County voters are being asked to approve four measures during Nov. 3 Election.
- Proposition #1 “Road Improvement Bonds”: $700 million of which 60 million is designated for subdivision street repair and replacement.
- Proposition #2 “Parks”: $60 million
- Proposition #3”Veterinary Public Health Adoption and Care Center”: $24 million
- Proposition #4”Flood Control”: $64 million
- Total: $848 million
The case for bond funds is simple and compelling.
Population growth in Harris County has reached such a stage that county leaders are forced to place a bond issue before voters to help fund much-needed improvements during the next seven to ten years. You already know Harris County is the third most populous county in the nation and has a larger population than 24 states. Houston-the largest city in Harris County-is expected to edge out Chicago as the nation’s third largest city within the decade.
But between 2000 and 2014, there has been an explosive 74 percent jump in the population of Harris County’s unincorporated area coupled with a dramatic 40 percent hike in county road miles.
Simply put, that means an overwhelmed mobility network, more congestion, increased driving times decreased, safety, productivity and business profitability. The County’s road and bridge system must expand.
More people mean greater strain on the county’s system of buildings and parks and a greater need for public amenities for families and updated facilities like a modern veterinary public health center. More people mean more development, more homes and more funds needed to continue the vital job of protecting communities from flooding.
Why trust Harris County to get this done?
This bond issue was placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote of the five members of the Harris County Commissioners Court. County Judge Ed Emmett, Precinct One Commissioner El Franco Lee, Precinct Two Commissioner Jack Morman, Precinct Three Commissioner Steve Radack and Precinct Four Commissioner R. Jack Cagle.
Also, consider this: Harris County government has historically been a great steward of your tax dollars because of fiscally conservative leadership. Since 1996, voters have authorized a total of roughly $2.1 billion in bonds and $1.9 billion have been issued without any increase in the County’s overall property tax rate. During the same period, there has been only one increase in the county’s overall tax rate and TWO decreases in the overall tax rate. The last increase in the county’s overall tax rate was in 1996 and there have been three bond issues since then-1997, 2001 and 2007. No overall tax rate increase was required to support any of those measures.
County leaders and budget planners are again predicting new dept generated by the 2015 bond issue will not require a tax increase. They say spending and the issuance of these bonds can be delayed should economic conditions make that action necessary.
These bonds will replace other debt as it’s being payed off. Therefore the overall debt will not increase.
In short, Harris County knows how to get these projects done without raising taxes. County government can be trusted to get this done responsibly.