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Harris County Tax Hike Blocked By GOP Commissioners, Turner Discusses Why He Wants To Be Re-Elected As Mayor, And Reimagining Shelters For Houston’s Homeless

These are some of the stories Houston Public Media is covering.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Top afternoon stories:

GOP commissioners Steve Radack and Jack Cagle were absent from Tuesday’s meeting, blocking the approval of the proposed property tax rate increase for Harris County.

Harris County Tax Hike Blocked By GOP Commissioners

Steve Radack and Jack Cagle, the two Republican members of the Harris County Commissioners Court, blocked the approval of the largest property tax rate increase in a generation by being absent from the court’s meeting Tuesday. 

The court is made up of five members; the other three are Democrats who are in favor of the tax rate increase.

Texas law requires that at least four of the five court members be present in order to vote on a tax increase, as News 88.7 reported on Oct. 7. Since Cagle and Radack were not present when the tax increase item came up, there was no quorum and no vote. 

The proposed tax increase would have raised Harris County’s property tax rate to 65.26 cents per $100 assessed valuation, up from the current rate of 62.998 cents per $100 assessed valuation.

Since there was no vote, the property tax rate will decrease to the effective tax rate of 61.17 cents per $100 assessed valuation, according to the Harris County Budget Office.

Houston Matters Craig Cohen (left) interviews Sylvester Turner as part of a series of interviews with mayoral candidates.

Turner Discusses Why He Wants To Be Re-Elected As Mayor

As part of a series of interview with Houston mayoral candidates, Sylvester Turner visited Houston Matters Tuesday to discuss his campaign and why he wants to be re-elected as mayor of the fourth largest city in the United States.

“There are a lot of things that we accomplished in the first term, but then there’s still a lot of things that have yet to be accomplished,” Turner told host Craig Cohen

One of those tasks yet to be accomplished is completing the long recovery process after Harvey. After shorter-term issues like debris removal were addressed, Turner said the focus has now shifted to the more tedious and lengthy task of repairing people’s homes and working on infrastructure to prevent future flooding.

Turner also discussed the city’s pothole repair program, homelessness and his relationship with the firefighters union, among other issues. You can listen to the full segment by clicking here.

This April 21, 2017, file photo shows tents at a homeless encampment at the intersection of Highway 59 and Caroline Street, in downtown Houston.

Reimagining Shelters For Houston’s Homeless

This weekend (Oct. 11-12), architects and designers are convening for a two-day brainstorming session. Their goal: to come up with a design for alternative shelters for those living in the city’s homeless encampments.

They want to come up with a concept for a structure that is more structurally sound than tents but adaptable enough to be moved and reused wherever the need arises across the city.

The shelters could also be used to house those displaced by natural disasters.

Groups, organizations and individuals are invited to attend the event, which is being organized by the local chapter of The American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Steel Construction.

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