Harris County Commissioners Court meets every other Tuesday. Remember from your reading how counties are “general law” forms of government? They have much less rulemaking power than cities, and much less authority to spend money without specific approval from the governing body. When you look at a Commissioners Court agenda, it’s always surprising – at least to me – to see what is essentially the board of directors of a billion-dollar corporation voting on whether or not to pay sixty-three dollars to let some employee go to a seminar. But… rules are rules.
Go to the Harris County Commissioners Court website:
Pull up the current agenda.
Write a short paragraph giving one example of an item on the Commissioners Court agenda that you would NOT expect to find on a city council agenda, and explaining why it’s different from something you would find on a city council agenda.
Now for the fun part…
Part 2 – Property Tax Bills of the Rich and Famous
As you have noted in your reading, local government is funded largely by ad valorem (property) taxes. Property owners pay this tax based on the value of their property, which is determined by the Harris County Appraisal District.
Did you know you can look up any piece of property in Harris County on the HCAD website and see how much the county thinks it’s worth? Here’s the HCAD website:
Under “Record Search,” you can search by owner name, or by street address. Look up all of the following prominent Houstonians. For each, list:
Name and property address.
Square footage of the “improvement” (“living area” – that’s the house or condo – not the land that it’s on).
The current appraised value of their combined land and improvement.