“It’s important to note [in] the world we live in right now, there are a lot of people who see bond and think, ‘Oh, this is a terrible thing. It’s more debt,’” County Judge Ed Emmett said. “When you consider Harris County has more people than 24 states, a bond of this magnitude really isn’t that big. When you realize the fast growth that’s going on in the county and the necessity to go out and actually do these things in anticipation of further growth, the bond just allows us to do that.”
If approved by voters Nov. 3, the bond would provide $700 million for road improvements across all four precincts, including $60 million for road improvements in aging subdivisions, such as those along FM 1960 that are not located within the city of Houston, Emmett said.
“The commissioners are finally going to be able to get a handle on some of these subdivision streets we’ve inherited over the years because the city hasn’t been annexing as anticipated,” Emmett said. “Somebody has to step up and do that, and the county is going to do that.”
“When you consider Harris County has more people than 24 states, a bond of this magnitude really isn’t that big. When you realize the fast growth that’s going on in the county and the necessity to go out and actually do these things in anticipation of further growth, the bond just allows us to do that.”
- Ed Emmett, Harris County judge
Although specific road projects for Harris County bonds are not typically identified prior to the passage of the bond, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle said there a number of road improvements within his precinct that could be funded through bond money, such as the expansion of Gosling Road and improvements to Telge Road and N. Eldridge Parkway.
Cagle and Emmett said the bond will have no effect on the county’s property tax rate.
“This number was the right number because it’s the right number that stays within our existing means,” Cagle said. “We do not have to go out and raise taxes in order to pay for this bond. We can pay for it within our internal structure that we currently have in place.”
The bond package also includes $60 million for parks, $64 million to Harris County Flood Control and $24 million for a veterinary and public health center, county officials said. The recommended bond package included $24 million for parks, but commissioners unanimously approved to increase the number to $60 million, which would be distributed evenly among all four precincts.
Cagle said the $15 million within his precinct could help Precinct 4 address the need for recreational space within a region that has added 200,000 people in the last three years. He said the funds also allow the county to construct trails and improve flooding mitigation across the precinct.
“By having these additional funds, it will allow us to continue in these processes to where the one dollar gets three bangs as opposed to just one bang,” Cagle said.
Commissioners Court agreed to review the language of the bond to be placed on the Nov. 3 ballot at its next meeting Aug. 11. The deadline for items to be placed on the ballot is Aug. 24, county officials said.