Houstonians have 7 ballot props to vote on in November, totaling $478M

Chaz Miller Image
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
Houstonians have 7 ballot props to vote on in November, totaling $478M
When Houstonians head to the polls in November, they will have some vital decisions to make as to where city funds will be allocated. Eyewitness News breaks down the seven ballot propositions that total $478 million.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston City Council approved adding seven bond propositions to November's ballot Wednesday morning, and everything from parks to public safety would be impacted should they pass.

A total of $478 million in propositions would have to be voted on as separate propositions, which means a combination of them could pass, as opposed to the total package.

The majority of that total is $200 million for public safety, $60 million going to parks, and $47 million to BARC, the city's animal shelter. The remaining bonds would go to public health, general permanent improvements, libraries, and solid waste.

As far as the third proposition involving BARC, a Facebook post from the shelter on Wednesday said they currently have 365 pets in their care. That's down from 397 on Sunday, but it has still created a situation of overcrowding that requires them to use temporary kennels.

Getting more money would allow for more space, which Houston Mayor Sylvestor Turner emphasized the importance of earlier Wednesday at the council meeting.

"BARC's picking up animals off the street. Sometimes it's 15 to 30 a day," Turner said. "We have a capacity problem."

Turner said even if BARC partnered with an outside organization, they'd still need the facility and space required to make that possible.

While the Houston city council applauded a development to take homeless people off the street, some members opposed how it would be run.

Another major topic of conversation at Wednesday's meeting centered around a potential permanent supportive housing community for the homeless that would be located at 3300 Caroline in Midtown.

It would be a collaboration between the city of Houston and Harris County, and while the county has voted to proceed with the project, the city council held off on voting Wednesday.

The issue of the facility's management became a topic of conversation among several council members who had strong reservations about proceeding with the project, despite their support for its mission.

If built, the facility would be managed by the non-profit NHP Foundation.

They have other apartments in Houston, such as Cleme Manor in Fifth Ward, and the council members who voiced their reservations about this project say NHP hasn't done a good job of making those properties livable for residents.

Councilwoman Letitia Plummer said they've heard reports of rodents, no air conditioning in the summer, and babies having to sleep in cars at other NHP properties.

She went as far as to say that residents on the street would be better off staying there.

"I understand that people who are homeless need housing. I get it," Plummer said. "But, if you see how these people are living, honestly, they're safer living on the street. It's unacceptable for us to continue to support these entities that do not have any respect for human beings."

Turner pushed to get this passed Wednesday because $18 million from the Texas General Land Office, by way of the federal government, would be used to build the 149 apartment building.

Ultimately, that money would have to be returned if not approved for this use.

The city council delayed the vote another week, saying they'll use the next seven days to talk with NHP and learn more about what can be done to ensure positive conditions for residents.

ABC13 has also reached out to the non-profit, but we have not heard back.

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