|Dear District F:
This week’s newsletter has a substantial amount of information. I encourage you to take the time and read through at your leisure, so you are aware of what is happening in your city and neighborhood.
The city budget was announced on Wednesday, May 11th. State law requires the city to retain 7% of the city’s fund balance in our account; I am pleased to share that we have exceeded the minimum, and we have 13%. Which places us in a healthy financial position as we move to post-pandemic activities. A special note in the budget is several significant expenses that you must understand. Close to 54% of the budget is employees – 76% of that group is classified, which means public safety, largely Houston Police and Fire. All employee groups received raises over the next three years, starting in 2021.
HPD 4% (12%)
HFD 6% (18%)
HOPE 3% (9%)
Our budget does not account for population growth or any one-time land sales, which are essential for our forecasting. I am sharing this information to inform you how your city is funded, operating, and our spending priorities.
Mayor Turner shared he will present an ordinance to the council at the end of the month to increase the tax exemption for 65 and up with home value at $160,000 to $260,000 to adjust for the market value increase.
Community engagement and feedback are imperative to all of our work, and I want to invite you to participate in the city budget workshops held in person and virtually. If you are interested in how solid waste, Houston police, housing, and parks are funded, please tune in and sign up for public comment.
Speaking of engagement District F is hosting our very first capital improvement project meeting on May 17th; you must attend to participate in several meaningful discussions such as REDISTRICTING and PENDING/COMPLETE CIPs. Houston Public Works (HPW) has been informed to prepare responses to the following projects that were scheduled (2015-2020) and not funded:
N-210014 Catalina Area 4042 – Street & Traffic Control and Storm and Drainage
N-210006 Huntington Village Sec 4 Area Street & Traffic Control and Storm and Drainage
M-410009 HPW Briarmeadow (South) Area Drainage and Paving Improvements
I have received many emails from residents complaining about 18-wheelers and mechanic shops parking on easements and on public streets for more than 24hrs. As a Regulatory and Neighborhood Affairs member, I am working with Councilwoman Sallie Alcorn to review the current ordinance and address this ongoing issue in our city and our district. We plan to present options this summer, and if you are interested in participating in our stakeholder group, please get in touch with me directly so I can add you to the list. Many of you have worked with my office as an extra set of eyes — I would love to have your input as we review the ordinance and present Mayor Turner’s administration with a possible option.
Continuing with quality of life and blight, I am thrilled to report that the mobile home/trailer owner located on Alief Clodine and West Houston Ave personally affirmed that he would move the trailer by this weekend. On Tuesday, he attended the public session to address another issue, and I used my time to remind him of our shared commitment to keeping our communities safe and clean. After ten months of false starts, I look forward to reporting back a permanent resolution.
Summer is soon here, and I hope you join me and others on Sunday, May 15th, at Hackberry Park for CIGNA Sunday In The Park from 12-5 pm. This is an excellent opportunity to enjoy food, music, and games for children. Don’t forget your sunscreen; it will be a hot one!
Lastly, the city has 30 swimming pools, and we desperately need lifeguards this summer. We have 33 and need 111 for our swimming pools to be fully operable as of Wednesday. If you have a child, grandchild, neighborhood, or student that would be interested in receiving training and getting paid $11 per hour, please send them our way. It would be a travesty for us not to offer a resource residents contribute to because we do not have the labor to open our gates. Please help!
As of Thursday, May 12th at 6pm – Solid Waste Recycling – Week B is delayed; please leave your container on the curb.
Be kind to each other; we are all we have.
Councilwoman Tiffany D. Thomas