Tag Archives: budget

B-Cycle’s reprieve runs out

Sad to see it go. Houston’s long-struggling system of on-demand bicycles is reaching the end of the trail. BCycle, the system of kiosks with available bikes spread around downtown, Midtown and other locations will close June 30, officials with the … Continue reading

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Controller Hollins has not certified the firefighter deal yet

In case you were wondering. Hours after Mayor John Whitmire told City Council members on Friday that Controller Chris Hollins plans to certify the mayor’s landmark contract with the Houston firefighters union, Hollins walked back that claim, saying his review … Continue reading

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Board of Managers passes Mike Miles’ budget

It was a close vote, but as we kids used to say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. In their most divided vote taken to date, members of Houston ISD’s state-appointed school board on Thursday narrowly approved a … Continue reading

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Council approves bond deal for firefighter back pay

This is a big component of the firefighter pay deal, just not the whole thing. Houston City Council approved Wednesday a historic bond deal, estimated to cost taxpayers over $1 billion, to spread $650 million in backpay to firefighters over … Continue reading

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Miles to decimate wraparound services

This is a bad idea. State-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said social work services for students will be provided by a trimmer team of wraparound specialists who will each serve multiple campuses and refer students to off-campus support centers. Houston ISD … Continue reading

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Hollins not ready to certify firefighters’ deal

Welp. The proposed $1.5 billion settlement and labor contract with the Houston firefighters union appears unlikely to be certified in time for Wednesday’s scheduled City Council vote because a lengthy list of questions Controller Chris Hollins sent Mayor John Whitmire … Continue reading

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It’s Greg Abbott’s fault if your school district is facing a budget crunch

News item #1: Houston-area school districts brace for big budget cuts. Staring down a $100 million deficit budget, even after deciding to close three campuses in February, Aldine ISD trustees have a difficult decision to make this week. Voting on … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire wants to get rid of ShotSpotter

Fine by me. Mayor John Whitmire revealed plans to scrap the city’s $3.5 million ShotSpotter program, positioning Houston as the latest city government to abandon the controversial gunshot detection technology after a brief experiment. “I think it is a gimmick,” … Continue reading

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Firefighter deal details released

Just in time for the start of budget talks. A proposed settlement between Mayor John Whitmire and the city’s firefighters union could result in major changes to the Houston Fire Department beyond the deal’s $1.5 billion cost. Under the terms … Continue reading

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Harris County seeks a new direction for HART

Hopefully a solid reset and restart. Possibly even with the same vendor, if they can make the best offer and no other questions come up. Harris County officials on Tuesday began making new plans to extend a program that sends … Continue reading

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Firefighter settlement officially approved

The legalities are mostly over, but there are still a bunch of items to handle. A state district court judge has signed off on a settlement between the city of Houston and the firefighter union, clearing one obstacle for a … Continue reading

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HART trouble

Not great. Harris County paused its Holistic Assistance Response Teams on Wednesday after Commissioners Court failed to reach an agreement on whether to pay the vendor operating the program. At issue is a $270,000 payment to Disaster Emergency Medical Assistance … Continue reading

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First look at the HISD budget

We’re up to $500 million in cuts. But we still don’t have any details. The multibillion-dollar question of how Houston ISD intends to balance its budget went largely unanswered Thursday night, with district administrators revealing few specifics about job or … Continue reading

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More on the improper use of funds allegations against Mike Miles

Other outlets are on this now. A state lawmaker and Houston teachers are calling for Houston Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles to be investigated after a Spectrum News report revealed that millions in Texas public school tax dollars may … Continue reading

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Is this an opportunity for cooperative cost savings?

Reading through this story about how Harris County is spending the public safety portion of its 2022 bond funds, I have a question. New Harris County law enforcement facilities are one step closer to breaking ground after Commissioners Court earlier … Continue reading

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A “WTF, HISD?” roundup

Expect more protests later this week. Houston ISD families plan to protest Saturday morning near City Hall as word of forced principal and teacher departures rip through campuses as the end of the first year since state takeover approaches. Community … Continue reading

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Mayor Whitmire unveils his first budget

Here ya go. Amid Houston’s strained financial outlook, Mayor John Whitmire unveiled a $6.7 billion budget proposal on Tuesday, announcing he does not intend to raise taxes or significantly cut city services during the fiscal year starting in July. The … Continue reading

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Multiple schools protest Mike Miles

The people are angry. Roughly 200 parents and students started their day protesting in front of Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, one of many Houston ISD campuses sent into turmoil last week with news that their principal was … Continue reading

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More on the coming HISD cuts

I repeat, this is going to suck. An undisclosed number of Houston ISD teachers and principals received notices this week that they will be out of a job, state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said Thursday. Miles said principals have begun making … Continue reading

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What could it have cost for the firefighters?

