Comment of the Day: Crossing a Line on Flood Control

COMMENT OF THE DAY: CROSSING A LINE ON FLOOD CONTROL Flooding Coastal Homes“You either pay for the fixes, or let residents continue to be subjected to higher insurance premiums, maintenance, and rebuild costs — slowly depriving the city of tax revenue. At some point, property values will appreciate to the point where making the fixes may have been the smart thing to do. Not saying it’s financially practical of course. What was the property damage total for the past 2 years of flooding, though?” [joel, commenting on Just How Much Flooding Is Too Much Flooding for Houston?] Illustration: Lulu

8 Comment

  • Tax revenue from mitigating flood risk? That would presume that HCAD appreciably discounts properties for flood risk, which does occur in some particular instances but not nearly often or deeply enough. By and large, they aren’t sophisticated enough that changes to any one single variable won’t get lost in the noise.

  • The scam is that the city is claiming it costs 26 billion to fix and throwing their hands in the air. The real cost is diverting money away from the patronage system which the city leaders view as the nuclear option. Better to let the city flood than not pay back the campaign donors.

  • I maintain it IS possible to move Houstonian’s homes up and out of flooding.
    Parts of Galveston took on that very simple but very laborious task after their 1900 hurricane.

  • Also, The Netherlands – there’s a huge motivation to maintain/preserve a whole nation…

  • To clarify, the loss of tax revenue is from increased consumer spending on housing and insurance costs leading to less discretionary spending in the local economy.

  • @ Joel: It may seem weird, but to the extent that building materials are purchased within a relevant local jurisdiction and are taxable, that presents an opportunity for the State and/or a municipality to capture short-term revenue. To the extent that repairs of a structure constitute a remodeling, actually that would positively affect the valuation of most properties for local tax assessment purposes.
    By contrast, someone with more discretionary income won’t necessarily spend or invest within the state or a relevant municipality. There is a highly substantial leakage. With exceptions for small entities like the City of Galveston (where any disaster substantially destroys the economic base and carries long-term ramifications) I suspect that the fiscal effect of sporadic flood events over a wide area is much more of a wash than might immediately be apparent. (Pardon the pun.)

  • The problem is vastly overblown. It’s the same few thousand houses that keep flooding over and over again. For the rest of the millions of people in the city, it’s a non-issue.

  • @Bernard: Nope. New houses are flooding each year. Houses that hadn’t had water for 50 or more years are starting to get water. It isn’t localized to one or two parts of town, but popping up along all of the bayous. You can say “just move away from the bayous”, but Houston is covered by them.