HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has given his first State of the City address.
“When I was elected Mayor there were many who said I was coming into office at the worst time. They said the city is broke Sylvester,” but Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he has some solutions beginning with naming Steve Costello as Houston's first flood Czar or Chief Resilience Officer to come up with strategies to reduce flooding in Houston.
“Steve is a Civil Engineer who has worked on numerous drainage projects. He's a former At-Large City Councilmember with a passion for our city,” explains the mayor.
Costello will be paid from grant funding because the city is certainly facing financial difficulty. The mayor will make his budget proposal next week.
“It assumes the very worse, a budgetary shortfall of $160-million. This is the largest fiscal challenge the city has faced since the Great Recession,” explains Mayor Turner.
So Mayor Turner says some city workers will lose their jobs. “We'll eliminate fifty-four permanent positions. Forty active employees will be laid off”.
100 employees are being offered early retirement.
“No police or firefighters will be laid off and there will be five police cadet classes instead of the usual four,” explains Mayor Turner, which means there will be more officers on the street. In his first State of the City address Mayor Turner also spoke of plans to move 175 officers from desk duty back to street patrol.
He pulled public works employees on stage to thank them for filling more than 16,000 potholes since he's taken office and the pension?
“We must reduce the unfunded pension obligations now and in the future”. The Mayor closed out the address with a roaring applause from the audience. “Together let’s build a city of opportunities that excels beyond our wildest expectations”.