Harris County bond referendum could find itself on November ballot

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, August 2, 2022
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According to documents from the Harris County Office of County Administration, $900 million of the $1.2 billion proposal would fund road, drainage and transportation projects.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County Commissioners Court is set to meet Tuesday, and one of the things they'll be discussing is a bond referendum proposal that could find itself on November's ballot.

According to Harris County Office of County Administration documents, $900 million of the $1.2 billion proposal would fund road, drainage, and transportation projects.

Officials said these aren't major road construction projects but things like road rehabilitation designed to fix and preserve poor roadways in the county.

On top of those projects, $200 million would go to park projects such as greenspace accessibility, floodable parks, and the further connectivity of parks via trails.

Finally, $100 million would go to public safety, which encompasses everything from improving vehicles and radios to reducing the backlog of court cases by adding courtrooms and technology.

If approved, the proposal couldn't officially be added to the ballot until Aug. 10 due to election rules.

The latest it could be added is Aug. 22.

Pct. 3 County Commissioner Tom Ramsey isn't in favor of putting a bond referendum on the ballot this November.

Ramsey said it should be pushed back to 2023 to give the public more time to share their input and to learn more about where the money is going.

"I noted a bond in November of 2023 should be considered, which would allow time to earn trust, provide transparency, and mitigate inflation impacts," Ramsey wrote in a newsletter.

Proponents said it should be on this year's ballot because turnout will be greater this November than next, and some projects can't be pushed back any further.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia is one of those proponents.

"We have to maintain the progress we have started," Garcia said. "Secondarily, but just as importantly, we need to get ahead of inflation as fast as possible."

If the bond referendum is ultimately passed, Harris County said the average property owner in the county would see a yearly $32 increase in property taxes.

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