KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 26, 2018
By Jennifer Lynn Skelton
Saturday, one year to the day that Hurricane Harvey began it's destruction in Katy, voters said yes to a $2.5 billion bond that will fund more than 200 projects in hopes to curtail future flooding in Harris county.
Roughly 85% of voters said yes to the Harris County flood bond with 6.5% of the registered voters participating. This was the same percentage of support that was seen in early voting. Votes rarely, if ever, pass at a percentage that high. Although the improvements are for Harris county, many other communities outside will reap the benefits.
Potential projects supported by bond funding include:
Channel modifications to improve stormwater conveyance
Regional stormwater detention basins
Major repairs to flood-damaged drainage infrastructure
Removing large amounts of sediment and silt from drainage channels
Voluntary buyouts of flood-prone properties
Wetland mitigation banks
Property acquisition for preserving the natural floodplains
Drainage improvements made in partnership with other cities, utility districts, or other local government agencies
Upgrading the Harris County Flood Warning System
Click here for more information and a map of improvements covered by the bond.
The Harris County Flood Control District Executive Director Russ Poppe released the following statement about the election results:
“We are very excited that the voters have significantly enhanced the Flood Control District’s ability to address the flooding issues that impact Harris County by approving the issuance of up to $2.5 billion in bonds to help us implement more flood risk reduction projects in a shorter timeframe.
"We intend to make immediate use of this opportunity: Next Tuesday’s Harris County Commissioners Court agenda will include items to advance 14 flood risk reduction projects that are made possible by this new bond funding. There will be more projects in the coming months.
"Harris County residents have put their trust in the Flood Control District and we plan to work extremely hard and efficiently to turn the financial resources made available as a result of this election into the reality of reduced flooding risks across Harris County.”
HCFCD will continue to hold community meetings, such as those held to educate the public ahead of the bond, as projects begin.
The bonds will be sold in increments over at least 10-15 years, as needed for the multiple phases of each project. The actual timing of individual projects will depend on a variety of factors including environmental permitting and right-of-way acquisition.
Projects will be authorized individually for funding by Commissioners Court, based on recommendations by the Flood Control District.
The Harris County Flood Control District anticipates that bonds will begin to be sold in 2020. Taxpayers will not see an increase until then with property taxes that are due January 31, 2021.
Frank Bruce, Harris County senior director of finance and budget stated that the increase is estimated at 1/3 of a cent per $100 valuation. This number is fluid as market conditions and circumstances change. By 2035, the anticipated tax rate is expected to double the 2.83 cents per $100 valuation.
Homeowners over 65 or that have a disabled exemption with a home valued $200,000 or less will not pay any additional taxes.