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Posts Tagged ‘Renew Houston’

District A runoff overview

It’s the same old story, just a little louder this time. Three years ago, when city voters narrowly approved what would become a controversial monthly drainage fee to fund $8 billion of street and flood projects in the next two decades, City Council District A stood out as an exception. While the charter amendment that […]

Complete Streets coming

This is good to see. Houston, long ruled by the automobile, will give more consideration to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in designing its streets and neighborhoods. Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday said she is drafting, with public works and planning officials, an executive order stating that the city will adhere to “complete streets” […]

Endorsement watch: Our first twofer

The Chron has two endorsements today, one that was easy and one that was likely more challenging. First, the easy one. In four years as an at-large city councilman, Stephen Costello has gradually become a “go to” guy on two major issues facing the city of Houston: drainage; and finance and pensions. Costello, a civil […]

Mayor Parker kicks off her campaign

It’s the time of the season for Mayor Parker, who has a serious challenger this time, but also a stronger hand to play. In her tenure, Parker has given teeth to the city’s historic preservation rules, broken a deadlock with Harris County to help build the Dynamo stadium, gave scandal-ridden Metro new leaders and revised […]

Revamped Chapter 42 ordinance finally passes

Strangely enough, in the end it was not very contentious. Houston City Council on Wednesday voted 14-3 to allow greater single-family home density outside Loop 610, while also strengthening the proposal’s already robust protections for neighborhoods concerned about unwelcome development. Council voted to drop the threshold of support needed to impose a minimum lot size […]

Developer impact fee approved by Council

I did not know that this hadn’t been done yet. Developers will join property owners in paying drainage fees following City Council’s approval Wednesday. The developer impact fee was included in the voter-approved 2010 city charter amendment now known as Rebuild Houston, but city officials said the unwieldy process of setting the fee under state […]

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 […]

City wins Renew/Rebuild Houston lawsuit appeal

Our story so far: After the Renew Houston proposition was passed in 2010, the usual suspects led by Paul Bettencourt filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the result on the grounds that they believed the voters were too stupid to know what they had just voted for. That lawsuit was dismissed on summary judgment in […]

State of the City 2012

It’s getting better. Saying Houston has “rounded the corner” on the recession, Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday credited City Hall with providing incentives that businesses used to create or retain 13,000 jobs and invest $1 billion locally during the tough economic times of her first term. Parker also told the sold-out crowd for her third […]

Reliant drainage deal?

Will wonders never cease? There may be a resolution to the spat over whether the county has to pay the city drainage fee imposed on Reliant Park – an annual bill of $353,000. Tuesday’s Commissioners Court agenda includes an item that authorizes the Public Infrastructure Department to negotiate with the city on the Reliant Park […]

CM Costello on fixing water leaks

CM Stephen Costello writes a letter in response to the Chron story about leaks in the city’s water pipes. The article “City lost millions to water leaks” (Page A1, Dec. 30) was a timely discussion of our aging water/sewer system. One question in the article jumped out: “We have to ask why we have so […]

Inauguration Day 2012

Tuesday was Inauguration Day for Mayor Annise Parker, City Controller Ronald Green, and all 16 members of Houston City Council. Annise D. Parker began her second term as mayor of Houston on Monday with a commitment to bring more jobs to the city and to tackle an ambitious to-do list that includes progress on public […]

Don’t draw broad conclusions from muddled evidence

I have a number of issues with the analysis presented in this Chron story about what happened in the runoffs and What It All Means. The results illustrate a continuation of a national trend of anger and frustration toward government during the worst economic stretch since the Great Depression, political observers said. In short: Voters […]

Runoff overview: District A

I don’t remember there being a Chron overview story for the District A regular election, but now that it’s in overtime we get an overview story about the race between CM Brenda Stardig and challenger Helen Brown. Better late than never, right? Just a few thoughts about the article. First, it’s a little silly to […]

County will seek legislation to evade drainage fee payment for Reliant

As expected. Harris County Commissioners Court today voted unanimously to instruct the County Attorney and the Legislative Relations office to work with the Texas Legislature to adjust current law to compel the City of Houston to collect and immediately remit to Harris County all city sales tax revenues collected at county venues like Reliant Park […]

More on the county going after city sales tax revenue

And on we go. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday will decide whether to seek legislation to capture city of Houston sales taxes generated at county facilities, including Reliant Park. Commissioner Steve Radack floated the idea at the court’s last meeting, spurred by the $353,000 annual bill the county will pay for Reliant under the […]

Drainage madness

I have three things to say about this. A year ago, Taxpayers for Financial Accountability campaigned against Houston’s Proposition 1, which called for a pay-as-you-go fund to shore up the city’s drainage infrastructure in part through a monthly fee on homes and businesses. They lost. The measure narrowly passed and the first bills went out […]

On cities and counties

I’m really getting tired of all this BS. Smarting from a $353,000 bill for the Reliant complex under the city of Houston’s new drainage fee, Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday discussed seeking legislation to let it keep city sales taxes generated at county facilities. [...] The idea of capturing city sales tax was floated […]

