Houston City Council to keep Council Service program

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Even though much of the budget can't be altered, Houston Council Members do try to pass a variety of pet projects that would be popular for their individual constituents.

One part of the budget that has proven to have wide support is the Council Service Budget. First passed last year, it allots each of the 11 District Council Members $1 million to spend on small projects in their neighborhoods. The requests still need mayoral approval, but can cut through much of the red tape.

"I believe the service budgets have been very well received by the community," said community activist Jane West. "I'd like to see them continued; the only thing we like to see a little clarification in the process."

The service budget passed Wednesday afternoon. But much of the rest of the amendments proposed by council members will not make it on the final budget.

There are a variety of proposed amendments. For example, Council Member Michael Kubosh wants money to pull submerged cars from Houston's bayous. Using city funds for that is problematic, says Mayor Parker, because the Bayous are Harris County property.

Council Member C.O. Bradford wants to pay police officers to live in city limits.

"I think there are adequate resources in the police department's budget to fund an officer residency program for those Houston police officers," said Bradford.

Other ideas target specific areas different City Council members represent, whether in Kingwood, Clear Lake, or Southwest Houston, for example.

The Council is expected to pass the budget some point Wednesday night. The fiscal year starts in July.
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