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Posts Tagged ‘bonds’

Another HCC lawsuit

Hard to keep track of them all. The former top attorney and acting chancellor of Houston Community College filed a lawsuit Monday alleging she was fired because she told the FBI of her suspicions that board members sought to use bond funds to award kickbacks. Renee Byas, ousted in August, said in the lawsuit that […]

Appeals court revives MBIA lawsuit against Sports Authority

Here we go again. A lawsuit against the agency that pays the debt on Houston’s sports stadiums is back on following an appeals court ruling. Last April, a state district court judge ruled that a bond insurer could not sue the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority or the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., saying they […]

Help HISD review its design plans

HISD would like your input in determining the designs for the schools to be built or rebuilt with the 2012 bond money. The Houston Independent School District is hosting another series of community meetings for the first 17 schools slated for construction in the 2012 bond program to give participants a chance to review designs […]

Maybe there’s a problem with building roads where there are no drivers

The high speed toll road keeps having problems relating to not having enough paying customers. SH 130 has not been the immediate success story its backers had hoped. Last week, lower-than-expected traffic revenue prompted credit ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service to severely downgrade the SH 130 Concession Company’s debt and warned that a default may […]

The New Dome Experience

Behold: If the future of the Astrodome has been keeping you up at night, you’ll rest easy knowing that a major step was taken in favor of preservation at a board meeting on Wednesday afternoon: The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (HCSCC) board unanimously agreed on a recommendation to repurpose the Houston landmark. Willie […]

MBIA appeals lawsuit dismissal

Here’s the brief that MBIA has filed with the First District Court of Appeals to overturn the dismissal of their lawsuit against the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation. The issues presented for review are pretty straightforward: 1. The Sports Authority was authorized to waive its purported governmental immunity […]

There’s no such thing as a free road

I have an issue with this. Texas’ boom of toll roads has made the “free” part of freeway mean something different lately. As toll lanes become the preferred choice for adding capacity to Texas roads, a growing number of state lawmakers and toll critics are looking for assurances that state-built freeways will stay open to […]

Tell us more about these HCC concerns

The Chron expresses some concerns about recent happenings with the HCC Board of Trustees. As many longtime Houston residents are well aware, HCC has too frequently been plagued by problems involving the approval of contracts to board members’ supporters and relatives. Our endorsement of the bond issue was conditioned on the assurance that such problems […]

The Sports Authority’s finances are back in the news

I still have no idea whether this is something we need to worry about or not. The firm that insures the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority’s $1 billion in bonds – sold to finance the homes of the Texans, Rockets and Astros – is calling on the cash-strapped authority to bolster its depleted reserves and warning […]

Three things in life are certain

Death, taxes, and Bruce Hotze filing a lawsuit every time he loses an election. A local anti-tax activist filed a lawsuit Thursday to block the city of Houston from borrowing $410 million to add, expand and repair parks, libraries, police and fire stations and other government buildings. Bruce Hotze’s suit says the bond measures, which […]

The Controller’s travels

This is me shaking my head. Houston controller Ron Green, the city’s top elected financial watchdog, has flown first class and frequented high-end hotels in New York and Chicago at taxpayer expense for more than two dozen publicly funded excursions, booking lodgings that cost as much as $460 per night and often exceeding maximum rates […]

Who doesn’t like parks?

The usual suspects – cranks, malcontents, and the Harris County GOP, that’s who. Proposition B on the Nov. 6 ballot asks you to pay for part of that plan, of course. Not with increased taxes, though, [Mayor Annise] Parker insists. The bond measure asks voters to authorize $166 million in borrowing that the city plans […]

Interview with Richard Schechter

The last bond referendum I’ll be discussing is the one that’s received the least attention so far, and that’s the HCC bond referendum. This isn’t terribly surprising, since HCC Trustee elections tend to be low-profile as well, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Indeed, given how much the HCC system has grown in […]

Interview with Mayor Annise Parker

It’s bonds and more bonds this week, as we discuss the remaining referenda on the ballot. First up is the city of Houston bond package, which by law will be broken out into five separate propositions for your approval. Proposition B, the one having to do with parks and recreation, is easily the highest profile […]

Making the case for the parks

Ed Wulfe advocates for the parks-related referendum on the ballot. Over the past several months, multiple organizations dedicated to Houston’s Bayou Greenway Initiative and a new organization, ParksByYou, have been uniting parks and bayou enthusiasts. Their work aims to mobilize all of us to vote “yes” for Proposition B on the ballot, a parks bond […]

Endorsement watch: HAR for the bonds

The Houston Association of Realtors has announced its endorsement of all of the referenda on the November ballot. The Houston Association of REALTORS® (HAR) board of directors has approved motions supporting the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO) General Mobility referendum and bond packages proposed by the City of Houston, Houston Independent School […]

What kind of debt is it?

