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County asks about exemption from drainage fee

Interesting.

County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez has asked County Attorney Vince Ryan for an opinion on whether the county has to pay the city of Houston’s new drainage fee.

Sanchez already has his own opinion.

“You’re getting a government, the city of Houston, starting to dip into multiple jurisdictions’ pots,” Sanchez said. “At some point, you just have to say you have to be responsible for your own operations and not look to other taxing entities.”

Sanchez is not an attorney, so he’s asking one. But his request for a legal opinion is premised on Mayor Annise Parker‘s statement of principles in October 2010 that the only properties exempt from the fee will be those required to be exempted by state law.

Among those properties exempted are state facilities.

So Sanchez asks Ryan in a memo:

Are Harris County improvements such as Reliant Center, the County Administration building, the Jury Assembly Room and other such facilities political subdivisions of the State of Texas; and therefore exempt from the drainage fee?

Nice to see ol’ Orlando in the news for something other than his reading habits. As for his query, if County Attorney Ryan gives him the ruling he’s seeking, then so be it. If not, then as far as I’m concerned the county should get no more consideration from City Council than school districts will. Everyone is affected by flooding, and everyone can pay their fair share to mitigate it.

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4 Comments

  1. GusF says:

    This will circle back when the city needs to outfall their improved systems into Harris County Flood Control Channels. Will the city request capacity from the Flood Control District for additional flows into the bayous? Seems like the county has the ultimate bargaining chip, and it also seems like all of this should allow from some way to arbitrate this, regardless of what the attorneys say.

  2. JJ says:

    I can’t imagine there isn’t an AG opinion on this. 10-12 other Texas cities have the same sort of fee. Houston didn’t just make this up. The other cities get fees from their County-owned properties, as I recall learning about via the City Council hearing process. This was all brought out at same time when churches, schools, etc. were discussed being covered (almost all of the 10-12 cities also cover them, with only one or two exceptions or a 50% discount). I can’t imagine the other 12 Counties don’t have someone as smart as Sanchez who raised this issue, what, 10 or 15 years ago when the first fees like this went into place. (That part I am making up; I don’t know when the first city put in a fee like this.)

    But I guess we will find out.

  3. Brad M. says:

    Orlando is so cute. Playing grown up. Precious.

  4. […] such as state buildings and public universities. Various entities like churches and schools and Harris County have asked for the city to exclude it from the fee, which would mean passing their costs onto […]

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