A bill filed Monday in Austin would mandate that more than half of the folks running each of Houston’s often opaque but increasingly well-heeled tax increment reinvestment zones be elected for 2-year terms by nearby residents of the zones, as opposed to the current system of city council appointments. The bill, proposed by west Houston rep Dwayne Bohac, employs the same handy Houston-targeting filter trick as that other recently filed state bill calling for a vote on what Harris County wants to do to the Astrodome: the bill’s language pinpoints only cities with a population of more than 2 million (of which Texas has exactly 1). If the measure makes it through all the necessary committees and passes, elections for board members would need to be held in 2018.
The bill would increase the number of board members up to at least 11, and require that the elected members either live or own property within 2 miles of the TIRZ boundaries (or be employees of someone who does). It would also save a seat each for the state representative and senator with the biggest district overlap in the TIRZ (or an appointee of their choice), as well as one to be filled by the city. Bohac’s own District 138 includes areas near Memorial City Mall; some residents of that part of town sued the city last year over area flooding allegedly exacerbated by TIRZ 17 (initially created to boost area drainage projects). The same group — going by the name Residents Against Flooding — butted heads with the city over TIRZ boardmember appointments not long before that suit was filed.
- HB 4046 [Texas Legislature Online]
- Previously on Swamplot: The 82 Square Miles of TIRZs Sponging Up Some of That Revenue Cap Spillover; Lawsuit: No More Private Projects for TIRZ 17 Until All the Flooding Is Fixed; Popularizing TIRZwatching as a Houston Pastime
Map of Houston TIRZs: City of Houston GIS Open Data