DALLAS – Harris County will ask voters to approve flood control bonds on the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey’s arrival if Texas Gov. Greg Abbott approves the county’s request for a special election.

Commissioners for Harris County, which includes Houston, voted unanimously to seek Abbott’s permission for a special election Aug. 25 as an emergency measure.

A Texas National Guard soldier rescues a Houston-area woman amid flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
A Texas National Guard soldier rescues a Houston-area woman amid flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Texas National Guard / Zachary West

The size of the bond proposal is yet to be determined, but commissioners have been discussing amounts in excess of $1 billion.

Request for discussion and possible action regarding a letter to Governor Abbott requesting his determination that an emergency exists that warrants holding a special election for approval of bond issuance for the Flood Control District and to set the election for August 25, 2018. County officials expect attention paid to the anniversary of Hurricane Harvey will boost support for the bond issue.

At the Tuesday meeting Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis initially sought to push the vote to November because voter participation would be higher. However, Ellis agreed to the Aug. 25 date for unity’s sake.

"If it is one shot that we have, I just want to make sure we get it right," Ellis said.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said he would support a bond proposal as high as $2.5 billion.

The bonds could require a property tax increase for residents of the state’s most populous county. A $1 billion bond authorization with $100 million issued annually over a decade would mean a $5 tax hike for the average residential property owner in the first year, rising to $20 in the 10th year.

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