Once again hundreds of Houston families are waking up from the nightmare of floodwater rushing into their homes. They, and everyone else who suffered from flooding over the last four years, should be outraged that the City continues to spend only about half the drainage fees they pay each month on actually improving drainage.
Since voters approved the drainage fee in 2011, the City has been collecting about $110 million in new revenue that was supposed to be dedicated to solving our flooding problems. The City has now collected nearly $1 billion in drainage fees. And yet, we know from City records that no more than about half of that has actually been spent on drainage.
Flooding is the greatest challenge we now face as a City. It is taking an incredible toll on Houstonians and badly tarnishing our national image.
Every penny of the drainage fees should be spent on improving the City drainage infrastructure.
1. Any income derived from the drainage fees will be deposited directly into a segregated “Drainage Fee Account.” My administration will establish a web page on the City’s website which shows all deposits to and expenditures from the Drainage Fee Account.
2. No expenditure will be made from the Drainage Fee Account without City Council approval.
3. Any expenditure from the Drainage Fee Account submitted to City Council must be accompanied by a description, prepared by the Public Works Director, of how the expenditure will improve drainage, a quantification of the flood control benefit, and the area that will benefit.
4. Drainage Fees will not be used to pay the salary or any other compensation of any City employee or any administrative or overhead charge to the City.
This is the kind of common sense reform that give Houstonians the assurance that their drainage fees are being spent on draingage.