Over­looked Prop A puts drainage, street fixes be­fore vot­ers

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - CITY | STATE - By Mike Mor­ris STAFF WRITER

Lost amid a bit­ter cam­paign over whether to grant Hous­ton fire­fight­ers the same pay as po­lice of cor­re­spond­ing rank — Propo­si­tion B on Tues­day’s bal­lot — is Propo­si­tion A, a “do-over” on the city’s street and drainage re­pair pro­gram.

Re­Build Hous­ton only nar­rowly passed eight years ago, but the twodecade pro­gram ap­pears be­fore vot­ers this fall with­out its most con­tro­ver­sial com­po­nent and with­out a clear sense of whether the mea­sure’s pas­sage will pro­duce a much dif­fer­ent re­sult than its fail­ure.

The item is on the bal­lot again be­cause con­ser­va­tive foes who op­posed a new drainage fee that was part of the pro­gram con­vinced the Texas Supreme Court that the city’s 2010 bal­lot lan­guage did not make clear the ini­tia­tive would in­clude this new “rain tax,” as they call it. The court voided the elec­tion and or­dered the vote to be held again.

Both sides agree, how­ever, that the roughly $5 monthly drainage fee cit­i­zens be­gan pay­ing in July 2011 is not at is­sue this fall — that fee was im­ple­mented in an or­di­nance ap­proved by the city coun­cil, not by the 2010 char­ter change it­self. And Mayor Sylvester Turner says he will im­ple­ment the pro­gram as it is be­ing run to­day even if vot­ers re­peal the le­gal lan­guage that would force him to do so.

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