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Posts Tagged ‘Sylvester Turner’

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 […]

Amazon and Houston

Does our city have a shot at landing Amazon’s HQ2? Eh, maybe. Bringing Amazon to Houston almost certainly will be a heavy lift. The pursuit of the company that revolutionized the retail industry has highlighted both the potential and shortcomings of the local technology sector, made up of scattered groups of engineers in the energy, […]

Still some fretting about the bonds

Generalized anxiety, nothing specific. Fire engines bursting into flames at a scene. Roof leaks damaging walls at city health clinics. Bike trails eroding into the bayou. Those are among the reasons Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking voters to approve $495 million in public improvement bonds this fall. Early voting starts Oct. 23. As with the […]

Curbside recycling is coming back

Because most of the Harvey debris has been picked up. Win all around. Houstonians who have been dragging their overflowing recycling bins to the curb every other week only to roll them back again untouched finally should have their cartons and cans hauled off early next month, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday. City crews and […]

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 […]

Endorsement watch: The bonds

Endorsement season has officially begun. The key referendum, Proposition A, is a solution to Houston’s potentially disastrous pension problem. A complex deal ushered through the Texas Legislature by Mayor Sylvester Turner would reduce the $8.2 billion unfunded pension burden now carried by Houston taxpayers to $5.2 billion. Union leaders representing police officers and municipal employees […]

Lift Up Houston

Hey, you know there are bonds on the ballot, right? And Mayor Turner would like you to vote for them. Mayor Sylvester Turner spent much of his first year and a half keeping the civic conversation focused on winning legislative approval of his plan to end Houston’s spiraling pension crisis, and then, last May, achieved […]

What the Harvey needs are from the state

It’s not just about recovery. The long term needs, including mitigation against future events like Harvey, is where the real money will need to be spent. More than one month after Harvey’s deluge hit, local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, testified at a state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee […]

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 […]

Houston gets state recovery funds, property tax rate hike shelved

Was that so hard? I ask you. 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. The exchange came as the mayor and governor held a joint City Hall […]

Abbott says he wants a list from Turner

A list of funding priorities, he says. Because he’s passive like that. Answering Houston’s latest complaints over funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday told Mayor Sylvester Turner the state can step up with more money as soon as the city gets a list of its top needs to the state. […]

Abbott has no interest in helping Houston

So much for that. If the state taps into the Rainy Day Fund to help with recovery following Hurricane Harvey, it won’t be until the next legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Tuesday. Abbott’s announcement comes after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote to the governor asking the state to use the […]

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 […]

Paul Bettencourt advocates doing nothing to rebuild after Harvey

He has nothing constructive to offer, that’s for sure. One of the top Republicans leaders in the Texas Legislature is slamming the city of Houston and other local governments for trying to raise taxes on homeowners in the name of hurricane recovery. And he’s certain the increase will provoke a response of some sort from […]

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. […]

Local government buildings took it on the chin from Harvey

Houses, businesses, schools, churches, government offices – the destruction caused by Harvey and the bill to fix it all keeps adding up. Local governments grappled Tuesday with the staggering costs of responding to and cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey, a trifecta of wrecked infrastructure and damaged buildings, around-the-clock overtime for rescue and recovery and a […]

More on the SB4 ruling

Circling back to one of the big court decisions from last week, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern talks to ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt about what was blocked by federal Judge Orlando Garcia in the “sanctuary cities” lawsuit. Mark Joseph Stern: SB 4’s overarching goal is to compel all Texas law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration […]

Please don’t complain about the lack of an evacuation

There are good reasons why there was not an evacuation order for the greater Houston area in advance of Harvey. Ultimately, mayors and county judges are charged with making such decisions. Leaders in Houston and Harris County told residents to stay put ahead of the storm and have since defended those decisions — even as […]

More ways to help

I posted a couple of links with ways to help with Harvey relief below, but there are some more good suggestions in this Chron story as well. The American Red Cross is encouraging people to donate money on its website or to text 90999 to donate $10. The organization is also asking for volunteers. Red Cross is also […]

Yes, cities need lobbyists

Every few years, this argument heats up. In the run-up to this year’s Texas legislative session, Mayor Sylvester Turner decided to switch Capitol lobbying firms. In was Hillco Partners, considered by many the most powerful player in Austin lobbying. Out was a firm led by a political adviser to House Speaker Joe Straus. What didn’t […]

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 […]

No charter amendments on the fall ballot

Just bonds, school board and HCC races, and the mostly boring constitutional amendments. Oh, and Heights Alcohol 2.0, if you live there. Houston voters will face $1.5 billion in city bonds and nine community college or school board races this November, but will not be asked whether to give firefighters a pay raise or change […]

Confederate monuments in the Capitol

Get rid of them, too. A state lawmaker wants all Confederate symbols removed from the Texas Capitol grounds, including a plaque that is 40 steps away from his office that rejects the idea that the South seceded from the Union over slavery. Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, sent a letter to the State Preservation Board Wednesday […]

Houston signs memorandum of understanding with Texas Central

This makes a lot of sense. At City Hall, Houston and Texas Central Partners announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding, which commits both sides to share environmental surveys, utility analysis and engineering related to the project and surrounding area and work together to develop new transit and other travel options to and from […]

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 […]

HISD and the TEA

Still catching up on things. Texas education officials are warning that Houston ISD could be placed under the jurisdiction of state-appointed managers as early as next year if 13 district schools don’t show improvement. The warning was issued during a meeting [last] Monday between Texas Education Agency officials and Houston’s legislative delegation. TEA officials told […]

Houston city employees file their own lawsuit (again) on spousal benefits

A shame it’s had to come to this, but this is where we are. On Thursday, three married couples from Houston filed a lawsuit in federal court aimed at forcing the city to preserve health coverage and other benefits for same-sex spouses of city employees. That’s because, despite the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell […]

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 […]

Firefighters complain about petition counting process

Oh, good Lord. Houston firefighters are accusing Mayor Sylvester Turner of standing between them and a voter-approved pay raise by failing to ensure a petition they submitted last month is certified in time to appear on the November ballot. Turner rejected any suggestion that he has involved himself in the City Secretary’s effort to verify […]

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 […]