Houston city council approves $5.7 billion budget without firefighter hazard pay

Houston City Council has approved Mayor Sylvester Turner’s $5.7 billion budget largely without objection.

Collectively, through dozens of budget amendments, Council Members sought to spend millions of additional dollars on items ranging from flood control studies to new chairs at City Hall.


The Mayor said "no" and no member of the council has the political support to challenge.

Perhaps the largest and most controversial budget amendment was a one-time "hazardous duty" payment of $3,000 to every Houston firefighter.

"This national emergency brought new challenges to an already dangerous profession along with a dramatic increase in workload," said Marty Lancton, firefighter union president in support of the measure.

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The $11 million expenditure proposed by Council Member Letitia Plummer was aimed at compensating firefighters for extreme risks endured during the pandemic. Mayor Turner challenged the fairness of the measure.

"To go now and add another $11 million, I mean they have been working under hazardous conditions and I respect that and acknowledge that," said Mayor Turner. "So has police, so has the Health Department, solid waste, so when you go down this road, you may as well go down the whole row."

The "hazard pay" proposal for firefighters was rejected, without a vote, after the City Attorney claimed the measure would represent a violation of the City Charter.

"The FY23 budget prioritizes city services and ensures that we place the greatest care on our most valuable asset as a city—our people," the mayor added in a press release statement. "Firefighters will gain a 6% increase, 4% for police, and 3% for municipal workers during the next fiscal year."


The Mayor’s budget as adopted increases total City spending by more than 9 percent over last year and raises the pay of all City employees.
 You can read more information on the budget by clicking here.