Houston Mayor

Harris County Commissioners Say Economy Can Handle More Bond Debt

County voters will decide this November on bonds totaling $848 million.


Harris County Judge Ed Emmett thinks voters seem to be confused about what exactly a bond election is.

“They think bonds are borrowing money because you don’t have money,” Emmett says.

But Emmett says approving the $848 million proposal doesn’t mean the county is in bad financial shape. It would simply allow the county to get a head start on infrastructure projects that are needed now. That money will eventually be repaid through property taxes.

The four-part referendum includes bonds for roads, parks, flood control and an animal shelter.

Emmett says just because the bonds are approved doesn’t mean all that money has to be spent. If the economy slows down, the projects could be stopped.

Harris County Budget Officer Bill Jackson says over the next 10 years, the county is expected to clear $1.2 billion worth of debt.

“What we’re really asking the voters for in November is authorization to replace debt that we’ve already paid off,” Jackson says.

County commissioners also voted not to raise the property tax rate for the next fiscal year.

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