Greetings from
Council Member Mike Knox
October Newsletter
An update on the Mayor's proposed tax hike from Council Member Mike Knox.

As many already know, I am opposed to any additional tax at this time, primarily because I believe this action to be premature. My reservations include the following:

1. The Mayor has stated we need this money immediately to pay for debris removal. With the Mayor's proposed tax increase, the money generated would not be available until sometime next year. Clearly, we need funding now to remove the debris today. We cannot wait until next year. We will have to fund the debris removal from immediately available sources regardless whether the tax increase is passed or not. 

2. The Mayor, until recently, has withheld information about the City's catastrophic insurance policy. Our catastrophic insurance policy covers 175 million dollars in damages to city facilities. 100 million dollars of this amount is for immediate flood damage. 75 million dollars of this amount is for ancillary damages such as leaky roofs or business interruption. Once this policy is exhausted, FEMA is expected to cover most, if not all, of the remaining damages to city properties. It will take some time to determine the City's out of pocket costs. It is premature to predict these costs at this time. 

3. Mayor Turner has been reluctant to highlight the fact that much of the money we have spent thus far is reimbursable from FEMA. Particularly, with regard to the city's Budget Stabilization Fund (rainy day fund),which we have spent on shelters and overtime etc, FEMA is likely to reimburse the city at 100%. This means, the money we have spent will be returned to us and will be accessible at some point in the near future.    

4. The Mayor has indicated he is not interested in spending any of the 200 million dollars in our fund balance, which we retain for budgetary emergencies.

5. The Mayor is less than forthcoming with information about funds which might be recoverable from various TIRZ's. My research on the subject suggests that the city could recapture millions of dollars from TIRZ's without violating the property tax revenue cap by implementing the emergency clause of the charter amendment. These dollars could be obtained without the need for a tax increase. This action could delay future projects of the various TIRZs for one year. I do appreciate the projects which TIRZs fund, and how important these projects are for the communities they serve. W hile not optimal, the fact of the matter is we are in an emergency situation and need those dollars for the entire city. 

6. The Mayor is quick to point out the property tax rate has not increased in over a decade. The tax rate has not increased in over a decade, however, the amount of tax dollars generated to our budget has increased year to year. This increase is the result of the property appraisal increases by the county and the allowable formula under the property tax cap. This means we will have additional money available even if we lower our tax rate as required by the property tax cap charter amendment.

Before we consider asking citizens of Houston to endure a tax increase, I think we must explore all other options first. We should not be taking such drastic action until we understand the full scope of the damage costs associated by Hurricane Harvey. Therefore, I remain opposed to Mayor Turner's current proposed tax increase.
Houston City Council voted to have public meetings related to the Mayor's proposed tax increase. These meetings will take place in the Council Chamber located on the second floor in City Hall, 901 Bagby Street.

There are two remaining meetings:

Monday, October 2, at 6PM.
Wednesday, October 11 at 9AM.

These meetings are an excellent opportunity for the public to speak to the Mayor and Council directly. Inform them of your support or opposition.

To reserve time to speak at any of these meetings, you must contact the City Secretary at 832-393-1100.

Please encourage your friends and neighbors to attend.

If these meeting times and dates are inconvenient for your schedule, there is an opportunity to address the Mayor and Council on this or any subject every Tuesday at 2PM in Council Chambers.
NEW PERMIT SATELLITE CENTERS:
To help Houstonians get back into their homes as quickly and as safely as possible, we are offering extended service hours for flood damage repair permits. We know traveling to our offices may be difficult, so we are opening additional satellite offices in affected neighborhoods.
Main Office*, 1002 Washington Ave., 77002
Beginning Sept. 11│ Mon. – Fri., 7:30 am – 6:30 pm
Permanent Satellite Offices*
Beginning Sept. 25│ Mon. – Fri., 7:30 am – 6:30 pm
Kingwood Office, 3915 Rustic Woods Dr., 77339
Clear Lake Office, 1335 Regents Park Dr. #130, 77058
Northwest Office, 10555 Northwest Fwy #148, 77092
Temporary Satellite Offices**
Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Dr., 77074
Beginning Sept. 13│ Mon. – Fri., 7:30 am – 6:30 pm .
Council Chambers are located on the second floor at City Hall, 901 Bagby, 77002
FULL LIST OF FEMA SITES
St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 625 Nottingham Oaks Trail, Houston, TX 77079

