HOUSTON (FOX 26) - FOX 26 is your station for life in Houston, and our city provides a pretty nice life for most of us. But it doesn't come cheap.
Today the City of Houston presented their 2019 budget, and since it's your tax money, there are a few key points to note.
“It is a tight budget but it is a budget that resolves, will wipe out the $114 million gap,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
First, keep in mind the City of Houston has been dealing with multi-billion dollar funding gaps for pensions they owe. So, like anyone with major debt, they haven’t had a ton of disposable income to throw around.
Good news first: no layoffs.
"No reduction in personnel, no reduction in services,” the mayor says.
The city says they've trimmed all the fat they can without compromising vital functions.
“Further significant reductions in department spending will not be practical,” Mayor Turner says.
Also good news a sale tax increase and a lawsuit settlement brought in millions in extra bucks to help cover a lot of what was in the budget.
What does the budget not include?
With money so tight, there's no cash to throw at lingering issues, like various maintenance repairs that are needed across city buildings.
"We are patching things together,” the mayor says.
Or for the 500 new police the mayor wanted.
"We need additional revenue for public safety,” Mayor Turner says.
The mayor is very happening to have gotten pension reform taken care of last year.
"If we did not have pension reform, add $300 million on top of your cost. So instead of it being like $114 million the budgetary deficit could’ve been about $414 million,” Mayor Turner says.
The city is now preparing for union negotiations where they’ll likely be asked to up wages for a lot of city workers, thus upping the city's cost of operations.