Turner: Unanimous Budget OK Sends Strong Message. Mike Morris, HoustonChronicle.com ($$$)
Councilman Greg Travis' attempt to cut an additional 1.5 percent from the budget failed, with only his vote in support. Councilman Jerry Davis' proposal to partially restore the 11 district council members' cherished service funds passed unanimously.Turner's proposal had cut that two-year-old program - which gives district members $1 million to spend in their areas - to $250,000 per district. The members will keep those general fund dollars but, thanks to Davis' amendment, each will get an additional $500,000 from cash the city receives from the Metropolitan Transit Authority for infrastructure repairs.The combined $5.5 million is part of nearly $62 million in so-called "general mobility" payments the city expects to receive from the transit agency in the coming fiscal year. That figure does not include another roughly $60 million that Metro will contribute to specific capital projects in the city.
Sorry for the long block-quote but this is the important part of a long story.
In short, the City Council of Houston REALLY wanted their slush-funds restored and, when they received most of the funding back (to shower on people who can help their re-election chances/financial well-being after term limits) they acquiesced to the Mayor and passed his budget.
Supposed 'rabble-rouser' Kubosh only required $110K to cave, on a pet program to pull cars out of the Bayou.
So, in some sense, Turner is correct, the unanimous passage of the budget DID send a strong message. The message that the Houston Way system of patronage is alive, well and thriving under his watch.
Fiscal prudence? Not so much.
And in case you're keeping score: Under Turner Patronage > general mobility.
And the vacuum continues to expand.