Just in time for early voting, the most corrupt mayor in America has been accused of illegally mismanaging voter-approved drainage and street funds in a new lawsuit.
The latest issue in an already contentious Houston mayoral contest is a new lawsuit alleging Mayor Sylvester Turner and members of the city council are not properly managing voter-approved drainage and street funds.
Filed by Houston-area civil engineers James “Bob” Robert Jones and Allen Watson, the suit alleges city leaders are not abiding by the specifics of a charter amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2018.
“Proposition A” passed with more than 74 percent last year and was intended to establish a protected “Dedicated Drainage and Street Renewal Fund (DDSRF). Ballot language identified four revenue sources specifically designated for the DDSRF, one of those being $0.118 of the city’s ad valorem tax levy, now at the heart of the new lawsuit.
The suit filed last Monday alleges that Houston’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget ignores the 2018 Prop A language by illegally diverting funds. While plaintiffs calculate that $0.118 of assessed property tax value should result in more than $91 million for DDSRF next year, the city budget only allocates $47 million from ad valorem revenues.
“According to the 2020 budget, the City is short-changing the DDSRF by nearly half,” said plaintiff Allen Watson.
Jones and Watson argue that if the current fund diversion continues, the total funding loss to DDSRF could exceed $500 million over the next ten years.
Jones and Watson have a long history of work on local infrastructure issues and both supported Prop A as well as a similar voter-approved measure in 2010.
Jones served 12 years on the Harris-Galveston Coastal Subsidence Board of Directors and in 2002 was appointed by Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff to the Texas Building and Procurement Commission. He has contributed to updating Houston drainage guidelines for decades and has long advocated for dedicated city funding for drainage projects.
Watson’s clients have included the cities of Houston and Austin, and Harris, Williamson, and Hays counties.
Photo by Getty Images