Proposed property tax increase would help debris removal, damage repairs

- Throughout the city of Houston, there are streets that are fine and then there are those that have obviously been flooded.

"We had about four feet of water in the front and six inches of water in the house," said Hersh Levitt.

Many residents experienced flooding from Harvey including Rob Casper, who bought his home in early 2017.

"We had about six inches or so throughout and then about a foot and a half in the living room," said Casper.

To help with debris removal, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will soon be asking for a 8.9 percent one-year emergency property tax increase at an upcoming city council meeting.

"I think it's fair," said Billy Chandler. "Somebody has to help the government pay for it."

"That is a lot to raise taxes, even if it's just for a short period of time," said Casper.

The proposed tax increase would cost someone who owns a home with an appraised value of $220,000 around $10 or less a month.

The increase will generate around $110 million dollars within a year, FOX 26 News has learned. In total, around 8.1 million cubic yards of debris will need to be removed, which will cost the City of Houston approximately $220 million dollars. FEMA and the State of Texas will reimburse around 90 percent of those expenses.

The money will also be used to pay for damaged or destroyed police, fire and city-operated vehicles, equipment, road and bridge repair, parks, libraries and city buildings.

"If it helps and if it's temporary, but the trouble is if it is temporary and they keep it permanent and that's what is scary," added Levitt.

Three public hearings will take place regarding the property tax increase, with the first at Houston City Council at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26. Council will vote on the item during the scheduled Oct. 18 meeting.

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