A bond proposition to provide funding for the Harris County Flood Control District will not be on ballots this May as commissioners said they need additional time to prepare the details of the package before putting it before taxpayers.
The deadline set by the Texas Secretary of State to place the measure on May 5 ballots was Feb. 16. Details of the potential package, including how big it would be, are still being discussed, said Joe Stinebaker, a spokesman for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.
“The reason no bond issue was placed on the May ballot is because the folks in engineering, flood control, [and the]budget office… are still compiling all the information about exactly which projects should be part of the proposal, how much each would cost and realistic timelines for accomplishing this,” Stinebaker said. “Rather than rush a vague outline of what the county hopes to accomplish, commissioners court members are opting instead for a specific proposal upon which voters can decide.”
Although a dollar amount is still under discussion, county officials have said in the past that even a conservative estimate for how much the county needs to address flooding issues would exceed $1 billion. The bond would be funded by an increase in property taxes.
A general outline for how the money would be spent entails portions of it going to home buyouts, improved water conveyance along area bayous and working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a third Houston-area reservoir along Cypress Creek.
The U.S. Congress set aside $90 billion
for disaster relief in several states—including Texas—in a budget passed earlier this month. In a statement, Emmett said federal and state funding will be crucial to addressing flooding issues in Harris County as well.