City Controller Chris Hollins throws out some numbers and kicks up a fuss. Houston Controller Chris Hollins faced fierce criticism from firefighters union president Marty Lancton, after estimating that equalizing past pay for Houston firefighters with their peers in other … Continue reading

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HISD budget cuts coming

This is going to get ugly. Houston ISD’s state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said Friday afternoon that the school district is facing an estimated $450 million gap in funding that will largely be made up by staff reductions as federal pandemic … Continue reading

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Solid Waste study approved

Could this be the precursor to a garbage fee? Maybe. As Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department faces ongoing challenges in providing basic services, such as consistent garbage collection and recycling pickup, City Council has promised to give the department a … Continue reading

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Parking meter extended hours proposal withdrawn

Probably dead, though I suppose it could come back. Proposals to make it easier to extend parking meter enforcement hours and install speed cushions did not advance at Houston’s inaugural Proposition A committee meeting Tuesday, after both failed to meet … Continue reading

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Zombie ReBuild lawsuit returns with a vengeance

Unbelievable. Houston City Hall will have to use significantly more tax money to fight flooding with street and drainage projects, after an appeals court sided Tuesday with engineers in a years-long lawsuit over how much funding the city devotes to … Continue reading

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City workers gear up for their next contract

Believe it or not, the city has employees who are not with the police or the fire department, and they like earning a decent salary, too. Houston’s municipal employees union, HOPE AFSCME Local 123, is expected to begin its contract … Continue reading

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Parking meter extension proposal sent to Prop A committee

We sure do live in a different world now. City Council voted on Wednesday to send a proposal extending parking meter enforcement times to committee following a clash between council members who introduced the agenda item and those who expressed … Continue reading

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Still waiting on details for paying the firefighters

A lot of the same stuff we’ve heard before here, but a little bit more details. Houston Mayor John Whitmire detailed his last three months as the fourth-largest city’s top boss and outlined some of his ongoing projects in a … Continue reading

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Extending parking meter hours downtown

I’m okay with this. Houston City Council will vote to extend the time residents will have to pay city parking meters on Wednesday. The current ordinance requires drivers who park in metered spots to pay between 7 a.m. and 6 … Continue reading

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Controller Hollins puts firefighter settlement tab at up to $1.3 billion

That’s once you factor in interest payments over the life of the bonds that will be issued to cover this. Houston Mayor John Whitmire’s proposed settlement with the firefighters union could cost significantly more than previously advertised, City Controller Chris … Continue reading

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We return to the question of “how will we pay for the firefighter agreement” question

Gonna keep asking it until we get a full answer. Mayor John Whitmire’s administration is weighing all options, including hiking the city’s property tax rate and charging residents a garbage collection fee, to help pay for its landmark settlement with … Continue reading

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We’ll see what City Council makes of the firefighter pay agreement

There’s a bit of pushback happening. Mayor John Whitmire’s administration and officials from the Houston firefighters union are hoping to get final approval in May or June on a massive settlement deal to end their nearly decade-long contract stalemate. The … Continue reading

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Price tag for firefighter back pay revealed

From the inbox: Mayor John Whitmire and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association announced today a historic deal to end an eight-year impasse. The $650 million settlement to finally resolve the city’s looming liability addresses longstanding pay issues dating back … Continue reading

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In which I learn about our use of “Dataminr”

I have three things to say about this. The Houston Police Department will stay in the ranks of law enforcement agencies around the country using software to monitor social media for information on criminal activity following a City Council vote … Continue reading

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More on the HPD dropped cases

Mayor Whitmire wants some answers. Houston Mayor John Whitmire on Wednesday called for an independent investigation into the Houston Police Department over how and why more than 264,000 cases were declared suspended for lack of personnel. “I trust and believe … Continue reading

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