Parker Administration, Costello move on from not-$5/month rain tax to “food deserts”

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More uproar as drainage bills arrive: Critics call mayor’s repeated use of $5 average fee misleading – Chris Moran and Mike Morris, Houston Chronicle

“The charges are anywhere from three to six times what the proponents of the referendum said they would be, and, frankly, the city, as well,” Sullivan said. “My personal feeling is, it was not a realistic estimate of what an average citizen’s lot would cost.”

Critics who pointed out the vagueness of the proposal were mostly dismissed during the debate over the Parker/Costello rain tax. Obviously, some of the points were valid.

Meanwhile, the Parker Administration and Councilmember Costello have moved on to work on another boondoggle:

Filling Houston's Food Gaps -Wendy Siegle, KUHF-88.7 News

[Mayor Parker’s sustainability director Laura] Spanjian says the city is brainstorming ways to lure grocery stores into low-income food deserts. The market is generally considered risky.

“Can we incentivize supermarket owners and retailers to come into an area? Can we figure out a way to find land for them? Or can we find existing structures that they can renovate and turn into a supermarket? So we’re going to be looking at the gamut to try to really encourage supermarket owners to come into these neighborhoods.”

City Council Member Stephen Costello is working on the project. He says the city hopes to have one supermarket up and running in the next 12 to 18 months, though he’s not sure where it will go yet. He says once a developer is recruited the city will put forward possible incentives, like reimbursing some of the costs of building the store for example.

Costello is turning out to be quite a master of the Houston Way. He may even be mayoral material, eventually!

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