Humble Senior Activity Center, 1401 S. Houston Ave., Humble, TX 77338

Netrality Building, 1301 Fannin St., Houston, TX 77002

Bayland Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet St., Houston, TX 77074

Sienna Annex, 5855 Sienna Springs Way, Missouri City, TX 77459

Greenspoint Mall, 12300 North Frwy., Houston, TX 77060

Webster Civic Center, 311 Pennsylvania Ave., Webster, TX 77589

Katy Mills Mall, 5000 Katy Mills Circle, Katy, TX 77494

Johnnie Arolfo Civic Center, 400 W. Walker St., League City, TX 77573

Baytown Community Center, 2407 Market St., Baytown, TX 77522

Old Amegy Bank, 2401 Termini St., Dickinson, TX 77539

Simonton Community Church, 9703 FM-1489, Simonton, TX 77476

Friendship Center, 31355 Friendship Dr., Magnolia, TX 77355

Wharton Civic Center, 1924 N. Fulton St., Wharton, TX 77488

The Church Without Walls, 5725 Queenston Blvd., Houston, TX 77084
Sometimes a smiling face is all I need to get through the day.
The Clean and Removal Assistance program.

The Clean and Removal Assistance Program can potentially provide some assistance to Houston residents with flood damage who were otherwise found not eligible for assistance because the home was still found to be habitable. 
There is no additional or separate application process required to be found eligible for this assistance aside for the absolutely critical requirement that stakeholders register for FEMA assistance via our website:  DisasterAssistance.gov  or by calling (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585 to apply during standard hours of operation (7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time), 7 days a week
Ongoing Recovery Effort s
Pleasantville Civic League President Mary Fontenot needed a hug and a smile and she got that plus a tour from our At Large Pos. 1 Team. Administrative Assistant Sheena Childs arranged an afternoon in this east side neighborhood badly damaged by #Harvey.
Many Pleasantville neighbors had not seen any government officials until our recent tour. We brought essential goods and were happy the Red Cross could join us in assessing these folk's needs.
Church of God in Christ has set up shop for the long haul of the recovery. C.O.G.I.C. is an interdenominational group who will spread out over Houston and roll up their sleeves to make a difference.
One constant source of joy through all of this, our Astros remain the winningest team since 2005. What a comfort it has been to see our " boys of summer " knocking the ball out of the park. When they are not playing ball they are collecting school supplies and raising money for the effort.
HELPFUL LINKS

F.E.M.A.
1-800-621-FEMA-3362

IRS TAX RELIEF

VETERANS
1-800-827-1000

UNEMPLOYMENT
1-800-939-2989

SBA
1800-659-2955

IMMIGRATION ASSISTANCE
1-800-375-5283
Speaking of sports, our Texans came out fighting against the Patriots. We had them on the run until the final moments.
Deshaun Watson donated his first NFL game check to stadium employees who were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. (via @HoustonTexans)
Miller Outdoor Theater was packed with thousands of Theater District Fans. The district has been hard hit by Harvey so displaced performers from the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, The Alley Theater and DeCamera chipped in to put on a variety show case to help raise funds for victims of Harvey.
Someone said the journey of a thousand miles begins one step at a time and that is where we are in the clean up after Harvey. We are making progress with more than 400 trucks running 7 days a week and the landfill open 24 hours a day, but we have such a long recovery ahead of us. Solid Waste tells me we have cleared more than 700,000 cubic yards of debris in the first 30 days.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
Hoping to see as many of you as I can Tuesday, October 3rd.
“Give Neighborhood Crime and Drugs a Going Away Party” Grab a Snack / Put on a Smile / Lock Your Doors / Go Outside to Meet Your Neighbors.Join America in a United Stand Against Crime. Lights on Mean Lights Out For Crime.
Important Information:
(832) 393-3014

311 or (713) 837-0311


Emergency
911

HPD Non-Emergency 
(713) 884-3131

(832) 393-0955

(832) 393-1100

City of Houston
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251
311 or 713.837.0311 
Staff Information:
John Moss
Chief of Staff

Sheena Childs
Administrative Coordinator

Lanny Griffith
Communications Director
City Council Member Mike Knox, At-Large Position 1 | 900 Bagby St., First Floor | Houston, TX 77002 | (832) 393-3014 | Atlarge1@houstontx.gov
Stay in touch!