Houston council members allocate funds to various districts for projects

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For City Council members, getting projects completed for constituents is probably one of their top priorities. Now that's going to get easier (KTRK)



On this stretch of North Main near 20th Street, orange cones and messy sidewalks signal frustration to some, but progress to many. An overhaul decades in the making is finally underway. The new drainage project is being paid for by Rebuild Houston, The pay-as-you-go plan passed by voters four years ago.

However, the way Rebuild Houston has operated is proving to be frustrating to many civic activists.

"The Rebuild Houston fund has been a great disappointment to many community members," says Jane West, a long time civic leader in the Old Sixth Ward.

West says the formula to determine what street and drainage projects come up first can be manipulated. West says many of her neighbors want more input on what street and drainage projects are needed in their neighborhood.

On Wednesday, City Council made a controversial move that could actually increase neighborhood imput.

"I don't care where the money sits," fumed Council Member C.O. Bradford, who championed the change.

Basically, council members voted to take $6 million out of the Rebuild Houston fund and put the money toward the Council District Service Budget.

Last month, City Council passed an amendment giving each council member $1 million a year to spend on small community projects. Now, $6 million from Rebuild Houston will go toward funding that.

Council Member Stephen Costello, a champion of Rebuild Houston, was one of two council members to vote against the change.

"There is this overall lack of trust in government. So for me, it's more about public perception. That's what I'm worried about," said Costello.

He continued, "I'm not disappointed, it's just going to make my job a little harder as I'm talking to the community, about a lock box for Rebuild Houston."

Mayor Annise Parker says she'll make sure the money is spent wisely..

As for West, she says the community will be watching.

"I'm cautiously optimistic about it. But i'm highly skeptical," West said.

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