Pearland City Manager Clay Pearson fired; Mayor says $1.3 billion budget miscalculation was the final mistake

PEARLAND, Texas – Pearland Mayor Kevin Cole says several issues led to them firing former City Manager Clay Pearson, but a $1.3 billion budget miscalculation was the final mistake.

In January, KPRC 2 investigates first spoke to Pearland resident Jimmy Davis about unusually high water bills in the city.

“Disappointed, used, frustrated,” Davis said.

At a Monday night city council meeting, he spoke about the major miscalculation in the budget.

“It’s a leadership failure, but we seem to have that every time we turn around,” he said.

Davis is talking about a $1.3 billion tax rate miscalculation. It led to the city council unanimously voting to part ways with city manager Clay Pearson.

“There’s been several issues over the last several years, one leading to the other,” Cole said.

Cole says part of the problem is that the worksheet they used was incorrect.

“Harris County Appraisal District said, ‘Wait a minute.’ Because this was not certified in an estimate, it should have been zero placed in the worksheet,” he showed.

Instead, the mayor says $1.3 billion was used as the estimate and added to the $1.6 billion estimate.

He says the mistake won’t change residents’ tax rates but it does mean the city will receive $10.3 million less in tax revenues.

“Our financial advisor, I asked that direct question on Monday night,” Mayor Cole said. “This is a hit [that I] can absorb. He said, ‘Yes sir, but we probably couldn’t do it twice.y”

The city says they plan to hire an independent auditor to further investigate the situation.

KPRC 2 reached out to Pearson for comment but did not hear back.

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