroom.

Mayor Ramona Neal

Cell 832.690.8188

8045 FM 359, Suite 200

Fulshear, Texas 77441

Mayor.neal@cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov

*

May 13, 2020

Weston Lakes Proud! Thanks to all of you that made Inspirational posters that were displayed at the entrances of area hospitals. We received thank you cards from them stating our posters were “fantastic”, “incredible”, “touched our team” and “lifted our spirits!” Photos of these posters can be found on the City of  Weston Lakes website www.cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov and Nextdoor.

Currently, we have two cases of COVID-19 in Weston Lakes. This is up one case from last week. Previously we were without any cases. Being responsible for ourselves is the best action we can take. Whatever that means for you, staying home, being prepared when going out or shifting from social distancing to “physically” distancing. Being self-aware of your own personal bubble of space is the concept we need to employ at this time. The idea is to break the chain of transmission. Covid-19 is not gone, we are just learning to safeguard and continue to live our lives. On May 12th, Governor Abbott renewed the disaster proclamation for all counties in Texas. Mask are recommended in public and continue to wash hands often.

COVID-19 testing at the beginning was limited but is widely available now and our county has five testing sites. Testing is free and by appointment only. Two are available close to us at Seven Lakes and Gallery Furniture. Capacity to test is up to about 700 per day and will grow to 1,000 per day. Everyone with or without symptoms is encouraged to get tested. Why? Knowing puts you in a better position to protect your loved ones, friends, and community members. Testing is KEY to understanding how much disease is in our community. Simply call 281-238-2363 or go online www.fbchealth.org to register and then drive through to be tested. Testing is easier than it was at first as new tests are less invasive and it should only take about fifteen minutes total. The purpose of testing is to quantify any outbreaks before they grow too large and to break the chain of transmission by quarantining those infected. One negative test is not necessarily negative for life. Retest often, should you be exposed.

Hurricane season is rapidly approaching. The new Emergency Preparedness Important Checklist is posted on the website www.cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov and on Nextdoor. Emergency Management is currently preparing for the season.

Thank you to all of the community and business leaders…POA, Weston Lakes Clubhouse and Golf Course, Emergency Management and City Council for your hard work helping to keep our community healthy, safe and informed. In this time of uncertainty, it has been joyful to watch families spend quality time together taking walks, riding bicycles, playing catch in the yard and reconnecting.

Together, we are Weston Lakes Proud!

Mayor Ramona Neal

Cell 832.690.8188

8045 FM 359, Suite 200

Fulshear, Texas 77441

Mayor.neal@cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov

*

                                    

April 8, 2020

The measures we are taking to slow the spread of the coronavirus are working! Great Job Everyone! Stay Home Work Safe!

Hope you are accomplishing many projects. Lots of residents have commented that it has been fulfilling to see the creative displays of chalk art, rainbows, and bears displayed in windows. To view, check out the community tab on our website at www.cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov.

We are all looking forward to Easter this weekend! Activities include Egg My Yard (limited availability), Easter Dinners To Go (limited availability) from the club, and Look Out for Peter Cottontail as he parades down your street! More information on the City of Weston Lakes website under community, Easter “Stay Home” Activities. Use your phone to track his progress and know just when he will be passing your home.

We never expected to experience a pandemic, they just do not touch our lives in modern Texas. Yet, we are facing a pandemic and its economic repercussions.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed 9,353 cases and 177 deaths in Texas. Over 96,258 people have been tested and 167 of 254 counties have positive test results within their borders. It has been confirmed by Fort Bend County’s Office there are positive cases within our area, including Weston Lakes, Fulshear and Simonton. Exact data will not be given out due to HIPPA and privacy laws. Please continue to Stay Home, Work Safe and regulate your exposure.

As a whole, Texas is leading the nation in its response to the coronavirus in the number of drive-thru testing sites. Texas implementing measures to social distance has proven to slow the spread. Abbott labs is producing a fifteen-minute test which is being sent to doctors, nurses and those on the front lines to ensure they are not spreading the virus. Statewide approximately 21,000 hospital beds and 2,223 ICU beds are available with both being more than the projected numbers that could be needed. Texas also has 7,000 ventilators at the ready.

An updated Executive Order for travelers from certain destinations was recently issued by the governor with mandated self-quarantine. The Department of Public Service (DPS) has been tasked with enforcing GA-12. See their website for the forms needed to be completed by travelers. 

