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Budget Wins Approval

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and members of city council spent a whole day in the budget discussion that resulted in passage of the 4.1-billion dollar spending blueprint. Pat Hernandez has more.


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Before the grueling 7-hour discussion on amendments began, Mayor Parker laid some ground rules on procedure.

“When we have all of them on the floor at the same time, some council members may withdraw their amendments, or may coalesce around one, we’ll work through that. I will recognize the maker of the motion to speak first.”

Right away, an amendment by council member Al Hoang to cut the city council office budget by three percent or nearly 8-thousand dollars per office, was voted down 11-3. It would have saved about 109-thousand dollars. The mayor and council discussed an amendment by council member C.O. Bradford that sought to clarify cutting “unspecified efficiencies” from the budget to save 22-million dollars.

“I am looking for in this motion, for the administration to quantify those 22-million dollars in savings. Let’s not kid ourselves, if we get pushed hard from a fiscal standpoint, we’d be required to make some further cuts. So, mayor if you would, regurgitate that language, (laughter) and I’ll see if I can accept is as a friendly amendment or table it, please.”

Parker: “Regurgitate, (cough) I will try to clarify. You are absolutely correct that we are beginning to find these 22-million dollars in savings through efficiencies. It is not intended to cut specific services. With the indulgence of the fiscal affairs chair, we can support the motion to table to fiscal affairs with a monthly report from the administration on progress on achieving the 22-million dollars in savings?”

Bradford: ” So moved.”

All told, there were 96-amendments proposed by Bradford and his council colleagues.

“We’ve seen healthy, productive debate. I’m very pleased most of my amendments were received favorably. I’m happy about that. I appreciate my colleagues and the mayor for supporting those, but we have a long way to go. I think we’ll be here much longer than I anticipated.”

Mayor Parker’s budget proposal eventually passed by a unanimous vote, without a tax increase or massive cuts in public safety. 

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