Houston mayor says he'll ask for smaller tax increase

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask for a tax rate that is 60 percent lower than his initial proposal, he announced Wednesday.

The mayor had asked for an increase of about 9 percent to raise $110 million. That money was to be used for emergency purposes, the mayor said.

At Wednesday's regular council meeting, the mayor said he'd ask for roughly $50 million instead, because FEMA reimbursement rates were higher than first expected.

The drop would bring the increase down to about $4 a month for an average house of $225,000, the mayor's communication director Alan Bernstein said.

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Houston City Council member Larry Green and Mayor Sylvester Turner engaged in heated discussion.

There is still about 8 million cubic yards of debris left on Houston streets, Turner said. It will take at least another three months to complete that cleanup.

Finding contractors to do the cleanup is tough with Hurricane Irma making landfall in Florida so close to Harvey, Turner said. Contractors are able to find higher-paying work there.

FEMA increased Houston's rate for cleanup to $11.69 a cubic yard, up from $7.69 to help attract crews.

The newer adjusted tax rate was still being worked on, Bernstein said.

Public hearings are planned for Monday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 2 at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 9 a.m.

RELATED: Residents not thrilled about mayor's proposed property tax hike

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