Special election on Hurricane Harvey’s anniversary August 25 will decide bonds’ fate
Harris County voters will weigh in on $2.5 billion in emergency bonds proposed to reduce flood risks beginning August 8 when early voting begins.
Three weeks later on August 25 – one year to the day when Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas –the bonds’ destiny will be decided during a special election.
Harris County Commissioners are asking voters to approve borrowing up to $2.5 billion for underwriting numerous projects developed to reduce the Houston region’s flooding perils. While the lengthy list of proposed projects has not been finalized, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says investments will be made in all of the county’s 22 watersheds.
Upwards of $900 million may be used as matching funds to secure federal dollars.
If approved, the flood resiliency bonds issuance will cost the average homeowner $5 the first year and less than $5 a month over the next 15 years.
The project list is being sorted out as the Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) wraps up a series of community meetings held in each watershed. Residents can add their own flooding concerns and ideas by submitting comments here based on watersheds.
According to HCFCD, projects will be prioritized based on meeting its mission to “provide flood damage reduction projects that work, with appropriate regard for community and natural values.”
So far, flood resiliency projects (many have been on the drawing board for years) include floodway buyouts, bayou channel modifications, stormwater detention basins, wetland mitigation banks, relieving slit-clogged drainage channels and more. Upgrading the Harris County Flood Warning System is considered a priority.
Hurricane Harvey left behind an estimated $125 billion in damage – the second costliest cyclone in United States history after Hurricane Katrina.
More than 9,500 Energy Corridor residents were affected by the hurricane, which destroyed or damaged thousands of Energy Corridor homes and numerous businesses.
A complete list of proposed flood-resiliency projects can be seen here.