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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council’

Council passes dumb forced tax cut

This is where we are. City Council rejected Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposal to leave Houston’s tax rate unchanged from last year Wednesday, instead approving a tiny rate cut to comply with the voter-imposed cap on property tax revenues. Turner had proposed using Hurricane Harvey to invoke a disaster exception clause in the 13-year-old revenue cap […]

Another property tax rate dustup

I have four things to say about this: Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city council on Wednesday to sidestep the voter-imposed revenue cap by approving the same property tax rate as last year. According to City Controller Chris Brown, the city would need to cut the property tax rate by about one fifth of […]

An unsatisfying attempt at projecting turnout

So as we all know, this in an unprecedented election, as there are no city races on the ballot. This has everyone wondering about turnout, because the usual drivers of turnout are a Mayor’s race and/or a big referendum, and we have neither of those. What can we guess from past turnout? There are two […]

The fire department’s needs

This is a conversation we need to have, but it’s one we need to dig into and work all the way through. Fire Chief Sam Pena gave City Council a bleak assessment Tuesday of his department’s readiness to respond to significant rainstorms, or even daily fire and medical calls, saying a ramshackle fleet and inadequate […]

HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing after an 11th-hour decision not to call in major reinforcements to face the catastrophic storm. […]

You don’t have to attend those tax rate hearings now

They’re not a thing any more. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. That also likely means few public hearings on the proposed rate hike, which would have been the first from […]

Mayor Turner lowers tax rate hike amount

I’m sure we’re all glad to see this. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said the temporary property tax rate hike he has proposed would be cut in half after federal officials approved his request to increase reimbursement for the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner earlier this month had pitched an 8.9 percent increase for […]

Council to hold hearings on proposed tax rate increase

Here’s your chance to be heard. Houston City Council set the ball rolling Wednesday on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposed 8.9 percent tax rate hike to help fund Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, in what would be the first hike from City Hall in more than two decades. The council voted to schedule three public hearings […]

Mayor seeks one-year tax hike for Harvey cleanup

This stuff isn’t going to pay for itself, you know. Mayor Sylvester Turner will ask City Council to approve an 8.9 percent hike in the city’s tax rate this fall to help Houston recover from Tropical Storm Harvey, in what would be the first tax rate hike from City Hall in more than two decades. […]

Federal court bars enforcement if city’s ban on homeless encampments

Score one for the law’s opponents. A federal court on Tuesday temporarily blocked Houston from enforcing its fledgling ban on public encampments, dealing a blow to city efforts to manage escalating tensions between homeless people and the neighborhoods their camps abut. The city’s three-month-old law – passed under intense pressure from residents and council members […]

Bond issue set for November

Should be pretty straightforward, though I suppose you never know. November’s ballot will feature $495 million in public improvement bonds after City Council agreed Wednesday to send the package to Houston voters. The general bonds, which would not require a tax hike, would fund improvements to libraries and parks, as well as items like new […]

Mayor Turner requests study of Confederate statues

From the inbox. Mayor Sylvester Turner has asked top staff members to study whether statues related to the Confederacy should be removed from city property. The mayor commented about the statues Tuesday at a City Council meeting after members of the public urged the city to remove the statues from its public spaces because, they […]

EcoHub sues over OneBin failure

All right. Continuing the saga that has unfolded at City Hall — in which City Council members have said a deal with one company “smelled,” and in which another company, EcoHub, claims Mayor Sylvester Turner snubbed him out of the whole process — EcoHub is now suing the city to find out what happened. EcoHub […]

July 2017 campaign finance reports – City of Houston

Let’s continue our survey of campaign finance reports with reports from the city of Houston. Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ================================================ Turner 520,430 138,068 0 1,643,519 Stardig 59,470 36,402 0 102,289 Davis 5,500 13,231 0 147,050 Cohen 5,000 8,382 0 63,120 Boykins 93,839 40,547 0 57,358 Martin 20,092 8,221 0 106,427 Le 12,250 1,788 […]

There will be no city elections this November

Here’s the early version of the story. I’ll add a link to the full story in the morning. The Texas Supreme Court on Monday denied plantiffs’ attempts to expedite their case challenging the [2015 term limits referendum] ballot language that lengthened city officials’ terms two years ago, making it unlikely the matter will be resolved […]

Rebidding reycling

Do-over! Pummeled by procurement concerns on a 20-year curbside recycling contract, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Friday he will seek a new round of proposals from the four final bidders. Turner had met with small groups of City Council members Thursday to get a better sense of the concerns they repeatedly have raised since the proposal […]

Recycling deal gets a rough reception at Council

Feisty. Houston City Council members blasted a proposed 20-year recycling deal Tuesday, questioning the $48 million price tag, the process by which the winning bidder was chosen and Turner administration officials’ reluctance to share information about the deal. The proposal on the council’s Wednesday agenda would have Houston send all 65,000 tons of bottles, cans […]

More on the firefighters’ pay parity proposal

Here’s that full Chron story I mentioned yesterday: Houston firefighters delivered over 32,000 signatures to City Hall on Monday in support of asking voters in November to mandate parity in pay between firefighter and police officer ranks, a maneuver that could threaten the city’s plans to sell $1 billion in bonds as part of its […]

