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City of Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner To Council Members: Don’t Mess With My Budget

Houston’s mayor warns that changes to his proposed budget could result in more layoffs and further affect the city’s credit rating.

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The Houston City Council started its series of budget workshops this week. As part of the process, council members interview the heads of the city's 23 departments and divisions to understand their individual budgets.

At Wednesday's regular council meeting, Mayor Sylvester Turner took the opportunity to emphasize, once again, that he doesn't want council members to make significant changes to his budget.

"If you try to add money back to it, you're going to lay off more people, you're going to eliminate that cadet class,” Turner said. “But most importantly, you may jeopardize the credit rating of this city."

Turner's proposed budget closes a $160 million deficit.

Several council members expressed concern because at this point the mayor has only released a summary of his budget and they don't understand it in detail yet.

"We cannot — or at least I cannot — formulate a legitimate amendment to help you with this budget, maybe find better places to spend money or not spend money, without the detailed information," council member Mike Knox said.

Turner said he will continue to provide council members with as much information about the budget as possible.

He plans to release the full budget on May 10 and the council is scheduled to vote on it on May 25 — a month ahead of last year's schedule.

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