City wins again on Rebuild Houston lawsuit

As you know, shortly after the Renew Houston proposition passed last fall, the usual suspects led by Paul Bettencourt filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the result on the grounds that they believed the voters were too stupid to know what they had just voted for. That lawsuit was dismissed on summary judgment in May. […]

Those darned propositions

I have three things to say about this. Houston voters can be forgiven if they feel a bit confused. They voted down red-light cameras, but the cameras are on. They may have heard the mayor say that voting for a drainage fee would result in a typical $5 monthly bill that everyone should pay, but […]

Interview with CM Stephen Costello

We begin the 2011 election interview season with first term Council Member Stephen Costello, elected in 2009 in At Large #1. He had a mission in mind when he ran for office, and that was a plan to fund street and drainage improvements in Houston. That plan became Renew Houston, now known as Rebuild Houston, […]

New drainage fee structure announced

From the Mayor’s office. Mayor Annise Parker today instructed the director of the Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering to adjust drainage fees for every property owner required to pay the fee. The adjustment will be accomplished by reducing the amount of impervious surface used to calculate the fee for each property by 1,000 […]

Eight, not five

Mayor Parker says that initial estimates of how much the average homeowner would pay for the new drainage fee were understated. Mayor Annise Parker acknowledged Tuesday that her administration erred in telling voters that the average homeowner’s monthly Proposition 1 drainage fee would be $5. It is actually closer to $8.25, she said. Parker said […]

More on that Rebuild Houston push poll

Remember that push poll on Rebuild Houston? The results are out and they’re pretty much what you’d expect. A state district judge could decide this week whether to hold a trial on the validity of November’s election in which voters approved a new pay-as-you-go program for improving Houston’s drainage. Opponents say voters were misled about […]

Push poll on Rebuild Houston

I got a phone call Wednesday night from Baselice and Associates, doing a robopoll about Rebuild (formerly Renew) Houston. They asked the following: 1. If I voted last year, and if I voted for or against Prop 1, which they read in full. 2. They then asked if I would have voted for Prop 1 […]

The State of the City 2011

It’s getting a little better, but we’re still not close to being in good times. The city of Houston’s budget deficit for the coming fiscal year has been whittled to roughly $80 million from $130 million, Mayor Annise Parker said after her annual State of the City address on Friday. Parker, speaking at a Greater […]

Patrick’s blackmail bill goes to the House

The assault on the will of the voters takes another step forward. The Texas Senate voted 30-1 for Sen. Dan Patrick’s bill to broaden the exemption from Houston’s drainage fee to cover non-profit groups and expansion by churches and schools. The City Council on Wednesday agreed to exempt existing church and school facilities, and most […]

Drainage fee passes with exemptions

Council has passed the drainage fee ordinance required by Renew Rebuild Houston, with exemptions for existing church and school properties. The fee will apply to all future “impervious cover” at church and school buildings, such as roofs and parking lots. Council members C.O. Bradford, Mike Sullivan and Jarvis Johnson voted against the measure. “As we […]

Costello opposes exempting the churches

From the inbox: Houston City Council Member Stephen Costello asks the Mayor and Council to exempt only state-mandated property from the drainage fee. Costello, the At Large Position 1 Council Member, offered an amendment Wednesday to the Municipal Drainage Utility ordinance that would limit exemptions to those under the state’s Local Government Code Section 552.053. […]

“Nobody likes a sore winner”

Mayor Parker’s updated drainage fee proposal, which would allow for exemptions to schools and churches, was introduced to City Council amid a torrent of whining from the pro-exemption forces. Church and school leaders testified at a special council meeting that it still was not good enough. For one thing, critics said, the exemptions cover only […]

More on the drainage fee exemptions

Here’s the Chron story about the Mayor’s change in direction to exempt churches and schools from the new drainage fee. Under previous numbers published by the administration, exempting those institutions would raise the monthly fee on other property owners by about 7.6 percent. But on Friday, Parker said city officials had “refined our estimates” and […]

City caves on drainage fee for churches

From the inbox: Mayor Parker Announces New Rebuild Houston Funding Plan with Exemptions and Assistance for Low Income Mayor Annise Parker today announced that she will ask City Council next week to approve a new Rebuild Houston funding plan that includes exemptions for churches and schools. In addition to the exemptions, the City will set […]

The “Dan Patrick thinks you’re too stupid to know what you’re voting for” bill

Ugh. A bill that would remove churches and schools from the drainage fee Houston voters narrowly approved last November as part of Proposition 1 is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday before the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Dubbed Rebuild Houston, the measure amends the city charter to provide for the improvement and renewal of Houston’s […]

More drainage fee details

Things are moving right along on the implementation of Renew Rebuild Houston. Senior Parker administration officials Wednesday revealed the remaining elements of the plan, which would charge an owner of an average-sized Houston home between $5 and $5.31 monthly, depending on whether council decides to exempt churches, schools and other local governmental entities, such as […]