Judge Lina Hidalgo expected to return in time for Harris Co. budget vote

Pooja Lodhia Image
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Budget vote expected next week after Harris County Commissioners Court
Harris County Commissioners discussed a new budget coming next week that could affect property taxes, law enforcement services, and public health.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- By this time next week, Harris County leaders will likely have adopted a new budget.

It'll have a significant impact on your property taxes, as well as services like law enforcement patrols and public health.

Commissioners aren't looking at any huge cuts or increases this year, but the $2.4 billion proposed budget does include raises for some employees and additional funding for county courts.

Part of the goal this year is to restore funding that was lost last year.

Harris County did not pass a new budget in 2022 after the two Republican commissioners on the court boycotted meetings for nearly two months, saying they wanted more law enforcement funding.

RELATED: Commissioners approve $2.5 billion bond to be added to ballot for Harris Health improvements

Commissioners unanimously approved a $2.5 billion bond, which would help improve the Harris Health System, to be included on the ballot for voters.

The end result was the county being forced to adopt what's called a no-new-revenue tax rate, cutting services more than either Democrats or Republicans proposed.

This year, there's only one Republican on the court: Tom Ramsey.

"We're actually having a conversation on how the money is going to be spent," Ramsey said. "Last year, it was a 'take it or leave it' proposition."

He couldn't derail the process even if he wanted to, though, because Democrats now have a super majority on the court, meaning they don't need any Republican votes to pass what they want.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who has been on a leave of absence, is expected to be back in time for the budget vote next week.

For more on this story, follow Pooja Lodhia on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

SEE ALSO: Program looking to add full-time deputies to emergency dispatch centers approved in Harris County

The Harris County Commissioners Office approved TeleDeputy, a program for deputies to work at emergency call centers for non-emergency cases.