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Local Government – Counties Assignment

Paper details:
Harris County Commissioners Court meets every 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.

See what I mean

Write a short paragraph giving one example of an item on the Commissioners Court agenda that you would NOT find on the Houston 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, tell me

Name and property address.

Square footage of the “improvement” (that’s the house or condo – not the land that it’s on).

The current appraised value of their combined land and improvement.

A. Astros owner Jim Crane’s ex-wife, Franci Neely – 1314 South Blvd

B. Former Astros first baseman Lance Berkman – 5 Farnham Park Dr

C. Houston Texans owner Bob McNair – 1807 River Oaks

D. NBA Hall of Famer Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, 11635 Versailles Lakes Ln

E. Former United States President George Bush – 9 S West Oak Dr

F. Socialite Carolyn Farb (under “current owner”), 1814 Larchmont Rd

G. Former Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte, 14 Woods Edge Lane

H. Former Astro pitcher Roger (W Roger) Clemens – 11535 Quail Hollow

I. Super Lawyer Joe Jamail – 3682 Willowick

J. Channel 13 Anchorman Dave Ward- 5403 Broad Oaks Park

K. Houston Mayor Annise Parker – 428 Westmoreland Street

L. Restaurant owner (Landry’s, etc) Tilman Fertitta – 3800 Willowick

M. Restaurant owner (Pappasitos, etc.) Chris Pappas – 7 Patrick Ct

N. Criminal Defense Lawyer Rusty Hardin – 2740 Barbara Ln

O. Former New Jersey mob boss Vincent “Vinny Ocean” Palermo (witness protection program name “Vincent Cabella”) – 9105 Memorial Drive

P. Houston Astro Hall of Fame member Craig Biggio (under “current owner”) – 6520 Belmont St
Comments from Support Team: Discipline: Goverment


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