HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - "Setting our tax rate and establishing a budget are some of the most important things we'll do this year and that we do each year," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
You can expect some disagreement Tuesday between Hidalgo and the two Republican commissioners while they try to hammer out a new budget.
The county has grown by a quarter of a million people in the last three years. The tax rates during that time were the lowest since 1993, according to Hidalgo.
She says $1.4 billion of the proposed budget, 64% of the county's total revenue will go for safety and justice. A 23% increase Hidalgo says. $96.7 million will go for the sheriff and constable offices.
"This includes funding for at least 35 new violent crime investigators, 100 new detention officers, and 22 new prosecutors for the District Attorney's Office," Hidalgo said.
Even with a proposed budget of $137 million for flood control and $2.8 billion for the Harris County Hospital District, Hidalgo says taxes won't go up.
"Our proposed budget would decrease the tax rate. For homeowners, the combined tax rate for Harris County Flood Control District and the hospital district is a one percent tax decrease compared to last year," she said. "And it's the lowest combined tax rate in over 30 years."
Hidalgo paints a gloomy picture if the proposed budget fails to pass.
"The county would have to consider hiring and spending freezes across all departments," she said.
"For the sheriff, this could mean a $76 million overall budget cut, including 10.6% cuts for patrol, roughly the equivalent of 290 deputies."