By George Slaughter
Frank Carroll, the newest Katy city council member, said Monday his priorities would be on public safety and flood mitigation efforts.
He came on the council at an important time. At Monday’s meeting, his first as a member, the council adopted a $28.5 million budget for 2018-19. The budget provides for the hiring of seven police officers, three firefighters, and one fire investigator, among 19 new total positions to be filled.
The budget also provides for a new ambulance and four new police vehicles. The second city fire station, at 25420 Bell Patima Dr., is under construction and is expected to open in December.
“We talk about protecting their homes and families,” Carroll said. “I can’t think of a more important thing to focus on at the outset.”
Carroll succeeded J. Gary Jones, who cited personal family reasons for his resignation last month. Carroll will serve the remainder of the term, which expires next May.
Carroll joins Janet Corte as a Ward A council member. Corte was elected to the council in May.
Returning to Texas
Carroll’s family has long ties in Southeast Texas, though he was born and raised in Southern California. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California-San Diego.
Nevertheless, Carroll during his childhood visiting relatives in Texas. Several live in the Galveston area. He also visited Katy as youngster, where he got lost at what was the predecessor to the Katy Mills Mall. Carroll said he was seven years ago when the incident occurred. While he said he didn’t remember all the details of the incident, his mother would say he got lost at the JC Penney store that was there at the time.
Carroll said he and his wife, who also longstanding Southeast Texas roots, found the taxes and cost of living in California were high.
“She was ready to come home, and I was ready to come home, so we did,” Carroll said.
That they were hearing appeals from others certainly didn’t hurt, either.
“We had (then-Governor) Rick Perry on our television sets telling us to come to Texas.” Carroll said. “It was a nice blitz. I know a number of people did move.”
Carroll and his family settled in Katy. He went to law school at the University of Houston, graduating in 2012. He eventually joined the Houston law firm Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey, where he is a shareholder/partner and heads the firm’s appellate law group. His practice covers real estate, commercial litigation, jurisdictional issues, statutory interpretation, and constitutional law.
Getting Involved in Katy
Despite his getting lost when he was younger, Carroll got involved in the community when he and his family settled in Katy. Earlier this year, he was appointed to serve on the city’s board of adjustment, which deals with zoning issues.
When Jones resigned last month, the council had 20 days to appoint a successor. Mayor Chuck Brawner said Carroll’s grasp of the issues was a key to his appointment.
“A lot of the thing the council had discussed with him, it seemed he had a good grasp of it,” Brawner said. “He’s been coming to a lot of our council meetings, all the budget meetings, the whole thing.”
Brawner said one could tell Carroll something about the city budget, and he had a grasp of what the issues were.
“Whoever was going to go into that empty seat, we needed to have on board with the budget before we voted on it,” Brawner said.
Rebuilding efforts continue around Katy and Southeast Texas. Carroll said that the city government couldn’t do everything—other governmental entities must do their part as well. But the city must do what it can, and that’s where he hopes to contribute.
“You can’t have a world-class city when you’re flooding,” Carroll said. “There are things we can do that are within our control and it’s incumbent on us to do those things. I think we owe it to the residents.”