Houston Fire and Police Departments $14M over budget before hosting World Series

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A quick walk around Minute Maid Park tells you security and emergency response is paramount this week.

And in the city's emergency operations center, the dozens of cameras pointed downtown only emphasize that point.

"We're sort of the eyes of Houston," said Michael Walter with the City of Houston Emergency Operations. "We're trying to make sure the events happen safely, that everyone has a great time at them, and that we can get traffic moving in and out of the area as quickly and as safely as possible. We're activating Friday afternoon. We'll be activated through the evenings, through the games. And as the games let out, as some other activities let out, we're going to stay up and running to support primarly the Houston Police Department as they do their job keeping everybody safe."

As Houston police told Eyewitness News on Monday, the Houston Fire Department told us today. They too are ready to go with extra staff and gear.

"We're no strangers to having special events," said Isaac Garcia, a supervisor within the department. "We're no strangers to having big events."

But through August of this year, police and fire were already more than $14 million over budget. Most of it not Harvey-related, and it is a hole that grows deeper with the World Series coming to town.

"Something will have to give to make this happen," said Mayor Sylvester Turner when asked about the cost of overtime. "We've dealt with big events before, and we will do what we need to do to maintain public safety in this city. You can't nickel and dime that."

What will give? The mayor didn't specifiy, but he did acknowledge the cost and the strain it puts on a tight budget. Firefighters know the stress is there too. But the department said it will ask Major League Baseball to foot a large portion of the expected overtime to keep the city safe.

"Obviously there will be an expense for this as there was for the Super Bowl," said the department's Richard Mann. "The NFL was responsible for a portion of those costs and reimbursed some of the expenses of Super Bowl. So it stands to reason we'll be making the same request to Major League Baseball."

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