On June 16th, Mayor Annise Parker met with City Council Members (all except CM Jones) who presented their individual budget amendments to the FY2011 proposed budget for the City of Houston. Council Member Bradford presented CM Jones’ amendments for her in her absence, submitting them under the name Bradford-Jones.
This meeting allowed for each Council Member to get their amendments on the table so that the other members of the Council, prior to next week’s meeting, may review them. Council members then have time to prepare before discussing the amendments at the June 23rd meeting. Mayor Parker was sure to ask the Council Members to limit their amendment presentations to simple explanations at this particular meeting, as next week’s meeting is set aside for them to advocate and further discuss details of the proposed budget amendments.
Below are some highlights from the amendment presentations. Proposed amendments are available to view online, at the end of the meeting notes for June 16, 2010.
CM Clutterbuck proposed ten amendments, one of which included removing unfilled positions that have been vacant for three months or longer. Clutterbuck also proposed that bilingual pay (an extra $75 a month) be eliminated for non-classified employees.
CM Stardig proposed an amendment that would require departments to submit their departmental goals according to the SMART method. Another amendment from Council Member Stardig would have the legal and planning departments form a partnership to design a constructive deed restriction tool for neighborhoods to utilize.
CM Adams proposed an amendment similar to amendments proposed by several other Council Members that supported improving the deed restriction and dangerous building demolition programs.
CM Sullivan only said that he had thirty-plus amendments to share with the Council that related to citywide issues rather than being district specific, but he did not discuss them in any more detail than that. Each Council Member receives hard copies of all proposed budget amendments, so CM Sullivan’s amendments will be reviewed by Council Members at another time.
CM Hoang proposed an amendment to the budget that would reduce every Council Member’s office budget by three percent; he believes it is important for the Council Members to be models for the City’s other departments, as they are also asking them to cut their budgets as well. Several other Council Members proposed similar amendments.
CM Pennington offered an amendment to the budget regarding neighborhood policing and forming partnerships with local surveillance groups. CM Costello proposed an amendment that would fund a study to be performed by PW&E regarding streets and drainage in sister cities. CM Rodriguez offered an amendment that supports neighborhood safety through such techniques as safe sidewalks and speed cushions.
CM Gonzalez offered an amendment that would bring transparency to the departmental budget presentation process through an independent review by a stakeholders committee. He also proposed an amendment that would have the PW&E and Planning departments unify their databases so that their operations are better coordinated. Also, CM Gonzalez discussed a proposed amendment that would allow for the assessment of the number of unregistered pets in the City of Houston for better enforcement in the future.
CM Noriega presented three amendments dealing with increased efficiencies. She would like a review of public safety resources and how the City is interacting with other entities. Also, she proposed that a position be created to help the public with the permitting process.
CM Bradford had eight amendment proposals to share with council, in addition to six more from CM Jones, who was absent from the meeting as she was away representing the Council at a HUD meeting. One of Council Member Bradford’s proposed amendments would create a full-time after school/summer program coordinator position; another proposed amendment would have core services of the City of Houston identified so that they may be maintained and not impacted by efforts to consolidate City operations. One of CM Jones’ proposed amendments, presented by CM Bradford, would increase marketing for the City’s recycling program.
CMs Johnson and Lovell had no amendments to offer.
All of the proposed amendements from the June 16th meeting were adopted and tagged for further discussion by the Council at the meeting on June 23rd.
(Photo Credit: eschipul)
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