On May 4, 270 local jurisdictions across the state will hold bond elections totaling $17.4 billion. More than $1 billion of that long-term debt is owed to local jurisdictions in Harris County. 

Harris County’s largest request—half of the total amount across the county—is for Galena Park ISD, which is asking voters to approve $530 million in debt.

Harris County Municipal Utility District (MUD) 055 is holding a bond election for two propositions, one for $177 million and another for $118 million. Northampton MUD is asking voters to approve $86 million, Elysian Fields ISD is asking for $52.4 million and $2.5 million in two respective propositions, Harris County Water Control & Improvement District is seeking two bonds for $34.9 million and $10.5 million, and North Forest MUD is seeking $12.1 million.

Fort Bend County is hosting two bond elections, one for a MUD and another for its municipal school district, Stafford Municipal School District, totaling $410 million. Notably, Stafford MSD is the only non-independent school district in the state.

Montgomery County MUD 202a, which in 2022 had two voters, is asking for more than $1 billion in bond debt.  

Across the state, 58 percent of the debt requested—$10.4 billion—is just for school districts. 

Surprisingly, this May is the smallest total bond request across the state since 2021, which isn’t much of a relief as in 2023 Bond Buyer noted that Texans’ propensity for approving bonds made the state the number one debt issuer at $59 billion, beating New York and California. That was the first time since 1981 that Texas led the nation in total debt sales. 

As of Sunday, with two days left of Early Voting, less than 1 percent of voters had turned out to vote in Harris County. 

Charles Blain

Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and Urban Reform Institute. A native of New Jersey, he is based in Houston and writes on municipal finance and other urban issues.