Harris County Flood Control District officials hosted a community engagement meeting for residents in the Willow Creek watershed on July 18 to gather public input on proposed projects for the county's bond referendum.
Harris County will ask voters to approve a $2.5 billion bond referendum Aug. 25 to fund projects for the Harris County Flood Control District through 2035.
The bond referendum includes $867.8 million for matching funds necessary to receive about $3.2 billion for projects, HCFCD Director of Operations Matt Zeve said. However, these numbers are subject to change, based on what grant and funding applications are approved for the HCFCD, he said.
Approval of the bond referendum and funding applications would increase the HCFCD's annual budget from $120 million to about $500 million for 15 years, Zeve said.
The final proposed project list was released Aug. 6 and includes more than $330 million for projects across the Greater Tomball area in the watersheds of Spring, Little Cypress and Willow creeks, according to HCFCD information. The list will not be officially submitted to commissioners court until the Aug. 14 meeting.
The bond package includes funds for purchasing flood-prone properties, restoring damaged infrastructure, improving drainage in subdivisions, constructing detention basins and improving channels. Funds are also allotted for countywide projects, such as upgrades to the Harris County Flood Warning System and flood plain maps.
If approved by voters, the average Harris County property owner could see about a $5 annual increase to the property taxes they pay to HCFCD beginning in 2020, county officials said. That figure could grow to about $50 more a year by 2035 for a home with a taxable value of $200,000. However, homeowners with a 65-or-older or disabled exemption and a $200,00 home would not pay any additional tax, officials said.
HCFCD held community meetings this summer in its 23 watersheds. Several dozen residents attended the Willow Creek meeting July 18.
“Our development has caught up with us. We’ve changed the environment, and now we’ve got to fix it,” said Paul Eschenfelder, a member of the Cypress Creek Association-Stop the Flooding organization who attended the Willow Creek meeting.
Early voting for the bond referendum begins Aug. 8, and Election Day is set for Aug. 25. Find early voting locations here.
Browse the locations of Tomball-area projects below.
Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.