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Councilman Costello wants input on how to preserve COH services but trim budget


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from Costello enewsletter


The City of Houston's core services are public safety, water and wastewater, streets and drainage, and solid waste management.

Armed with this very clear cut definition, council members will determine which activities they deem to be directly or indirectly "core," and which activities may be more discretionary and in need of elimination or reduction.  Through this core service exercise, city council members are getting involved in the budget process much earlier in the cycle in order to make recommendations to the administration before next year's proposed budget is formulated.

Please contact Council Member Costello with your thoughts on this definition and how you think the city can trim its budget.

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We should have automated speeding ticket cameras all over the city.


edit: plus legal weed.^

This city would become the richest city in the world - in 24 hours.


I'd like to add with today's technology, that along with speeding ticket cameras, also litter cameras. If they pick up something flying out of the bed of a pick up truck, someone flicking their cigarette out the window, or their mcdonald's bag. BAM licence plate picture and fine.

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  • 4 weeks later...

wondering what the suggestions were. . . . here's the result according to Costellos enewsletter



City Council voted to update the city's financial policies at this morning's council meeting. These policies, based on best practices established by the Government Finance Officers Association, will institutionalize sound financial management and bring greater discipline, transparency and accountability to the budget process. Further, the policies will support good bond ratings, promote long-term strategic thinking and mange risks to the city's financial position.
Included in the new policies:
Setting the city's desired minimum reserves to 7.5 percent of General Fund expenditures, less debt service, to further hedge against risk;
Requiring a 2/3 vote of council to spend below the minimum reserve level;
Creating a Budget Stabilization Fund (formerly the Rainy Day Fund) to cover emergencies, natural and economic;
Establishing a general claim risk reserve for health benefit claims;
Ensuring that sufficient funds are contributed each year to the post-employment and employee benefit systems;
Properly funding the maintenance of facilities, fleet and information technology in both the operating and capital budgets;
Reviewing city fees every five years and total employee compensation every three years;
Disallowing spending beyond what is set forth in the adopted budget each year;
Reducing the maximum General Fund transfer for debt service over time;
Establishing a Request for Information process to select underwriters for financial transactions;
Setting a framework to strengthen internal controls over financial reporting; and
Prioritizing economic development projects, setting forth eligibility and selection criteria and requiring annual reporting on project performance.
"I've been working with finance department officials over the past year to draft these policies," Costello says.  "I'm grateful to my colleagues for recognizing the need to update the city's current financial policies. These changes will force some much needed discipline into our budgeting and spending practices."

The last update to the city's financial policies was in 1989.


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