Houston city council discusses proposed tax increase to pay for Harvey recovery

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Houston Mayor Turner fielded questions Wednesday afternoon from his fellow council members about his proposed temporary property tax rate increase to cover part of the costs of the Hurricane Harvey recovery.

“What are our other options besides looking to Houstonians to just pay? I need a better understanding,” said Councilmember Karla Cisneros.

The city of Houston expects to be reimbursed for 80 to 90 percent of the costs, but the city will have to cover the rest of the expenses.

Turner says an 8.9 percent boost in the tax rate would raise $113 million to cover the cost of debris removal that isn’t covered by FEMA.

Here’s what it means:

The average home in Houston valued at $225,000 has an annual tax of $1,321 a year.

Under the mayor’s proposal, that would increase by $117.86, for one year.

“No one wants to pay taxes. I don't want to pay taxes. I got that. So it's very sensitive and often times what you end up doing, you end up proposing a tax rate that is less than what you need. Quite frankly, I will be candid that will be the case here as well,” Turner said.

Turner said the city of Houston will ask FEMA for an additional advance to help with the cost of debris removal.

The council voted to put the issue on the agenda so members can hammer out the dates for the three public hearings.

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