You may learn more by visiting www.dps.texas.gov/covidtravel or calling: 844.986.1093.

Governor Abbott, Dr. Zerwas, Commissioner Hellerstedt and Nim Kidd were all part of a press conference recently. Their plan for hospital expansion of capacity concerning beds and personnel was revealed. They discussed the Trauma Service Areas by region and their capacities. Potential Facilities for COVID-19 to house patients who are not as seriously ill as those who need to be hospitalized or convalescing may be housed there. A Federal Medical Station is already set up in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, capacity of 250 beds. Others are planned for San Antonio in the Freeman Coliseum and NRG Stadium in Houston. The Army Corp of Engineers, military, and local health departments are working with local governments to identify future sites. Commissioner Hellerstedt discussed that we can change the course of this disaster unlike being able to change the course of a hurricane. We can control our responses and curtail our actions while slowing the spread of this virus.

The daily phone calls lessened and webinars are becoming more frequent. These are training in how to handle the financial aspects for cities who incurred expenses. While Weston Lakes as a whole did not incur expenses, it is a good time to learn should this process ever be needed in the future.

In the recently passed CARES Act, the third bill approved by our federal government, many sources of help were made available. There is a forgivable loan made available to small businesses which will help businesses pay their employees. If criteria are met, such as number of employees paid now and at a specific date in the future, the loan is forgivable. For businesses forced to close in order to keep employees protected, employers pay the first five thousand and the next five thousand will be paid by the bill. Payroll taxes can be deferred up to two years. There is much to learn about in this bill as it pertains to aid for businesses and their employees. The President has also asked for $250,000 more to help small businesses. Forms were made available to businesses a few weeks ago and once completed FEMA will work with them to reimburse losses. Tax rebates will start going out soon, there is a specified order as to who gets theirs first. Penalties have been waived for removal of money from certain accounts. The scope of unemployment has been expanded as many who could not receive funds will be able to receive under this bill. Unemployment has increased by $600 a week and extended the duration by thirteen weeks. Healthcare is set to get $340 Billion, with some going to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as $30 Billion to schools, colleges to offset the costs with distance learning. Over $11 billion is set aside for Texas. A task force is looking into and making plans on how to get our businesses back to work and to help us into economic rebound. By reducing the spread of the virus here in Weston Lakes, we shape our future. While the federal/state government is working on a plan to get us reopened, the cities with little to no virus will open first.

According to the CDC, all should be wearing masks, handkerchiefs or scarves when in public. Asymptomatic but infected people may spread the virus just by speaking. This will help protect others. Layers of protection include: armor, masks, distancing, gloves, hand washing, disinfection.

Our local EMS and first responders are receiving a normal call volume and hospitals are at a normal capacity. Testing sites in FBC are producing a 48-hour turnaround for results and new sites are coming. PPE has been in short supply but the governor announced that a high-level Senior Vice-President of World-wide Procurement on loan from Dell has been able to secure the State of Texas much needed supplies, such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.

Call your doctor: if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. If you have a mild illness stay at home and get well. At least 80% of infections will fall into this category. The CDC and DSHS websites provide guidance needed to handle your care at home. Fever or respiratory issues with underlying health issues, over 65 or symptoms which are worsening are encouraged to call their doctor immediately. State Law prevents the disclosure of any information of persons who have tested positive.

Currently, our community is making Inspirational posters to display at the main entrances at some of the hospitals in the area. We need your help! These posters will uplift doctors, nurses, staff and patients’ spirits. Please visit the website community tab for more information.

Let’s remember to take care of each other and ourselves. Call our elderly loved ones twice a day.

The City of Weston Lakes is doing well and we will come through this trying time with resiliency, and we will do it together.

Please contact me anytime if I can help in any way.

Best of Health to All,

Mayor Ramona Neal

City of Weston Lakes
(832) 690-8188
8045 FM 359, Suite 200
         Fulshear, Texas 77441
         Mayor.neal@cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov

*

March 30, 2020

Good day to all of you:

I hope this message finds each of you doing well and enjoying the company of your loved ones. Perhaps a project or two is being accomplished as we have a little more free time as we Stay Home Work Safe. Each week a letter, to update you on the coronavirus and what measures are being taken to provide a healthy
environment for your family in Weston Lakes, will be posted on the City of Weston Lakes’ website, posted on Next Door and a reminder email will go out from the POA. Subsequent updates or notifications may happen; please check our city website often at www.cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov.

