Harris County voters pass multi-billion dollar flood bond referendum 1 year after Hurricane Harvey

Miya Shay Image
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Harris County voters pass multi-billion dollar flood bond referendum 1 year after Hurricane Harvey
EMBED <>More Videos

Harris County voters pass multi-billion dollar flood bond referendum 1 year after Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A year after Hurricane Harvey devastated our region, numbers show the $2.5 billion Harris County Proposition A Flood Bond has passed.

Supporters of Proposition A filed into Jackson Street BBQ early Saturday evening to watch the results roll in. It didn't take long however. Around 7:02 p.m., just a minute or so after the polls closed, early vote numbers showed an 85 percent approval rating for the flood bond.

That number would hold well through the night.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, who had championed the bond, and the August special election date, was understandably pleased.

"When was the last time you saw 85 percent for anything?" he asked of the gathered crowd with a smile. "Now, the real test begins."

"A lot of politicians say this next November election is the most important election of our lives," said Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis. "But in my opinion, this election today is the most important of our lives, because we didn't vote for a person or party, we voted for each other. We voted to save our communities."

The $2.5 billion bond will come with federal matching dollars. Projects will be scattered throughout Harris county is watersheds, with an emphasis on Brays, White Oak, Greens, and other major bayous.

"The $2.5 billion in bonds are going to magnify the federal dollars and state dollars that are available once we as a community buy into trying to solve our flooding problem," said Ed Wolff, a realtor whose Meyerland home was flooded during Harvey.

Wolff and his wife decided to stay put, and spent more than $200,000 to raise their 1950s home. They, like many neighbors who are rebuilding after Harvey, hope the Brays Bayou watershed projects will finally finish with the passage of the bond.

"These are directed funds," said Wolff, who has a few pro-bond signs dotting his front yard. "They're for flood control and flood control only. They're going to affect all 23 watersheds."

Data provided by the Harris County Flood Control District say the proposed bond project would increase the average homeowner's property tax bill by $5 per year over the next 10 to 15 years. For the majority of seniors, there would be no increases.

A full list of the massive proposal was just released by the district a few days ago, and can be found at www.HCFCD.org.

"When I saw what they're going to do and how they're going to spend the money, I decided that yes, this is something I can support," said Manuel Barrera, who was among a steady stream of early voters once the polls opened.

Barrera is the president of the Braeburn Glen Civic Club, where many homes flooded during Harvey. Another civic club president, Phil Kunetka, also voted for the proposal.

In addition, several elected officials, including State Senator Paul Bettencourt, voiced opposition to the timing of the election, though not the actual bond.

Early voting for the bond ended Tuesday.

Follow Miya Shay on Facebook and Twitter.