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Governor Abbott Authorizes Harris County Emergency Special Election For Flood-Control Projects

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott today sent a letter approving a request by the Harris County Commissioners Court to hold an emergency special election for a bond referendum on Saturday, August 25th.

“As you know, I consider responding to matters concerning Hurricane Harvey to qualify as an emergency,” writes Governor Abbott. “As this request for an emergency special election was duly passed by a unanimous vote of the Harris County Commissioners Court, I hereby grant approval as Governor of Texas for this emergency special election to be called for bonds to fund flood-related mitigation projects that respond to Hurricane Harvey.”

The Governor’s letter details the billions in federal funding sources currently available to Harris County for flood and hazard mitigation projects, including: funds for buyouts and elevations of flood prone properties; drainage and reservoir projects that reduce future flooding; other projects that lessen the frequency or severity of flooding; flood risk reduction projects such as dams, retention basins, levees, floodwalls, seawalls, jetties, sand dunes, and large-scale channeling of waterways; and countless other projects.

Importantly, the Governor points out that Congress “purposefully provided much of those matching dollars through Community Development Block Grant funds so that local governments would not need to match the federal grants.” For example, funds are available today for Harris County to draw from the $500 million in FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP); and Harris County may choose to use Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) funds for the HMGP cost-share match for eligible projects.

Additionally, Harris County and the City of Houston, together, have already been allocated $2.27 billion in CDBG–DR funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Read the Governor’s full letter to the Harris County Commissioners Court.

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