City Council Votes To Drain Houston’s Drainage Fund

CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO DRAIN HOUSTON’S DRAINAGE FUND Construction of Drainage Inlet Near Westridge and Linkwood Subdivisions, HoustonCity councilmembers voted 15 to 2 yesterday to pour out $31 million from the ReBuild Houston drainage fund Houston voters put into place in 2010 and use the money “to speed up projects and help resolve smaller neighborhood problems sought by their constituents,” according to Chronicle reporters Mike Morris and Kathryn Driessen. Separately, councilmembers approved an amendment to the measure that would help pay for a $1-million-per-district allocation that would let councilmembers themselves decide how to spend city funds in their own districts, by drawing $6 million from the city’s capital improvement funds. A portion of that money, Mayor Parker said, would likely end up coming from ReBuild Houston reserves — though there would be restrictions on how those funds could be used. The source of funds for the ReBuild Houston program is the monthly drainage fee paid to the city by property owners, which went into effect in 2011. Councilmember Stephen Costello, who championed the ReBuild Houston campaign and voted against yesterday’s measure, tells ABC13’s Miya Shay that passage of the amendment is “going to make my job a little harder as I’m talking to the community, about a lock box for Rebuild Houston.” Supporters of the changes claim they’ll help neighborhoods have a bigger say in what drainage and construction projects get funded. [Houston Chronicle ($); abc13; previously on Swamplot] Photo of drainage inlet installation near Westridge and Linkwood subdivisions: ReBuild Houston

19 Comment

  • The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • yep, this sounds like a really dumb idea and is going to turn off a lot of people that may have voted on this and would like to vote on funding future citywide projects. not like isn’t already hard enough to pass things through democratic votes, but things like this don’t make it any easier.

    feels kind of like voting for rail on westpark, doesn’t it.

  • Repeal, Repeal, REPEAL THIS BIGTIME !!!!!

  • HA-HA!
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    Sure.. that “drainage fee” is going to repair aging drainage infrastructure.. wink-wink-nudge-nudge.. not so much anymore hm? What a surprise!

  • Reason #2,471 why one should avoid paying any taxes at any cost.

  • Stupid voters should never have fallen for this. They promised to end all flooding in Houston forever, called it a “fee” instead of a “tax” – then steamrolled the lemmings with a public ad campaign, including cheesy TV commercials saying, “Are you against flooding? Then vote YES for Proposition 1.”

    There was no plan proposed. No requirements outlined for spending the funds. No time limits or accountabilities. No method for selecting or prioritizing projects.

    And they voted yes anyway. And here we are today…I’m paying $80/year more in property taxes for a slush fund for my already crooked councilman.

  • I don’t mind, as long as the streets get fixed.

  • shocking! Democrats raise taxes with a promise it will be kept separate and used for only 1 purpose. They then see that money sitting there and they can’t help but spend it on something else that will keep them in office.

    I can’t think of a worse idea than a $1,000,000 slush fund for a politician.

    Stop electing tax and spend liberals people!

  • Ugh – not surprised. Voters really need to read up on the propositions before voting (see Metro/rail – although that one was deliberately crafty). Many nonpartisan websites exist; I use the one prepared by the Houston League of Women Voters.
    .
    …I’m guessing that these funds are going to run off into a black hole somewhere.

  • I hope they enjoy their 31 million, I plan to call my council member tomorrow as well as the Mayors office –it’s a done deal, but this is very shady –just because we have a mayor system based on Chicaaaago doesn’t mean we need to become Chicago–how disappointing, but not all together surprising.

  • And people like GlenW are EXACTLY why this type of behavior persist…

  • this is exactly how the Nigerian gov’t distributes tax money…

  • It is ironic that I was just thinking about how much was in the Drainage Fund since they’ve been quietly been hoovering our collective wallets for a few years now. I guess seeing the balance hit $31 million was too big of a temptation for City Council to touch.
    .
    Sure, each district will get $1 million to play with but I doubt that the best value will be secured since everyone knows that we only vote for the best and the brightest City Council members. (sarcasm)
    .
    I’d love to see a recall petition on the Drainage Fee launched – and I’d gladly sign one.

  • Not surprising. Houston’s infrastructure, aside from freeways, is pretty terrible compared to its peers. We certainly need a more transparency when it comes to issues like this, but the bigger issue is the libertarian aka being cheap philosophy in this city when it comes to building streets, drainage, and sidewalks. Or God-forbid any sort of planning.

    Living in Austin makes me sad how Houston continually waste opportunities to build something nice for itself.

  • This really pisses me off. How come I don’t hear about it on the morning news inbetween the shootings?

    Why does no one seem to care?

  • This is exactly why people distrust their government. I hope to God, Parker actually does put some teeth into what the Council can do with this money. I find it hard to believe that we will not see this money squandered on things such as a parklet or a basketball hoop, etc..or a commemorative statue to Jaclyn Smith etc…..Why couldn’t they carve out the money from all of their employee paid parking funds or discontinue funding street parades and festivals for a year or heaven forbid, do an across the board budget cut by department to shore up the streets? disgusting. And I would like to know which Councilperson came up with this or was it the Mayor?

  • And you know who one of the architects of Prop 1 was? Jeff Ross, who since making his millions on that has taken an interest in gardening with the Mayor’s support. Kinda funny how that works. But no, let’s ignore that and give him 150+ prime acres to play with on his next pet project.
    http://www.texaswatchdog.org/2010/10/renew-houston-leaders-backing-drainage-fee-made-millions/1288296270.story
    http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2011/05/sullivan-wary-of-engineer-on-prop-1-board/

  • wait, are you saying that a special tax, which is to go in a ‘lock box’ to pay for a SPECIFIC ITEM, is going to go into what’s basically the general fund.
    .
    THAT.IS.A.SHOCK!
    .
    (not really)

  • I wonder what impact this move made on Houston’s drainage in light of the recent floods.