Local Government – Counties Assignment

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:
http://www.co.harris.tx.us/agenda/ 
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 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:
http://www.hcad.org/
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.

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A. 1970’s TV star Lee Majors, the “Six Million Dollar Man” – 5041 Tangle Lane

B. Former Rice University and Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman – 5 Farnham Park Dr
C. Houston Astros pitcher, broadcaster and manager Larry Dierker – 6509 Durford Drive
D. NBA Hall of Famer Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, 11635 Versailles Lakes Ln

E. Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Yolanda Adams – 11719 Bistro Blvd
F. Grammy-winning sax player Grady Gaines, 7226 S. Hall Street

G Former Astros pitcher Roger (W Roger) Clemens – 11535 Quail Hollow
H. Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A. J. Foyt, 19840 Stokes Rd

I. Channel 13 Anchorman Dave Ward- 5403 Broad Oaks Park
J. Restaurant owner (Landry’s, etc) Tilman Fertitta – 3800 Willowick
K. Restaurant owner (Pappasitos, etc.) Chris Pappas – 7 Patrick Ct
L. Criminal Defense Lawyer Rusty Hardin – 2740 Barbara Ln
M. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, 3722 Cypress Grove Lane
N. Former Astros slugger (now Minnesota Twin)  Marwin Gonzalez, 2314 Elmen Street
O. Rockets play-by-play announcer Bill (William H.) Worrell, 101 Westcott Street, Unit 1205
Submit this assignment in one Word file. Cite your sources.
Hint: When you search by street, don’t use a street designation. In other words, if your guy lives at 123 Main Street, just put “123” then “Main” – don’t put “Street,”, St.”, or anything like that.

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