New pictures are being added and it is in the process of being updated. During this time, we are on the lookout for fun and easy art projects to post, helping to ensure little fingers stay busy.
Feel free to share ideas, email: mediacoord@cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov

Thanks!

Mayor Ramona Neal

City of Weston Lakes

City Hall 281.533.0907 Cell 832.690.8188

mayor.neal@cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov

*

March 26, 2020

City of Weston Lakes,

Being ordered to stay home and work safe can be disruptive, frustrating, and feel unsettling. Especially when the reason for quarantine is exposure to a new disease for which there may be limited information. As we all continue to deal with the directives from our governing bodies, we must remember to think about others who need our help to protect them. It is not convenient to live under all of the restrictions that we find ourselves under, but it is joyful to see all of the creative ways members in our city are helping others and demonstrates our resilience. Thank you to those of you who are on Next Door who have been participating in endeavors such as Christmas lights, teddy bears, and rainbow pictures.  It has helped to brighten our days! If you would like to join Next Door, please go to NextDoor.com. Stay home and stay safe!

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed 974 cases and 12 deaths in Texas. As a whole, Texas is doing a good job in slowing the spread of the disease and in flattening the curve to slow the spread. All actions taken to preserve our health and the health of others help to ensure our hospital system and its workers are not overwhelmed. County Judge K.P. George issued a third amendment to the declaration of local disaster for Fort Bend County. The declarations and other directives are on the City of Weston Lakes website. For your reference, the website address is www.cityofwestonlakes-tx.gov. Going out to do essential functions is allowed. As we all remember to follow guidelines of washing our hands, social distancing and not touching our faces, it is imperative to wipe down frequently touched surfaces every day. Social distancing will flatten the curve but not as much as shelter in place. This flattening of the curve buys time for tests, personal protection equipment, hospital bed availability, ventilator availability and saves lives. In the order, the Judge also called for the closing of all parks. The Property Owners Association (POA) swiftly sent an email informing residents of the parks closure. Many have voiced concerns over the parks remaining open. The parks fall under the jurisdiction of the POA, please contact the POA with questions. This order is in effect until April 3, 2020 unless it is extended by Commissioner’s Court in a vote by our County Commissioners. Our collective actions now, will slow the spread. At this time our health care system is handling this situation.

One to four call-in phone conferences are attended daily that help to update us on the current situation, what is anticipated, and possible future steps. Participants include the governor, senators, County Judge, State Emergency Management, doctors, elected officials, medical personnel, mayors and many other leaders. Questions are asked and we are given guidance.  This situation is being very closely monitored.

State law defines a disaster as an occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from any natural or man-made cause, including fire, flood, earthquake, wind, storm, wave action, oil spill, or other water contamination, volcanic activity, epidemic, air contamination, blight, drought, infestation, explosion, riot, hostile military or paramilitary action, extreme heat, or other public calamity requiring emergency action, energy emergency or a cyber event.

At this time, a Local State of Disaster for the city of Weston Lakes has not been issued but, it may be deemed necessary. The mayor is authorized to declare a Local State of Disaster if a disaster has occurred or is imminent. A disaster declaration lasts for no more than seven days unless continued or renewed by city council.

The mayor may have added authority during a declared state of disaster. There are a few reasons why it is helpful to declare a disaster: the city will get a reimbursement of funds expended pertaining to the disaster. It helps businesses within the city recoup lost monies because of the disaster. It allows the city to better mitigate the issues facing its citizens and provide protection, acquire shelter, or take action that is expedient to promote health or suppress disease.

Such as, if a declaration had been declared: the city could close down the parks.

When a state of disaster is declared, the Emergency Management team moves into action with a call center to provide guidance or help as needed, this can be done before the declaration and likely will happen within a few days. Our needs now are much different than our needs during Hurricane Harvey where rescues from flooded homes were needed. The City of Weston Lakes has an inter-jurisdictional emergency agreement with Fort Bend County. We can call on the county to provide what we as a city cannot provide and for help beyond our capabilities.

The following websites have information about the virus. Please visit these sites to keep up to date, as the situation is fluid:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ – CDC website visit to get information about the virus

https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ – Texas state information, #stayathome, Texas

www.fortbendcountytx.gov – to keep you up to date what is going on in our county

Update on libraries: they are all closed until April 6, 2020. As information is available, updates will be given.

