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County will seek legislation to evade drainage fee payment for Reliant

As expected.

Harris County Commissioners Court today voted unanimously to instruct the County Attorney and the Legislative Relations office to work with the Texas Legislature to adjust current law to compel the City of Houston to collect and immediately remit to Harris County all city sales tax revenues collected at county venues like Reliant Park that are not currently committed to retiring stadium debt.

Commissioner Steve Radack, who had earlier complained that the city had imposed a drainage fee on Reliant and other county facilities that generate income, declined to comment on the issue when it came up for consideration at the commissioners court meeting.

“It’s pretty self-explanatory,” Radack said.

[…]

“Commissioner Radack I want to commend your innovative approach to try to bring this to the forefront,” Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, said adding his concern that the city is not working cooperatively with the county. “When we get into the mud to where one governmental entity decides that they want to start taxing, or laying fees, on another governmental body, the end of that game, I think is a very bad place to go, that I don’t think we need to be in….I would much rather, if the city is having financial difficulties that they ask for our help instead of laying a fee on us.”

Sure didn’t take Cagle long to pick up that Commissioner attitude, did it? The city isn’t looking for a handout, it’s seeking to collect a fee it’s rightly owed. Why should Reliant Stadium be different than other properties for which the government is acting as landlord for profitable private enterprises? I don’t understand why the concept of the county handing the bill to its very well-off tenant the Houston Texans, who would not be in that lovely facility if it weren’t for the generosity of the taxpayers, is so hard for Commissioners Court to grasp.

The city, for its part, says it will fight back by seeking legislation to exempt city residents from paying property taxes to Harris County. While I appreciate the feistiness, as well as hearing my own complaints about the city-county relationship echoed back, I don’t see this as a credible threat. The county, on the other hand, managed to get its legislation through one chamber this year, and unless someone takes a stand for the city I would not be surprised to see them succeed at getting their petty little wish fulfilled in 2013. I’m beginning to think litigation is the only viable option, if only I could think of a legal theory to pursue in court. Houston Tomorrow has more.

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3 Comments

  1. joshua bullard says:

    this is clearly a volley on the mayors behalf-what she doesnt understand is that its highly risky to run up to the county folks at commsioners court and start talking about getting in there pocket-if she hasnt noticed already commsioners court is filled to the rim with with republicans and one democrat”sometimes”.what some people dont tell the general public is this-relaint stadium is not just visted by houstonians-alot of customers come from many other citys in the county-lots of other cities in the county-we are not to bully the county just because of our size-the mayor needs to relaize that commisioners court has the “muscle” in austin to have there way with us-if it was me i would tell the mayor the same thing i would have told her on the red light cameras”mayor parker,back down before its to late”

    respectfully joshua ben bullard 832 258 7511

  2. […] amount of drainage-related work inside the city. Seems eminently reasonable to me, much better than venting one’s spleen through the legislative process. If this actually goes through, I promise to refrain from insulting […]

  3. jerry says:

    when ART STOREY took over the FLOOD CONTROL in the late 80’S , he got rid of all the equipmet to dig ditches.He took a pay cut in the public sector.Today he makes 289,ooo a year.He is a over paid civil engineer.Wake up people,why do you think Houston floods now with a 2 inch rain.They do not DESILT DITCHES. The city is right to tax the county.HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL IS BUSTED UP.THANKS ART! I live in the county and worked for HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL. It is time to get tax reinvestment zones with the FLOOD CONTROL DOLLARS.Do you know how many dollars have been wasted on FLOOD COTROL MANTAINCE CAMPS,5 MILLION ON WADE RD, only to shut it down and build a new one close to big bosses house.I have been trying to get the ditch close to my house desilted,but FLOOD CONTROL CAN’T SEE SILT.Its time to go back to old way of funding FLOOD CONTROL WORK,make FLOOD CONTROL a elcted position.