What’s On The Table in Harris County’s Flood Bond Mega Vote, Starting Tomorrow

WHAT’S ON THE TABLE IN HARRIS COUNTY’S FLOOD BOND MEGA VOTE, STARTING TOMORROW Included in the flood control bond package county residents are about to start voting on: $1.2 billion for channel improvements, $401 million for detention basins, $242 million for floodplain land purchases, $184 million (coupled with $500 million in outside funding) for 3,600 home buyouts, $12.5 million for new floodplain mapping, and $1.25 million for a better flood warning system — according to totals the Chronicle’s Zach Despart summed up from the master list of 237 individual projects. Not included: money for a third reservoir, although $750,000 is on the table to help the Army Corps study the possibility of one. Taken together, the $2.5 billion proposal‘s price tag is more than 20 times the Harris County Flood Control District’s annual budget of $120 million. Voting wraps up on Saturday, August 25, the anniversary of Harvey’s arrival in Houston. [Houston Chronicle ($); full list (PDF); previously on Swamplot] Photo of flooding at Creech Elementary School, 4242 S. Mason Rd., Katy:: Breta Gatlin

11 Comment

  • With the final rollout of the project list yesterday, I still feel that it has a “let’s write down everything we can spend money on – then figure it out later” method. The $2.5 billion amount is 20 times the current annual budget for the flood control district.
    In a way, they want us to approve their funding for the next 20 years right now with a big “trust us” label put on it. I’d rather they come back to us every 5 years or so. Short leashes make for accountability. I still plan to vote “No”.

  • Won’t be enough in the end. You can waste all the billions you like but if the lack of restraint on out of control, sprawl development continues, so will the massive flooding.

  • So do I Wolfie …. all one has to do is remember what HISD did with their $1B bond just a few years back. All that money seems to burn a hole in pockets.

  • Wolf Brand Chili. That is a very short sighted approach to flood mitigation.

  • Seems like a lot of properties could be bought out or raised above flood line for that amount.

  • What ye of little faith. What is the alternative right now? Do nothing and see what happens? The reality is that County Judge and HCFCD have been very forthright about the process. This is the starting point of a very long conversation on flood control and mitigation. I attended the Clear Creek watershed meeting and they took questions, listened, and added jobs to the list from those that know the area best: local folks.

    For every dollar harris County puts in the pot, the federal govt will match 3 dollars. That will go a long way to putting us in a good position.

    Regarding governance and the like. The fact is Harris County has a A rating from Moody’s, while the City of Houston wishes they had an A rating. There isn’t a better entity to give dollars to and use them correctly than Harris County.

    I encourage everyone to get informed and realize this is a converging solution to the answer, but we need to start somewhere.

  • Where’s the map? Twelve pages of projects but no map to find them. There’s “Icon”, “Map ID” and “Project Number” but no map. Useless without the map. Note; I am reading the “free trial” off the paid Chronicle site.
    But, this list is $2.5 billion worth of projects is useless without a map.

  • There is an interactive map on the HCFCD website, showing all the projects, that corresponds with the list linked above. I agree it’s difficult to comprehend the projects in a PDF’d Excel spreadsheet! https://www.hcfcd.org/bond-program/

  • Although HCFCD’s annual budget is not terribly impressive compared to this bond issue, it should be borne in mind that HCFCD manages or is a participant in projects that are externally funded, and many rival new freeway construction in their cost and scope — even though the general public is often minimally aware of them.
    I look at this and consider all of the huge bayou projects and related subsidence programs that have been undertaken in the past decade or so, I look at what did *not* flood during Harvey, I look at HCFCD’s list of projects that it had already wanted to do for a long time, and to me it seems that…eh, this bond is not small, but it also isn’t huge…and also HCFCD rightly deserves more funding. They’ve done a good job with the resources at their disposal. They need more resources.

  • The thing I like best about this is that the engineers and public officials asked the public for its opinion on projects and priorities. Every time I see my neighbors, I think, “Yes, that’s the guy I want to tell me how to fix the flooding problem! Yes, that’s him!”.
    This is nothing short of telling the public that their opinion matters to get $$$ for a slush fund. It’s much like Costello’s drainage fund, except now you, the public, get to tell us where to spend it!