Firefighters turn in their petitions

Good for them, but boy is this thing a train wreck. Houston firefighters delivered over 32,000 signatures to City Hall Monday in support of putting a ballot initiative on the November election mandating parity in pay between firefighter and police-officer ranks. […] “This petition drive was necessary because Houston firefighters are at a breaking point,” […]

Here come the LGBT candidates

Keep your eyes on these folks. At least four Houstonians are among the numerous LGBTQ Texans eyeing campaigns in 2018 and 2019. One of the Houston candidates has formally announced, and three others are strongly considering runs. “People are fed up, and they want a better Texas,” said Fran Watson, who’s considering running as a […]

Firefighters petition for a raise

Whatever. Houston firefighters are launching a campaign to place on item on the November ballot asking voters to mandate parity in pay between corresponding firefighter and police-officer ranks. The petition drive to amend the city charter, slated to launch Saturday morning, follows the fire union’s decision last month to sue the city over stalled contract […]

Mayor will take revenue cap referendum off the 2017 ballot

Not gonna lie, I’m disappointed by this. Mayor Sylvester Turner abruptly reversed course Wednesday on his plan to ask voters to repeal Houston’s revenue cap this fall, saying it now is “unlikely” he will ask for its removal. The politically cautious move would leave the city fiscally shackled in the hope that a lighter November […]

Mayor introduces new recycling deal

There’s some stuff to like in this, and there are also questions to be answered. The city would send all 65,000 tons of bottles, cans and boxes its citizens recycle each year to a new processing facility to be built in northeast Houston under a 20-year deal Mayor Sylvester Turner will present to City Council […]

Firefighters sue city over contract negotiations

These are busy days for the HPFFA. Houston’s fire union sued the city Wednesday alleging Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration failed to act in good faith during contract negotiations, exacerbating tensions between firefighters and City Hall. The lawsuit filed in state district court came just two days before firefighters’ “evergreen” labor agreement with the city expires, […]

Smarter streets

They’re coming soon to Houston. Houston City Council on Wednesday will consider a $33.6 million contract – partially funded by a $10 million federal grant – to add hundreds of traffic-tracking devices across the city so officials can receive better up-to-date information, respond by adjusting traffic signals and provide current conditions to drivers more quickly. […]

Houston officially gets in the SB4 litigation business

Well done. Houston City Council voted Wednesday to sue the state over its new “sanctuary cities” law, joining Texas’ three other largest cities in challenging the controversial measure. Council voted 10-6 to join San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, El Paso County and several other local governments and nonprofits in a consolidated case challenging the state. Councilman […]

When might the Supreme Court speak on the Houston term limits lawsuit?

So as you know there is an ongoing lawsuit over the language used in the 2015 referendum that altered the city’s term limits ordinance. It was filed shortly after the election, with the city winning the first round in district court. Appeals are ongoing, with the most recent ruling coming this past January on a […]

Public testimony on SB4

It was heated, as you might expect. Scores of residents urged City Council on Tuesday to challenge the state’s “sanctuary cities” ban, speaking during more than five hours of public testimony on the eve of council’s vote on whether to join litigation. Council chambers overflowed with residents waiting to testify on Senate Bill 4, which […]

Council may vote on joining SB4 litigation tomorrow

It will happen, though perhaps not tomorrow. Houston City Council is poised to vote [this] Wednesday on whether to join litigation challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ new “sanctuary cities” law, days before the case’s preliminary hearing in San Antonio. The city attorney’s office has recommended Houston sue over the law known as Senate Bill 4, […]

Houston will get involved in the SB4 fight later this month

Very good to hear. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask City Council to vote this month on joining lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ new “sanctuary cities” law, ending months of equivocation on the controversial immigration enforcement measure. If City Council votes to sue, Houston would join San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and several other local […]

Do we really have to have a pension bond vote?

So as we know, the Houston pension reform bill that passed contains a provision that requires a vote on the pension obligation bonds that Mayor Turner intends to float as a down payment. Pension obligation bonds have been floated in the past, by Mayor White, without a vote, but for whatever the reason some members […]

Council passes the 2017-18 budget

With a bit of drama along the way. City Council voted to boost funding for a controversial program that helps district council members tackle neighborhood projects Wednesday, even as it approved an annual budget from which one police cadet class and up to 75 employees’ jobs already had been trimmed. Mayor Sylvester Turner blasted the […]

The new panhandling ordinance

This happened last week; I didn’t have a chance to really look at it before now. Residents who impede the use of a Houston roadway, or block a sidewalk or building entrance could be charged with a misdemeanor under an ordinance passed Wednesday by City Council. The ordinance aimed at curbing panhandling was paired with […]

Bike plan finally gets approved

Long time coming. Houston has a bike plan. Though there’s no clear plan to pay for it and ongoing concerns with exactly where the planned trails and lanes will be located, City Council approved the bike plan on Wednesday morning. Council members Mike Knox, Steve Le, Michael Kubosh and Greg Travis voted against the plan, […]