From the Inbox:
The proposed FY2018-2019 City budget will, if adopted, continue to spend most of the drainage fees paid by Houstonians on things other than drainage. Any Council Member who votes for this budget is voting to continue to siphon off the drainage fees that Houstonians were promised would be spent to reduce flooding.
I wish I could simply lay out the facts about how the City diverts the drainage fees but the City intentionally obfuscates how the drainage fees are spent. So, this is going to require a deep dive.
In 2012, the City began collecting drainage fees pursuant to a Texas statue that authorizes cities to establish a “drainage utility.” That state statute requires that drainage fees be held in a segregated account. The City has never done this. Instead, it deposits the money into the Dedicated Drainage & Street Renewal Fund, more commonly referred to as Rebuild Houston.
The City uses two devices to obfuscate how the drainage fees are spent. First, they are commingled with other monies. The total income deposited in the Rebuild Houston fund has been running a little over $200 million. About half of that comes from drainage fees. The general mobility payments from Metro account for about a quarter of the money. The other big piece is a transfer from the General Funds which supposedly is equal to the amount that the City’s debt has declined because of the “pay-as-you-go” feature of Rebuild Houston. (More on this topic at a later date.) Of course, once these funds are all commingled it becomes much more difficult to sort out what money is being spent where.
I normally copy/paste Bill King’s posts to make it simpler for readers. But if Republicans and moderate Democrats in the City of Houston are going to have a fighting chance to beat Sylvester Turner in 2019 and start the process of rebuilding the city’s finances, they are going to have to coalesce around one leader. It is becoming clear that Bill King is the only person in the Houston political policy arena that is willing to challenge Sylvester Turner’s administration.
As such, I hope that you will click over to Bill King’s website, read this very important and well researched post about the skimming of drainage funds from the Sylvester Turner administration. While you are there, be sure and scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up to be on his mailing list. He is going to need your information if he is going to mount a true challenge to Sylvester Turner. And when you start receiving his emails, forward them to your friends and encourage them to sign up as well.
Not a paid political advertisement, just my frustrations at the Sylvester Turner administration’s shenanigans.