Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner Proposes FY 2019 Budget That Closes $114 Million Gap, Avoids Layoffs and Maintains a Healthy Fund Balance
May 8, 2018 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner announced details today of his proposed Fiscal Year 2019 budget that closes a $114 million gap, avoids layoffs, prioritizes public safety and maintains a healthy fund balance.
The proposed $2.48 billion General Fund budget is an increase of $83 million or 3.5 percent from the FY2018 budget. Public safety represents approximately 57 percent of the budget, and the remaining General Fund dollars are allocated to other essential city services such as parks, libraries, health and trash removal.
"It is important for the people of Houston to understand how their tax money is invested in keeping our city strong and providing essential services," Mayor Turner said. "I feel very good about this budget we're putting forth."
Details on closing the $114 million gap:
- $15.8 million from the special revenue funds
- $7.3 million from department reductions.*no reductions for police and no reductions for fire*
- $80 million cut from departments over three years
- $3.6 million due to a revision of the financial policies changing the General Fund transfer to the Maintenance Renewal and Replacement Fund
- $3.4 million in debt prepayment for the Building Inspection Fund
- $84 million drawdown in Fund Balance. (This drawdown is possible because of the Towers lawsuit settlement and an increase in FY2018 sales taxes.)
Over the past two years, the city has made progress in addressing financial challenges by streamlining operations, eliminating redundancies and achieving lasting pension reform, but the work is not done.
The city is still faced with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In FY18, the Budget Stabilization Fund was depleted in the amount of $20 million to address the immediate financial burden from Hurricane Harvey.The city must maintain a healthy fund balance heading into hurricane season. Additional challenges include the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) reform, millions in deferred building maintenance costs and the need to increase the number of Houston police officers.
"There is no question we need additional revenue for public safety purposes, I want to be very clear, and this conversation needs to take place," Mayor Turner said. "As long as we are underneath the existing revenue cap, we will always be falling short every single year. We are the only city in the state of Texas that is operating under a revenue cap."
For additional information, the complete proposed FY '19 budget may be found online.
The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2018.