$2.5 Billion Bond Issue Sought for Flood Projects

posted by Brett Downer -

Voters will decide Aug. 25 on a $2.5 billion bond proposal that would finance a 10- to 15-year program of flood mitigation projects.

The Harris County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday put the proposal to public vote.

The county is asking voters to finance:

--Drainage improvements.

--Upgraded warning systems.

--Infrastructure repairs.

--Home buyouts.

--Construction of more detention basins.

County Judge Ed Emmett said the goal of the bond issue is to speed up projects that will provide greater protection for county residents and their property.

“After a series of catastrophic floods in recent years, Harris County residents rightly expect major improvements in the way we protect our homes and residents from disaster,” Emmett said in a statement Tuesday. “We must take steps now to make our county more resilient."

He added: "We all saw the way that Texans helped Texans during the Memorial Day floods of 2015, the Tax Day floods of 2016 and Hurricane Harvey last year. Now is our chance to work together to protect each other proactively.”

The county’s Budget Management Department estimates that the bond issue would result in an overall tax rate increase of two to three cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

"Most homeowners would see an increase of no more than 1.4 percent in their property tax after all bonds were sold," the county said in a statement. "Homeowners with an over-65 or disabled exemption and a home assessed at $200,000 or less would pay no additional taxes."

The Harris County Flood Control District will have a "community engagement” meetings in each of the county's 23 watersheds to explain the proposed projects and hear what property owners have to say about potential flooding solutions.

The proposed project list, information about community engagement meetings and an online comment form are available on the “Bond Program” website at www.hcfcd.org/bondprogram.

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