Proposed City Budget Increases Public Safety Funding

Mayor Bill White has proposed a $3.1 billion city budget for the 2008 fiscal year, a five percent increase over this year's budget, but one that doesn't require a property tax hike. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The bulk of the money in the Mayor's proposed budget goes to public safety, with an increase of $53 million in spending for police, fire and EMS. White also proposes additional spending on library's, bike trails and recreation centers. Within the next few weeks city council will begin taking a closer look at the proposed budget, a process that councilwoman Toni Lawrence says isn't always easy.

"They'll always be bumps, they'll always be bumps. As everything is studied, as different directors come forward and present their budgets, you know we always have questions and some of them will get answered before we get to the table. Public safety, various things like that. They'll always be something."

Total proposed spending for the upcoming budget is about $158 million more than the current budget. The city is also expected to pay several hundred million on debt service in the new budget. The new fiscal year begins July 1st.

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