In response to comments and questions regarding emergency orders issued by the City of Missouri City during Harvey, the following are the actions that took place in regard to the declaration of an emergency through Order O-17-01 and a subsequent Order O-17-02 providing for commandeering of certain private property for supplies.
On August 23, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott, due to the threat of imminent disaster posed by Tropical Depression Harvey, issued a proclamation declaring state of emergency in numerous counties which included Fort Bend and Harris Counties. This proclamation authorized the use of all available resources of the state government and of political subdivisions that were reasonably necessary to cope with the disaster. With the storm imminent, the City of Missouri City’s Emergency Operations Center was activated on August 25, 2017 at 7 p.m. Subsequently, Mayor Allen Owen, per state statute, proclaimed by Order O-17-01 a state of disaster in the interest of public health, safety, and welfare. On August 28, Order O-17-02 was issued by Mayor Owen when he determined it was in the best interests of the citizens of Missouri City and the general public to commandeer, procure and use private property. This declaration was issued pursuant to Section 418.1015 of the Texas Government Code, which provides,
“the presiding officer of the governing body of an incorporated city may, when a state of disaster has been declared, exercise the powers granted
to the governor under Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code on an appropriate local scale; and whereas the Governor has the authority to
commandeer, procure or use private property if the Governor finds such to be necessary to cope with a disaster pursuant to Section 418.017 of
the Texas Government Code; and the mayor now finds and determines it to be in the best interests of the citizens of Missouri City and the general
public to commandeer, procure and use private property to cope with the effects of Hurricane Harvey.”
State law also provides that a person or business whose private property has been commandeered or used must be compensated. In accordance with the statute, the city kept records of the items acquired and is following up with vendors regarding the reimbursement for these items.