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Proposed 2018 budget cuts costs, covers pension, mayor says

HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday announced his proposed 2018 fiscal budget.

Turner said the budget will protect city services and taxpayers and will fully fund the city's pension cost.

Turner said the general fund budget of $2.3 billion is up $35 million from the current fiscal year. He said this budget will increase property taxes by .6 percent. Sales tax will go up by 1 percent.

“For the second consecutive year, we have closed a challenging deficit, and done so through actions that strengthen our financial position on a recurring basis,” Turner said. “Each city department, the employee unions and pension systems, city council and other parties have worked together to identify cost savings and efficiencies while preserving a healthy fund balance, minimizing employee layoffs and maintaining critical city services. As a result, we balanced our budget and I’m proud that for the first time in a long while, Houston is positioned to make its full required payment to all three employee pension systems.”

RAW VIDEO: Mayor Turner releases proposed 2018 budget 

There will also be reductions in about 23 departments by natural attrition and overtime hours, but there will only be about 10 layoffs, he said.

Turner said this budget is all dependent on Houston's pension solution passing the Senate without added amendments

"This is a bare bones conservative fiscally sound budget. It does deal with the priorities, the priorities that we are able to afford to pay and this is the proposed budget that I am submitting and have submitted to city council," Turner said.

He said he is optimistic that the pension solution will pass in the Senate. He said he is also looking forward to working with city council members on the budget.

The budget is heading to city council for approval.

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