Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously during a special meeting Monday to keep property taxes flat this year.
The move comes after two Republican commissioners skipped a vote on a proposed eight percent hike in taxes, leaving the Democrat-led court without a proper quorum.
“Therefore the taxes went to the effective rate, which means you'll pay taxes this year similar to what you paid last year,” says Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, one of two who skipped the vote.
“We were not specific as to where the money was going to go, we just wanted to have extra to go into our coffers,” he says. “At the beginning of this year, we had $214 million in reserve, but they wanted to have more.”
Beginning next year, if commissioners want to raise taxes by more than 3.5 percent, they'll have to ask for a public vote. Cagle says he tried to reach a compromise with Democrats on Commissioners Court, but was rejected.
“What was left to me was what the Texas law has provided since the 1800s, which is when it affects people's taxes, you've got to have some consensus.”
Cagle insists he only did what his constituents asked for.
“Our offices received 1,386 emails and or phone calls from individuals saying please don't raise my taxes,” he says. “We heard from 30 people who said they were in favor of having their taxes raised.”