Houston Council Member
City Hall Annex
900 Bagby, First Floor
Houston, TX 77002
For scheduling requests:
District F Map
Online water/wastewater payment
Public Works and Engineering, Utility Customer Service, is pleased to offer you various payment options to pay your utility accounts online.
Stop Houston Gangs
The Stop Houston Gangs Task Force, has created a website to educate the public about criminal gangs and to provide a way for residents to safely report tips to thwart the potential threat.
Online Police Reports
Houston citizens can file police reports from home, work, or anywhere with Internet access.
The adoption fee for a dog or cat is $75.00. This fee includes the cost of surgical sterilization (spay/neuter) of the animal, vaccinations, and other necessary medical services while the animal has been in the care of BARC. The fee also includes the first year’s city license.
Dear Residents and Friends of District F,
Last month, the mayor released her administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY2013), which begins July 1 2012, and ends June 30, 2013. Over the next couple of weeks, council members and staff will pour over hundreds of pages in the budget book to review revenues and expenditures item by item.
The proposed FY2013 budget does not include a property tax increase, service cuts or layoffs. While a welcomed improvement from last year’s budget, there is still far more to do to secure our city’s future financial obligations.
City Council is expected to vote on the proposed FY2013 budget and any submitted amendments at the end of this month.
Support for Hobby Airport Expansion
In a 16-1 vote last week, Houston City Council approved a proposal to allow international air service at Hobby airport. While I initially had questions about the plan to finance the expansion by increasing passenger fees, with Southwest’s pledge to fully pay for the expansion at no cost to passengers or taxpayers, I concluded it was in the city’s best interest to support the proposal and bring new business opportunities to our city. I believe international service at Hobby will be viable and greatly advantageous to the city, travelers, and airlines that service it.
This decision was incredibly important and I appreciate the thousands of Houstonians who wrote, emailed, and called our office and attended the public meetings for their input.
Construction of the international terminal is planned for the spring of 2013, with flights to Latin America taking air by 2015.
Alief Community Garden Wins Fruit Orchard
Congratulations to the Alief community! With over 27,000 votes, the Alief Community Garden took third place in a national contest to win a fruit orchard from Dreyer’s Fruit Bars and The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. A special thanks to the Alief Super Neighborhood for taking the lead and getting the community involved in the voting process. The fruit orchard will make a wonderful addition to the garden!
NOAA PREDICTS A NEAR-NORMAL 2012 HURRICANE SEASON
Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
There is a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms (with top winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane (with top winds of 74 mph or higher) and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes. Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
According to NOAA, lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions to take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.
Council Member Al Hoang encourages all Houstonians to prepare early for the 2012 hurricane season by attending the free Hurricane Preparedness workshop this Saturday, June 9 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The workshop is a free hurricane preparedness event that aims to prepare residents through presentations, interactive exhibits, hurricane season forecasting and more. “This will be a great opportunity for residents to learn about hurricane preparedness from experts,” Hoang said.
If you are not able to attend the workshop, here are some simple steps you can take to help ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones:
STAY INFORMED by listening to announcements of local emergency officials, and follow their instructions (88.7FM & 740AM are the designated Emergency Alert Stations for the Houston area). MAKE A PLAN of action for any emergency. If you must relocate, have a predetermined destination, route and alternate route — whether out of the area or to the nearest shelter. BUILD A KIT including the following emergency supplies:
- Non-perishable foods & water — enough for 3 to 7 days
- Portable radio with extra batteries
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- First-aid kit, along with any prescription medicine
- Special items for babies and the elderly
- Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
- Cash (some small bills) — Banks / ATMs may not be available for extended periods
- Vehicle fuel tanks filled
- Pet care items
If you are ordered to evacuate, or if it is recommended that you do by local officials, you should do so without delay. Evacuation information and contraflow lane maps out of Houston are available on the Texas Department of Transportation website: I-10 Contraflow – I-45 Contraflow – US-59 Contraflow – US-290 Contraflow.
You can also register for hurricane evacuation assistance by calling 2-1-1 or filling a transportation assistance registry form online.
REMINDER: CITY’S ALTERNATING HEAVY TRASH SCHEDULE
Since 2008, the Solid Waste Department has alternated the pick-up of Tree Waste and Junk Waste each month.
“Tree Waste” is defined as “clean wood waste such as tree limbs, branches, and stumps (lumber, furniture, and treated wood will NOT be accepted). “Junk Waste” is defined as items such as furniture, appliances, and other bulky material. A maximum of four cubic yards of building material (not including brick, plaster or concrete) generated by the resident in connection with the maintenance of the resident’s property will be collected during the Junk Waste collection date as well.
Please note: while Junk Waste may not be placed for collection during a Tree Waste month, Tree Waste is accepted during Junk Waste months. However, to ensure that your Tree Waste is recycled, the Solid Waste Department encourages residents to hold tree waste materials until the next Tree Waste designated month or bring it to a Neighborhood Depository.
- Tree/Junk Waste should be placed adjacent to the front curb in a location easily accessible to the collection vehicle between the hours of 6:00 p.m. the Friday before, and 7:00 am. on the scheduled collection day.
- Tree/Junk Waste material should not be stacked under low overhead electrical wires or other cabling, signs, or mailboxes; next to fences or posts; or on top of water meters, gas meters, fire hydrants, or other exposed utility components.
