2018 Bond Program
2018 Bond Program FAQs
Q: How soon will the bond money be available?
A: Commissioners Court acted on October 23, 2018, to authorize up to $186 million in short-term financing to ensure a quick start for flood control bond projects following the successful $2.5 billion bond election in August. The funds became available October 26 and will be repaid with the proceeds of future bond sales.
Bonds will be offered for sale on the open public bond market by authorization of Harris County Commissioners Court. The bonds will not be sold all at once, but in increments over at least 10-15 years, as needed for the projects and multiple phases of each project. The actual timing of individual projects will depend on a variety of factors including needed environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation. Projects will be authorized individually for funding by Harris County Commissioners Court, based on recommendations by the Flood Control District.
Q: How will the Flood Control District prioritize which projects will be built first?
A: The Bond Program list represents projects that meet the goal of the bond election, which is both to assist with recovery after previous flooding events (including Harvey) and to make our county more resilient for the future. However, the estimated total cost of projects on the list exceeds $2.5 billion, and there must be some flexibility in maintaining this list as projects are defined, designed and constructed. Over the next several years, projects on the list could be altered based upon community input or design constraints, be removed, or new projects added, depending on future unknown conditions including right-of-way availability, changing environmental regulations and funding that may become available from other partners.
High on the priority list are construction-ready projects with federal funding partners (such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency) that give the County “the most bang for its flood control buck.”
Projects will be prioritized based upon a number of factors, including:
- Readiness for preliminary engineering, design or construction
- Availability and/or time-sensitive nature of partnership funding
- Clearly defined drainage issues and flood risk reduction benefits
- Benefits relative to the community’s population
Q: How can I find out more information about the Bond Program as it becomes available?
A: The goal is to have an open, transparent process, with the proposed list of projects as a starting place. Information about the status of Bond Program projects will be available in the future on this website. In addition, the Flood Control District is committed to having community engagement as part of each project.
Q: How can I participate in developing the bond program?
A: Now that the bonds have passed, opportunities for further community engagement will be available for each project. As part of the preliminary engineering process conducted near the beginning of each project’s development stage, and prior to a formal Preliminary Engineering Report being presented to Commissioners Court for approval, the Flood Control District will conduct a public meeting in a primary project watershed to solicit public comments about the project.
Please check the website for details of upcoming Community Engagement project meetings.
Q: How much will the bonds cost property taxpayers?
A: The full cost of the bond will be phased in over several years, and will not impact property tax bills all at once. The Flood Control District plans to use these bonds over a 10- to 15-year period, as project timelines allow. Based on what could be $2.5 billion in bonds and a likely borrowing schedule over approximately 15 years, the Harris County Budget Management Department estimates that the overall tax increase will be no more than 2-3 cents per $100 of home valuation – meaning that most homeowners will see an increase of no more than 1.4 percent in their overall property tax. A homeowner with an over-65 or disabled exemption and a home worth $200,000 or less would not pay any additional taxes for these bonds.
Q: Can the bond money be used for purposes other than flood risk reduction?
A: No. Under Texas law, bond funds in this election can only be used for the purpose approved by the voters. For example, bond funds will not be used to fund permanent staff positions at the Harris County Flood Control District, or for recreational amenities.
Q: May bond proceeds be used only for the specific projects as described on the Bond Program list?
A: No. Specific projects may be added to the list in the future or projects on the list could be modified based upon public input and other factors.