Harris County bond proposal gets the OK

June 12th, 2018

Harris County Commissioners Court voted June 12 to place a $2.5 billion bond proposal on the Aug. 25 ballot, asking voters to finance a 10- to 15-year program of flood mitigation projects that include drainage improvements, upgraded warning systems, infrastructure repairs, home buyouts, and construction of more detention basins.

County Judge Ed Emmett said the goal of the bond issue is to speed up a host of projects that ultimately will provide greater protection for county residents and their property.

“After a series of catastrophic floods in recent years, Harris County residents rightly expect major improvements in the way we protect our homes and residents from disaster,” Emmett said. “We must take steps now to make our county more resilient. We all saw the way that Texans helped Texans during the Memorial Day floods of 2015, the Tax Day floods of 2016 and Hurricane Harvey last year. Now is our chance to work together to protect each other proactively.”

The county’s Budget Management Department has estimated that, if passed, the bond issue would result in an overall tax rate increase of 2-3 cents per $100 assessed valuation – meaning that most homeowners would see an increase of no more than 1.4 percent in their property tax after all bonds were sold. (Homeowners with an over-65 or disabled exemption and a home assessed at $200,000 or less would pay no additional taxes.)

The Harris County Flood Control District has begun planning and scheduling a series of 23 “community engagement” meetings — one in each county watershed — to present proposed projects and to solicit public input on other potential flooding solutions in each area. The proposed project list, information about community engagement meetings and an online comment form are all available on the “Bond Program” website at www.hcfcd.org/bondprogram.

Harris County again OKs large tax exemptions for homeowners, seniors and the disabled

June 17th, 2017

Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously has approved a set of property tax exemptions that will virtually eliminate county property tax bills for thousands of older or disabled homeowners here and greatly reduce tax bills for nearly everyone else.

Court members approved an annual extension of the 20 percent exemption for all Harris County homesteads, as well as the $160,000 exemption for homesteads belonging to disabled owners or those 65 years of age or older. When combined, those exemptions guarantee that disabled and senior homeowners pay no Harris County taxes on homesteads assessed at $200,000 or less and greatly discounted tax bills on more expensive homes.

The court’s decision again places Harris County among the state’s most generous counties in granting property tax exemptions, especially those for seniors and disabled homeowners. No other surrounding county offers a senior or disabled exemption higher than $100,000, with most at or around $25,000.

Harris County first approved its $160,000 exemption in 2008, the year after Commissioners Court also approved the county’s largest-ever property tax rate cut.

“Increases in property value have us all concerned and talking about property tax bills,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “But Harris County goes much further than other counties in Texas when it comes to protecting homeowners – especially older and disabled homeowners – from ballooning tax bills.”

The exemption applies to taxes levied by Harris County, the Harris County Hospital District, Harris County Flood Control District and Port of Houston Authority tax bills.

Commissioners Court preserves Astrodome

September 27th, 2016

Court Members Unanimously Approve $105 Million Plan To Raise Floor, Add Parking and Save Iconic Structure

Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Monday to preserve and revitalize one of the most famous buildings in the United States, agreeing on a $105 million plan to raise the Astrodome floor, provide two levels of underground parking and convert the building’s 550,000 square feet into useable public space.

Court members unanimously authorized the Office of the County Engineer to spend $10.5 million on the plan’s initial engineering and architectural phase.

The vote was a landmark step in preserving the Astrodome, the first ever indoor baseball stadium and home to some of the nation’s most memorable sports and entertainment events. The next step will be to present the plan to the Texas Historical Commission, which must approve any substantive alterations to the 51-year-old county-owned structure.

Under the plan approved, the county will spend $105 million to raise the Astrodome floor 30 feet to ground level and install 1,400 underground parking spaces. Numerous studies and recommendations have shown that elevating the floor to ground level vastly improves accessibility and the ability to redevelop and use the Dome’s interior, and the increased parking will generate more revenue for that redevelopment.

The county will spend a maximum of $35 million from the general fund on the development. The remaining $70 million will come from hotel occupancy tax and parking revenue. The taxpayers’ share may be lowered even further through tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) and lease revenue, as well as historical tax credits – meaning their cost to save the Astrodome would be even less than the $35 million estimated demolition cost.

“The Astrodome’s days of sitting idle and abandoned are over,” said County Judge Ed Emmett. “Instead, Harris County’s most recognized building will again be proud and useful – as host to thousands of area residents attending a variety of business and community events. Hundreds of people worked very hard to see that happen, and I’m proud that this day has finally arrived.

Commissioners Court approves homestead exemptions for homeowners

June 17th, 2016

indexTax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan expressed his thanks to Harris County Commissioners Court for approving and adopting the property tax homestead exemptions.

“Each year, Harris County approves and adopts the homestead and Over-65/Disabled property tax exemptions,” said Sullivan. “This significantly reduces the tax burden for homeowners who qualify for these exemptions.”

Harris County Commissioners Court approved the orders for exemption from ad valorem taxation for tax year 2016 for the County, Flood Control District and Harris Health System (formerly known as Harris County Hospital District), in the following amounts of the appraised value of residence homesteads:

  • $5,000 or 20% of the appraised value, whichever is greater of an adult’s residence homestead;
  • $160,000 of the appraised value of the residence homestead of an individual who is disabled; or,
  • $160,000 of the appraised value of the residence homestead of an individual who is 65 or older.

Property owners are encouraged to contact the Harris County Appraisal District at www.hcad.org or call 713-957-7800 to apply for exemptions.

“Exemptions are the easiest way to reduce your tax bill. With tens of thousands of people moving to our region each year, I want to ensure they have the proper exemptions,” said Sullivan.

Residents can visit www.hctax.net to learn more about exemptions, tax deferrals and other ways to save money on their bill. If a resident has questions, they can contact our office by calling 713-274-8000 or emailing tax.office@hctx.net.

The Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office Property Tax Division maintains approximately 1.5 million tax accounts and collects property taxes for 71 taxing entities including Harris County. The Tax Assessor-Collector’s office collects more than $5 billion in property taxes each year.

Harris County Commissioners Approves Homestead Exemptions for Homeowners

May 26th, 2016

MikeXSullivanTax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan has sent thanks to Harris County Commissioners Court for approving and adopting the property tax homestead exemptions.

“Each year, Harris County approves and adopts the homestead and Over-65/Disabled property tax exemptions,” Sullivan said. “This significantly reduces the tax burden for homeowners who qualify for these exemptions.”

Harris County Commissioners Court approved the orders for exemption from ad valorem taxation for tax year 2016 for the County, Flood Control District and Harris Health System (formerly known as Harris County Hospital District), in the following amounts of the appraised value of residence homesteads:

  • $5,000 or 20 precent of the appraised value, whichever is greater of an adult’s residence homestead;
  • $160,000 of the appraised value of the residence homestead of an individual who is disabled; or,
  • $160,000 of the appraised value of the residence homestead of an individual who is 65 or older.

Property owners are encouraged to contact the Harris County Appraisal District at www.hcad.org or call 713-957-7800 to apply for exemptions.

“Exemptions are the easiest way to reduce your tax bill. With tens of thousands of people moving to our region each year, I want to ensure they have the proper exemptions,” said Sullivan.

Residents can visit www.hctax.net to learn more about exemptions, tax deferrals and other ways to save money on their bill. If a resident has questions, they can contact our office by calling 713-274-8000 or emailing tax.office@hctx.net.

The Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office Property Tax Division maintains approximately 1.5 million tax accounts and collects property taxes for 71 taxing entities including Harris County. The Tax Assessor-Collector’s office collects more than $5 billion in property taxes each year.