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Houston Councilmembers Create Special Fund for Pet Projects

The fund will help district councilmembers address neighborhood problems faster.

The new fund will allocate $1 million annually to each district councilmember to spend on special projects or problems in their individual districts. More than one councilmember pointed out what this fund is not.

“This is simply not a slush fund. It is an opportunity for our district councilmembers to service needs in their particular areas,” Councilmember Brad Bradford said.

“I don’t want this splashed around the media as a slush fund, that’s not what it is,” Councilmember Ellen Cohen said.

Each expenditure from the fund would have to be approved by the mayor and any spending over $50,000 would require full council approval. District J Councilmember Mike Laster calls this a frustration-relief fund.

“In every district across this city there are, at a minimum, $1 million worth of needs. It could be a pothole, or curbs or things that need to be improved inside our parks,” Laster said.

The fund will cost the city $11 million a year, which is just a fraction of the overall $5.2 billion budget. But the city faces a shortfall in the next budget cycle of more than $139 million.

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Laurie Johnson

Newscaster

Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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