This article is over 9 years old


What’s The Financial State Of Harris County?

Overall commissioners hear good news, but there are areas of concern.



To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>


In a report issued by the Harris County Budget Management Department, the strong local economy and expanding tax base have provided resources to help meet the increased demand for services and infrastructure throughout the county.

“The overall health I mean, you just go outside and you can see it,” said Harris County Budget Director Bill Jackson. There’s so many cranes in the sky and there’s so much building going on.”

He says the influx of new residents means they have to invest heavily in simple things like new roads to keep up with that residential growth.

“We need to jump on that and keep ahead of it, and there’s a cost to that. We’ve been trying to pay as you go as much as you know, cash,” said Jackson. “But there comes a point when 80,000 people are moving to the region, and that’s just Harris County, that’s not even Fort Bend and the other places, that we’re going to have to come up with a good plan.”

Harris County Judge Emmett liked what he heard from the budget director, but says like any major metropolitan area, there are challenges.

“We are more and more having to take over projects in unincorporated areas that for one reason or another, the city of Houston hasn’t annexed,” said Emmett. “And as the infrastructure wears out in those subdivisions, then it falls on the county and the municipal utility districts to have to deal with them. So, we are looking down the road at roads and parks and libraries, and all the things that a major urban area has.”

Emmett says one area of concern is providing health insurance for county workers.

“Particularly when you look at, and I can say it because I’m 65. When people are 65 and over, they soak up a lot more of the resources from that health insurance,” said Emmett. “So we need to look at everything we do and how we provide health insurance to the employees, so that we don’t find ourselves in a fiscal box down the road.”