Harris County District 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle outlined a tax rate plan he said would generate $149 million in revenue above the rate without new income at a press conference Oct. 4 .
Cagle’s plan is $108 million less in property tax revenue than originally proposed by the Office of Management and Budget. It sets aside $56 million for 200 additional full-time police officers and salary increases for current officers; $24.1 million for the Harris County Flood Control District; $45 million for the Harris Health System; and $24 million for discretionary spending.
“It’s about a trade-off…that we can meet halfway where the public gets something they can enjoy and value in exchange for more dollars when they face rising prices. costs and … inflation,” Cagle said. .
However, Cagle could not provide an overall tax rate that would match his plan, or specify how the $108 million difference would affect the budgets of other county departments. He said the $24 million in discretionary spending could be spent on areas that would bring his colleagues to the table, and later in the press conference he cited cost-of-living adjustments for other employees. of the county and the funding of the district attorney’s office as examples.
Additionally, Cagle called on County Judge Lina Hidalgo to hold a special court session on Oct. 7 before the next regular court meeting on Oct. 11 to publicly discuss his plan without being required to vote on the tax rate.
Cagle and Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey failed to attend the court’s previous two meetings, preventing the court’s Democratic majority from voting on a tax rate. If at least four members of the court do not show up for a meeting by Oct. 28, the county will be forced to adopt the non-new revenue rate, which caps revenue generated from the county’s property tax at the same amount as the previous year. .
Regarding the Oct. 11 reunion, Cagle said he wouldn’t say ahead of time whether he would show up, but if he did he would need a deal “just for the public.”
“I was asked to come to court, vote no, and then tell people [I] voted no, when [the majority] knew full well that the minute I walked in the door, that their pre-determined plan to spend as they pre-determined a quarter of a billion dollars, would happen,” Cagle said. “It’s misleading the public.”
In a statement to Community impactPrecinct 2 commissioner Adrian Garcia said he had scheduled a meeting with Ramsey which was canceled shortly before Cagle’s press conference and that negotiations so far have gone “good faith”.
“Cagle’s proposal isn’t serious, and there are a lot of questions about his numbers that need to be answered,” Garcia said. “Because Harris County continues to grow, we must also consider all of the other basic services that the county is responsible for. You cannot govern a county this size by negotiating in the press. Instead, we look forward to our colleagues making their case when they appear in court.