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Faced with $169M hole due to coronavirus, oil price slump, Houston City Council passes $5.1Bn budget for FY 21

The Houston skyline on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune
The Houston skyline on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune (Texas Tribune)

HOUSTON – Faced with the biggest budget shortfall in five years due to the coronavirus pandemic and a slump in oil prices, the Houston City Council unanimously approved Mayor Sylvester Turner’s $5.1 billion budget for the fiscal year 2021 Wednesday.

City councilmembers debated for six hours before approving the budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1. They faced a budget hole of $169 million, the worst in recent history, as a result of the pandemic and oil prices. The city also operates under the property tax revenue cap, resulting in lower tax revenues.

Turner said in a press conference Wednesday evening that they were able to avoid furloughing city employees by belt-tightening and tapping into $104 million allotted to the city through the CARES Act.

The budget includes funding for five Houston Police Department cadet classes and four Houston Fire Department cadet classes. The approved budget also restored the city’s fund balance to more than 8%.

“It is a balanced budget that meets the needs of Houston residents,” Turner said in a press conference Wednesday. “We are funding parks, trash collection, libraries, and upgrades to our drainage and streets. This budget provides the basic services our residents expect and deserve.”

You read more about Houston’s FY2021 Operating Budget on the city’s website.


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