Recently, Judge Ed Emmett presented at the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s State of the County luncheon covering topics impacting the county from transportation to the growth of northeast Harris County.
Prior to Judge Emmett taking the stage, we had the opportunity to address attendees on the importance of engaging local officials to enable positive change in communities. Years ago, Generation Park started with a grand vision, but we knew that in order to make it a reality, improving access to the area would be key. Through years of hard work with Judge Emmett, County Commissioners and other local officials, the road infrastructure in the northeast region has been transformed, and the area is thriving.
Just recently, the 77044 zip code – where Generation Park is situated – was ranked the fastest growing zip code in all of Harris County by the Houston Chronicle. This would not have been possible without the leadership of our local officials.
Below are eight key takeaways from Judge Ed Emmett’s address:
- Harris County (4.5 million residents) is more populated than half of the states in our country.
- Harris County is funded primarily by property taxes.
- Nearly 70% of Harris County’s budget is for criminal justice (jails and courts). The remaining dollars are for indigent health care, transportation, flood control and homeland security/emergency management.
- The Harris County Jail is the largest mental health facility in the state.
- Mental health is one of the greatest challenges facing the county. On any given night, nearly 30% of those incarcerated are in jail because of mental health issues.
- By 2020, it is likely that more people will live in unincorporated Harris County than in the City of Houston.
- Harris County is not related to the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD). HCAD was a name given by the state legislature.
- The Commissioner’s Court created the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Much of the growth in the Lake Houston area stems from one key investment in transportation: Beltway 8 East, which never would have been built without the Harris County Toll Road Authority.