ReBuild Houston Case Sent Back To Trial Court

A lawsuit over the ReBuild Houston program is back in trial court after the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion on Friday (June 12) reversing a Court of Appeals decision on the case.

The city of Houston, according to the state Supreme Court, did not sufficiently describe key features in the charter amendment on the ballot that voters narrowly approved in 2010.

Justice John Devine delivered the decision, pointing to the ballot’s omission of the drainage charges which are a key element of the ReBuild street and drainage improvement program.

Currently, the drainage fee is one of the program’s four funding sources, but concerned citizens felt that the ballot obscured the cost and nature of the fee.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of citizens shortly after the 2010 election, asserting that the language on the city’s ballot was misleading. They also alleged that the city did not follow at least two procedural steps for the charter amendment, making it illegal.

In 2012, the city prevailed in the case after a motion for summary judgment. The 14th Court of Appeals upheld this decision.

But the state Supreme Court’s recent opinion reverses this, and Houston’s street and drainage repair plan faces an uncertain future.