Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Amendments

Today I offered 10 amendments to the City’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget. Here is an update about what I proposed and the outcome:
6.01: Creates a Sunset Review Commission to audit each department/program to review the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. It includes Houstonians and stakeholders to make sure that each department is serving those it is intended.
Outcome: Passed to the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee by the second quarter of the Fiscal Year.
6.02: Creates an incentive plan to offer tax incentives to grocery stores that will deliver fresh groceries to areas where there are food deserts.
Co-Authors: Council Members Sallie Alcorn, Tiffany Thomas
Outcome: Passed
6.03: Creates a special revenue fund for the Department of Neighborhoods so that the fees and fines they assess would stay within the department.
Co-Authors: Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Castex-Tatum, Council Member David Robinson
Outcome: Withdrawn
6.04: Offers an incentive plan for municipal employees who would like to retire early or who are eligible to retire. This is a voluntary program and will not force anyone out.
Outcome: Passed
6.05: A plan will be reviewed to start leasing vehicles instead of purchasing them. I would like to see if we can save money and get much needed vehicles for our fire fighters and police officers.
Outcome: Passed
6.06: Requires the annual proposed budget to start showing line items of all money that has already been encumbered from a previous allocation.
Outcome: Withdrawn. The City is working on a contract management system that will show this information.
6.07: Moves any unused funds from a program that was canceled due to COVID-19 to the Budget Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund).
Outcome: Withdrawn
6.08: Offer voluntary furlough days to municipal employees.
Outcome: Withdrawn. Council Member Robert Gallegos offered the same amendment, and it passed.
6.09: Review an analysis to merge the City and County library systems.
Outcome: Withdrawn. This passed as part of Council Member Sallie Alcorn’s shared services amendment.
6.10: If there are funds not used from the CARES Act or any future allocations related to COVID-19, the money shall be used for hazard pay for City employees including first responders who have been directly working on COVID-19 response.
Outcome: Withdrawn. The mayor said that he does not anticipate any funds being left over, and it will have to come back for a council vote anyway.