City Reassesses Drainage Fees for Houston

The City of Houston will lower the new drainage fee for property owners after citizens complained that the fees were higher than originally stated. As Laurie Johnson reports — Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the city will stand by its promise to charge a median fee of about five dollars per month.

“I’m here today offering this solution, because when I give my word I like to keep my word. I absolutely believe that when we say something we mean it and we’re going to stand behind it.” 

Mayor Parker announced the change to the fee structure after it came to light that the average fee would be about $8.25 instead of the originally calculated $5. Parker says she instructed the planning department to apply a 1,000 square foot credit to all property owners, which will bring the fee back down.

“With this change, the median bill will be between five and six dollars. But not everyone’s bill will be five dollars. This brings the median down, everyone’s individual bill will differ.”

The fee adjustment means the city won’t collect as much money as planned.

The fund is supposed to maintain a $125 million balance. Parker says the new rate will bring in about $110 million.

“My proposal is that we pre-pay from the Combined Utility System and the Airport System their next year’s payment into this calendar year.”

In exchange for pre-paying, those two systems will get a discount on their bill.

Parker says property owners should examine their bills that will arrive next month and make sure the city has correctly measured the amount of impervious cover on the property.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

More Information