On Aug. 25, the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Harris County residents will decide whether they will fund this and about 150 other flood mitigation projects in the county through a property tax increase.
But first, residents are being asked to weigh in on projects near them.
“We must take steps now to make our county more resilient," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said in a release. "Now is our chance to work together to protect each other proactively."
To gather this feedback, the county is holding 23 community meetings in June and July, with one meeting in each watershed.
The meeting for the Clear Creek watershed, which includes parts of Pearland and Friendswood, is set for 6 p.m. July 17 at El Franco Lee Community Center, 9500 Hall Road, Houston.
Emmett said the county hopes to have a final list of projects to share with the public by Aug. 1. Early voting will begin on Aug. 8.
According to the county, most homeowners will experience a 1.4 percent or smaller increase to the property taxes to the Harris County Flood Control District if voters approve the referendum. Harris County residents currently pay about 3 cents per $100 valuation to flood district annually.
While the Clear Creek Federal Flood Damage Reduction Project will ultimately need on the order of $150 million in federal funds, the flood district says it wants to be prepared to move forward.
"Federal funding is expected, but never guaranteed," said Karen Hastings, a project communications manager with the flood control district. "The bond money would make sure we had the local funding to get started on the project, which would then allow us to seek federal reimbursement for the portions of the project that are completed."
As Community Impact Newspaper reported in March, federal funding could come with new disaster relief funds, but so far no funds have been specifically authorized for Clear Creek. Additional local funding may also need to come from other jurisdictions in the Clear Creek Watershed outside Harris County.
Potential Clear Creek projects
About 150 projects were on the initial list, which could change based on community feedback. Funding will also be used to perform studies and to match other funding provided by federal sources.
Harris County has identified 10 projects in the Clear Creek watershed that could be funded by the bond program. Here are some of the big-ticket items being proposed.
- $70 million: Local match funds for the $200 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Clear Creek Federal Flood Risk Management Project, which has been in the works since 1968.
- $9.7 million: Matching funds to support federal grant buyouts of 170 buildings in the watershed
- $7.4 million: Design and construction of a detention basin off Dagg Road near Brookside Village
- $6 million: Design and construction of detention basin off Hughes Road near Friendswood
- $3.9 million: Local match for a $15.9 million addition to the South Belt stormwater detention basins and to make improvements along Halls Road Ditch
View a full list of the current project list on the flood control district's bond webpage, www.hcfcd.org/bondprogram.