Comptroller Susan Combs is real worried about city and county debt, y’all. Local governments are loading down Texas taxpayers with debt without providing them enough information about the amount already owed for roads, schools and other public projects, State Comptroller Susan Combs contends in a report released Wednesday. Titled “Your Money and Your Debt,” the […]

Favorable poll for HISD and other bonds

It’s a good start. Most Houston-area voters plan to support $2.7 billion worth of city, public school and community college bond packages on the November ballot, according to a new poll. The results defy conventional wisdom that a crowded ballot makes passage of multiple bond measures less likely because of sticker shock. “Voters are in […]

Once again on charter school facilities

David Dunn of the Texas Charter Schools Association writes another op-ed about funding for charter school facilities. The Texas Charter Schools Association has looked at the needs of public school students whose parents have chosen the option of public charter schools for them, and we know that these Houston students deserve the same consideration as […]

How many bonds are too many?

We may find out this November. Houston voters may face a dizzying array of decisions in November as the city, school district and community college system seek authority to borrow more than $2 billion for construction work. The multiple measures have the potential to transform the nation’s fourth-largest city with upgraded parks, libraries, grade schools […]

How big should those high schools be?

This is a question that HISD is asking itself as the Board of Trustees considers the $1.9 billion bond proposal, much of which is to be spent on high schools. A number of HISD high schools have had large drops in enrollment, but many of these schools also have badly outdated facilities and would be […]

The city’s bond package

And here’s Mayor Parker’s bond proposal for November. Mayor Annise Parker is unveiling a $410 million package of proposed bond measures for the November ballot that will not require a tax increase. She proposes five bond measures. The purposes and amounts: Public safety: $144 million Health, sanitation and general government: $63 million Affordable housing: $15 […]

How much would you pay for that high school?

Some cost more than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it. Supporters of Houston’s nationally recognized High School for the Performing and Visual Arts have lobbied for 15 years for a larger, more modern building. They could get their wish soon. But sticker shock over the $80.2 million price tag – for a […]

Don’t forget Texas’ debt

Now that Perry’s Prayerpalooza is behind us and we breathlessly await his Presidential decision, keep this op-ed by former State Rep. Jim Dunnam in mind whenever you hear Perry pontificate about the national debt. Before Rick Perry became governor, Texas was a pay-as-you-go state for roads, meaning we used current gas tax receipts to pay […]

Our debt is good, your debt is bad

Oh, the humanity! For all the controversy over the national debt ceiling, here’s a surprise: Since 2001, the debt load in conservative Texas has grown faster than the federal debt. Texas has been borrowing more than most other states, too. And local entities, from cities to school districts to transit authorities, have been piling up […]

Mayor talks Metro and money

The new Metro board was confirmed by City Council last week, they were sworn in yesterday, and while we don’t yet know exactly what direction they’re going to take, we know what their marching orders are. Mayor Annise Parker says she is willing to consider allowing the Metropolitan Transit Authority to retain funds that pay […]

The transition team report on Metro

In addition to naming new Metro board members, today was the day for Mayor Parker’s transition team to give its report on Metro. Here’s the Chron story about their report. I’m going to focus on one piece of it: [James] Moncur, a former deputy city controller and former Metro finance employee, said the attorney general’s […]

More on Metro’s finances

The Chron takes a closer look at Metro’s finances and the recently expressed doubts about their ability to pay for the University and Uptown lines. Mayor Annise Parker said last week that she wasn’t convinced the Metropolitan Transit Authority would have the money to build its planned Uptown and University rail lines. Parker said she […]

Parker expresses doubt about University and Uptown lines

This is not the sort of thing I want to see. Mayor Annise Parker cast doubt Wednesday on whether the Metropolitan Transit Authority has the money to pay for two planned light-rail lines that proponents say are critical to the success of the agency’s plans. Parker said members of her transition team have “drilled down” […]

The Sports Authority responds

J. Kent Friedman, the chairman of the board of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, contributes this op-ed to counter the idea that taxpayers may be on the hook for some of its obligations. • • Up to $4 million per year of Reliant Stadium parking revenue was pledged to back any shortfall in the Reliant Stadium […]

The hole the Sports Authority is in

Sure is a great time for stuff like this to happen, isn’t it? Harris County taxpayers may have to inject up to $7 million a year into the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority for the next two years due to a financial crisis sparked by the souring of bonds used to build Minute Maid Park, Reliant […]