Mayor Annise Parker announced this afternoon that she's changing the new drainage-fee structure after a boatload of complaints that the fees are higher than what the referendum ads said they would be.
The fees are assessed according to how much surface of your property is impermeable (instead of, say, grass) and while most people only read enough about it to see "five or six dollars a month," some residents are seeing rates closer to $15 a month. Swimming pools aren't impervious: Who knew?
Parker says the first 1,000 square feet of impervious surface will be exempted, dropping the average bill from what she says was $8.25 a month back to the five-or-six-dollar range.
"We want to make it right for the voters," Parker said. "This is about being fair to the voters who went out and voted for this program."
The proposed change will have to go through council. (Update: Mayoral spokesperson Janice Evans tells us the change can be done administratively without council approval.)
The new drainage fees will fund projects designed to reduce flooding in the city.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.