The idea is to prepare and don’t panic, to share facts, not fear. Take a realistic look at what you have and what you need. Get those needed items and don’t over purchase, everyone else has needs, too. If you find you have more than you need, ask around, especially to older neighbors before offering it up to anyone else. We must work to protect our neighbors who are over sixty as this virus is much harder on them or on anyone who is compromised in their health. I encourage all of you to put your talents and hobbies to use at this time and help others.

Call your doctor: if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. If you have a mild illness stay at home and get well. At least 80% of infections will fall into this category. The CDC and DSHS websites provide guidance needed to handle your care at home. Fever or respiratory issues with underlying health issues, over 65 or symptoms which are worsening are encouraged to call their doctor immediately. State Law prevents the disclosure of any information of persons who have tested positive.

I am confident that the City of Weston Lakes will come through this trying time with resiliency.

Best of Health to All,

Mayor Ramona Neal

City of Weston Lakes

(281) 533-0907

8045 FM 359, Suite 200, Fulshear, Texas 77441

*

3/18/2020

City of Weston Lakes,

We have all been made aware of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It has no doubt been an unwelcome invitee to our lives but we must accommodate the restrictions we are facing with patience and kindness. The well-being of our fellow man is far more important than the momentary deprival of restaurants and social gatherings. Let us consciously decide to embrace this time and make memories with our families.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed 64 cases and 2 deaths in Texas. Now is the time to act. Our collective actions now, will slow the spread. Stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary outings. If you are sick, stay home. We don’t want to overwhelm our healthcare system, which is a real concern at this time.

Each week day there is a phone call from the DSHS at 4:00 P.M. where city leaders are updated on what the current situation is, what is anticipated, and the steps others are taking. As well, there is a weekly phone call for school boards, emergency management and city leadership. The information is being passed on to you to keep you updated. We are watching this situation very close to ensure your safety.

The following websites have information about the virus. Please visit these sites to keep up to date, as the situation is fluid:

www.cdc.gov – CDC website visit to get information about the virus

http://dshs.texas.gov – Texas state information

www.fortbendcountytx.gov – to keep you up to date what is going on in our region

Beginning March 18, 2020 all libraries will be closed. On March 19, 2020 everyone will be able to get curb side pick-ups. You must go online and order which books you would like to borrow. To contact please visit the website at www.fortbend.lib.tx.us or call (281) 633-4734 M-F, 8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

At a press conference on March 17, 2020 County Judge, K.P. George, declared that all restaurants in Fort Bend County would only be able to serve food via pick-up, drive thru, or delivery. Please be patient as these efforts are to delay or slow the spread of the virus in an effort to help our hospitals from being overwhelmed with patients. That order is posted on the website (address above). For this reason, the Weston Lakes Country Club has changed the way it is taking orders.

LCISD is preparing lunches for all who are under 18, regardless of which school they attend. Please visit their website to find out which schools will be providing breakfast and lunches and the times food is available Monday through Friday.

The idea is to prepare and don’t panic, to share facts, not fear. Take a realistic look at what you have and what you need. Get those needed items and don’t over purchase, everyone else has needs, too. If you find you have more than you need, ask around, especially to older neighbors before offering it up to anyone else. We must work to protect our neighbors who are over sixty as this virus is much harder on them or on anyone who is compromised in their health. By offering any overages to them or by going shopping for them, you are helping them to remain healthy and strong. I encourage all of you to put your talents and hobbies to use at this time and help others.

Please wash your hands, avoid touching your face, nose and mouth, clean surfaces regularly, use social distancing and simply stay home. Stay out of crowded places, six feet from each other, do not go into large groups, avoid places where people gather.

Call your doctor: if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. If you have a mild illness stay at home and get well. At least 80% of infections will fall into this category. The DSHS website provides all of the guidance needed to handle your care at home. Fever or respiratory issues with underlying health issues, over 65 or symptoms which are worsening are encouraged to call their doctor before doing anything else. Any elective procedures planned should be postponed to leave medical personnel and supplies available for those who are infected.

I am confident that the City of Weston Lakes will come together and work through with a united front.

Best of Health,

Mayor Ramona Neal

City of Weston Lakes

(281) 533-0907

8045 FM 359, Suite 200, Fulshear, Texas 77441