Flood control proposal could be on May ballot

Is not over, not by by a long shot for Monroe Ashworth. His Memorial-area home got almost five feet of water in it during Harvey. It's still a shell of its former self. Like so many of his neighbors and indeed people in the greater Houston area, he wants something, anything done to prevent a repeat.

"We went through three 500 year floods in a year and a half. Something has to be done. I don't know if it should be done at the federal or local level," Ashworth said.

But what? The county has several ideas including a third reservoir. The question is how to pay for them. The county has no idea how much federal money will come in or when. That means they are trying to hit a moving target.

"The commissioners court could make a clear decision. We've got this many things we need to finish and this is what it would cost. Whether the federal government does that? Who knows," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

He's estimating the county would need between one and two billion dollars, money local taxpayers will have to raise and soon.

"I think the public is going to demand we have a bond election and this is when it's going to be," said Emmett.

He says in order to get it on the May ballot they'll have to have a proposal by mid-February. Then  we will see what flood weary voters like Ashworth will have to say.

"I don't like more taxes, but we've got to do something," Ashworth said.

That raises another series of concerns for the county, how to propose it? Aim for a high or low turnout vote? Put it on a ballot alone or with several other issues? All details yet to be worked out.