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Stop the Flooding in Harris County Texas

Beginning today and continuing until Aug. 25, voters will have a chance to decide what I believe is
the most important local election in my lifetime – the Harris County Flood Control District’s $2.5
billion bond proposal for hundreds of flood mitigation projects across the county.

In an effort to inform and engage the community in developing the bond proposal, the Flood Control
District hosted 23 community meetings – at least one in each county watershed – in June, July and
August. In addition, county officials, including the four county commissioners and myself, have
participated in numerous neighborhood association and civic group meetings. Community members were
encouraged to review projects that could be undertaken with bond funding, to ask questions, and to
suggest additional projects that could reduce flooding risks in their neighborhoods.

Nearly 4,000 residents attended these meetings. This process resulted in a list of 237 proposed
projects that will be presented to Harris County Commissioners Court on Aug. 14. Of those projects,
38 were added as a result of the community engagement process, which also resulted in more than
2,400 comments and suggestions from the public.

The Bond Program list, which can be viewed at 1130.pdf represents projects that
would meet the bond election’s stated goal of assisting with recovery from previous floods and
making our county more resilient to future events.

The list includes projects to improve bayou and channel conveyance of storm water, to build storm
water detention basins, to preserve the floodplain, and to buy out flood-prone homes. Importantly,
bond funds would be used to provide the local match needed to attract larger amounts of federal
money for flood risk reduction projects, and to partner with Harris County and other entities to
improve subdivision drainage. Bond proceeds also would provide for local-only projects in areas
that may not meet federal cost-benefit requirements, but are needed and would help the most people.

Progress has a cost, of course, and there likely would be a property tax increase accompanying the
issuance of the flood bonds. The Flood Control District intends to use the bonds over a 10-15 year
period. Based on a likely borrowing schedule over approximately 15 years, the Harris County Budget
Management Department estimates that the overall tax increase would be no more than 2-3 cents per
$100 of assessed home valuation – meaning that most homeowners would see an increase of no more
than 1.4 percent in their property tax. Because of county property tax exemptions, homeowners with
an over-65 or disabled homestead exemption on a home assessed at $200,000 or less would pay NO
additional taxes for these bonds.

I hope that you will take the time to vote on this extremely important issue. If you need further
information, the Flood Control District website is an excellent source of information. The address
Thank you very much,
Ed Emmett
Harris County Judge

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