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Harris County Readying For Slow Growth Year

The county’s budget for fiscal 2018/19 is likely to be flat due to Harvey

The Harris County Commissioners Court is discussing its budget for fiscal year 2018.

Harris County's budget officer, Bill Jackson, proposed a $1.49 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins on March 1.

That's an increase of just 2.4 percent compared to the current year. Normally, the county grows its budget by about 5 percent to keep up with population growth every year, Jackson said.

The blame lies with Harvey, which damaged hundreds of thousands of properties and whose values are expected to have gone down after the Jan. 1 appraisal.

The county gets about 80 percent of its revenue from property taxes.

Jackson said no services will be cut but they may not be able to keep up with the tens of thousands of new residents Harris County is expected to gain this year.

He said the county will look for efficiencies and shift more officers from doing paperwork to patrol the streets, for example.

Jackson expects next year to be better, since many homes should be repaired by then.

Meanwhile, county commissioners are discussing when to hold a bond election to pay for future flood prevention projects.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said "it would be nice" to know how much the county will receive from the state and federal government, so commissioners can decide what amount they should ask voters to approve.

It's also not clear yet if that election would be held in May or November.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is the News 88.7 business reporter and also covers criminal justice, guns and shootings.Florian's stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of...

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