Negotiations between Fort Bend County and Fort Bend ISD dealing with the Sugar Land 95 are beginning to break down.
The first sign that talks of reburial and adding a memorial for the remains of the 95 African-American prisoners were off-track came in a FBISD press release last week stating that the district would reinter the remains, but would not give money to the county.
This comes after Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers mentioned that FBISD would give the county $1 million to help with reinternment and for a memorial.
The state of Texas has given permission to Fort Bend County to own and operate the cemetery, while Fort Bend ISD has said it does not want to manage it.
In a press release on Tuesday, FBISD Supt. Dr. Charles Dupre said that while discussions with the county continue, he feels the district has no reason to give the county any money.
“Fort Bend ISD is still hoping to convey the cemetery and 10 acres of land, at no cost to county taxpayers, for cemetery operations and future memorialization,” Dupre said in a statement. “And we look forward to continuing our conversations with the county soon, so that the county may publicly share plans they have developed for this important memorial park and education center.”
But County Judge KP George is getting frustrated with the statements from FBISD, telling a radio station that the district is acting “unilaterally” without communicating to the county and putting the negotiations through “a lot of difficulty.”
George mentioned that attorneys have told the county that they could face potential lawsuits from the descendants of the Sugar Land 95 if the process doesn’t go through the courts correctly.
“It’s about the trust and also legal liability, that is the bottom-line,” George said on News 88.7. “There are relatives and even today, we don’t know who they are.”
Meanwhile, community activist Reginald Moore expressed his frustration at Tuesday’s commissioner’s court meeting, asking that George and Dupre meet for a face-to-face meeting to put everything in the open.
“Let’s get this thing done,” Moore said. “We need to push harder to get this thing over the hump.”
Commissioners also approved on Tuesday a bond election for flood mitigation projects throughout the county.
The 26 projects would cost the county over $82.9 million.
Four of the projects – at Flat Bank Creek, Bessie’s Creek, Jones Creek and McCrary Road – could get federal funding of $115.1 million, and the county would add $38.4 million for the projects, if approved.
The election would take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5, with early voting scheduled from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1.