- Materials should not be placed in the street, on the sidewalk, or other right-of-way, or in any manner which would interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
- Tree/Junk Waste collection is limited to residential units and vacant residential lots only if the waste generated is in connection with the maintenance of the property.
- Styrofoam blocks or loose packing material should not be mixed with Tree Waste/Junk Waste piles. Styrofoam does not decompose. We encourage you to bring your styrofoam to the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center or your local Neighborhood Depository. Styrofoam in peanut shape is accepted by Mailbox, Etc. They can be reached at 713-667-5116. The last alternative is to bag your styrofoam and put it out for your weekly garbage collection.
HPARD’S SUMMER PROGRAMMING KICKS OFF JUNE 4
As temperatures rise & schools let out for the summer, the Houston Parks & Recreation Department (HPARD) offers a wide range of programs & activities for all ages & abilities! Some program offerings include :
Summer Enrichment Program
10-week day-camp style program offered at 47 HPARD Community Centers from June 4 through August 17 for youth ages 6 to 13. Program activities include : arts & crafts, sports, field trips, special events, & water fun. The cost is $30 per child per week.
Summer Swim Season
HPARD’s pools are opening in two phases. Phase I, which occured during the Memorial Day weekend, May 26 through May 28, included the opening of 20 pools. Phase II begins on June 5 & runs through Labor Day, September 3. During this time, an additional 18 pools will be opened to bring the total pools under operation to 38. Pools are open from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. All HPARD pools are closed on Mondays for routine maintenance.
Summer Food Service Program
Program offers FREE lunches & snacks for children ages 1 – 18 at 460 locations across the city. No registration is required. To find a Summer Food Service Program site near you, call 2-1-1 & give the operator your zip code. They will locate a site near you. HPARD has sponsored the Summer Food Service Program since 1980. The Summer Food Service Program is administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Division.
Summer Youth Tennis Program
FREE tennis program offered at public parks throughout the year by HPARD in partnership with the Houston Tennis Association, Inc.-NJTL. The program is designed to provide young people, ages 4 to 18, with the fundamentals of the game of tennis & educational components that develop life skills. Equipment is available for use during class.
Summer Youth Golf Program
The First Tee of Houston at F.M. Law Park offers FREE golf lessons for youth ages 7 to 18. The program’s mission is to positively impact the lives of young people in the greater Houston area by “promoting character development & life-enhancing values through the game of golf.” The First Tee of Houston at F.M. Law Park is an affiliate of the national First Tee Program.
Adult Sports Leagues
Offered year-round in a variety of sports, including: basketball, kickball, softball, & volleyball. League play is open to adults ages 18 & over. Team registration fees are required.
Senior Sports Leagues & Recreational Activities
Seniors can find plenty to do to stay busy this summer! Classes & activities are scheduled at HPARD community centers & include programming like: exercise & walking clubs, pickleball & table tennis, arts & crafts classes, scrapbooking, quilting, jewelry making & more.
Adaptive Sports & Recreation
HPARD provides access to year-round activities for youth & adults with disabilities through the Adaptive Recreation Section housed in the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, 1475 West Gray. Sports & recreational opportunities are available for all ages. Some programs include : Wheelchair Tennis, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Soccer, Adaptive Aquatics, & much more.
Lake Houston Wilderness Park
5,000 acre park located 30 minutes from downtown Houston near New Caney. It is the only park in the department’s inventory where overnight camping is available. Most of the park is heavily forested. Beautiful trails & proximity to Caney Creek & Peach Creek provide visitors with a perfect setting for photography, nature study, hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching, kayaking & canoeing. The Lake Houston Wilderness Park Nature Center offers programming & presentations for all ages, as well.
COUNCIL APPROVES NEW HOUSTON SOBERING CENTER
Houston City Council approved a plan last month that will change the way HPD deals with public intoxication in the city. The plan calls for the construction of a new Sobering Center, in partnership with the Star of Hope, where people detained for public intoxication can be taken to regain sobriety in a safe, medically-monitored environment.
Council also approved including the Houston Police Department’s Mental Health Unit in the same building, bringing together staff dispersed throughout the city into one location.
The new center is expected to significantly cut the time officers spend processing paperwork for such cases, and return them to the streets quicker. It will also reduce the city’s financial burden for handling public intoxication cases and ease crowding in city jails. The city’s annual cost to lease, maintain and staff the new center is estimated to be $1.5 million, compared to the $4-6 million currently being spent to process public intoxication cases at the city jail.
Those who choose the Sobering Center will be observed and given necessary outpatient services to manage various intoxication levels. Once sober, detainees will meet with recovery specialists and Star of Hope referral staff who will offer opportunities for long-term treatment with appropriate social service agencies. In addition, HPD, Houston Department of Health and Human Services and the Houston Fire Department will provide city services at the site.
“Star of Hope is pleased to be a partner in this new venture,” said Star of Hope President and CEO Hank Rush. “In other cities, 60-80% of the individuals who utilize a Sobering Center are homeless. Here in Houston, we’ll be on site to counsel and refer them to appropriate providers who can help them with their recovery and transitional needs as they return to independent living.”
The new center will operate out of an existing two-story building located behind the Star of Hope Men’s Development Center on Ruiz Street in north downtown.
A 501(c) 3 foundation will also be created to aid in future fundraising for operations and possible future expansion.