Houston Mayor Unveils City Budget Proposal

“Budget 2025 will not increase your taxes or cut services,” Whitmire said. “In fact, I’m going to document it right away, it improves services.”

HOUSTON — Balancing multiple fiscal challenges, Mayor Johh Whitmire outlined his proposed municipal budget for fiscal 2025, avoiding tax hikes and garbage fees but also warning of tough financial choices that lie ahead. are emerging in the future.

Whitmire announced a $6.7 billion budget Tuesday, outlining his priorities as the city struggles with budget shortfalls.

“Budget 2025 will not increase your taxes or cut services,” Whitmire said. “In fact, I will document in a moment, it improves services.”

Whitmire said his proposal did not include a property tax increase or other proposed revenue-raising mechanisms, such as trash collection fees or extending parking meter hours at the downtown city.

Instead, the mayor said he intends to cover an estimated $160 million deficit using some of the city’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The vision, the mayor said, is to use fiscal year 2025 as a path to better financial footing for the city in fiscal year 2026.

In the future, reductions will likely be imminent.

“Everything is on the table,” Whitmire said. “We’re going to listen to Houstonians, we’re going to see where the cost savings have taken us and then we’re going to make some tough decisions. We have no choice.”

Whitmire said it was likely the Houston City Council would approve a contract with a team from Ernst & Young to conduct a citywide efficiency assessment to find ways to reduce costs and to make services more efficient.

The mayor’s proposed budget and long-term plans must also balance the deal he struck with the firefighters’ union. The proposed 2025 budget incorporates salary increases that are part of the new collective bargaining agreement, although the details are still being worked out, the mayor said.

At Tuesday’s event, the mayor reiterated his belief that the fire department deal should move forward and become part of the city’s financial reality.

“I don’t have time for politics when we’re writing a budget or playing games,” Whitmire said. “There is a time to campaign and there is a time to go to work. The time for work is upon us.

The budget proposal does not include adjustments related to a recent appeals court ruling in a case alleging the city misused funds intended for drainage projects. The move could cost the city millions of dollars, but Whitmire said Tuesday that conversations are underway between the city and attorneys for the plaintiffs to reach a settlement soon.

Another part of Whitmire’s efforts to improve the city’s financial health includes greater collaboration with the private sector and leveraging his experience at the State Capitol to improve Austin’s aid and funding to Houston.

Economy City Hall Tour

Officials are expected to hold four town hall meetings to discuss the proposed budget with the public. After the visit, the budget process is submitted to the city council for review. Below are the details of these events.

  • May 16 at 6 p.m.
    • South West Multiservice Center
    • 6400, High Star reader
  • May 18 at 11 a.m.
    • Port of Denver Full Service Center
    • 642, rue du Marché
  • May 21 at 6:30 p.m.
    • Sagemont Park Community Center
    • 11507 Hughes Road
  • May 28 at 6 p.m.
    • White Oak Conference Center
    • 7603 Antoine Drive

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