April 7: Council approved the purchase of 156 vehicles at a cost of $4 million for various city departments. The bulk of this purchase includes 98 Dodge Chargers for the Police Department.
Council approved the City extending the lease with a local hotel to house city employees for quarantine purposes. The extension of the contract is for a reduction in the number of rooms from 126 to 32 and for a length of an additional 90 days. The federal government is reimbursing the city to lease these rooms.
April 14: Council approved spending authority of $942,812 to pay for emergency items at both airports during the February winter storm. The items include de-icing liquid and pellets along with snow removal equipment. It is the City’s intent to seek federal funding sources for eligible expenditures.
Council authorized an agreement with a non-profit to spend $10.2 million in federal and state funds over 3 years to provide homeless shelter and services. Services include rent and utility payments, technical assistance and training, and other services for homeless persons to eventually provide for themselves.
Council approved an agreement with a non-profit to spend $1 million in federal funds over 3 years to provide a juvenile delinquency prevention program. The purpose of the program is to deter delinquency for at-risk youth or to prevent further delinquency from youth who are status offenders. Services include substance abuse deterrence and treatment, adolescent health education, educational services designed to prevent school dropouts, youth employability programs, prevention of gang membership, and other services related to preventing juvenile delinquency.
April 21: Council approved spending $204,000 to purchase three animal control vehicles for BARC. These vehicles are replacing older vehicles and will be utilized to transport animals safely and comfortably from the point of pickup to a City facility.
Council approved spending $188,860 to purchase 83 Thermal Imaging Cameras for the Fire Department. These specialized camera devices are used by fire fighters to see areas of heat through smoke, darkness or heat-permeable barriers. These life saving devices are critical during a fire event.
Council approved the purchase of two airboats and trailers for the Public Works Department at a cost of $205,562. These airboats will be used by the Wastewater Operations to clean area bayous of dead wildlife, emergency rescues, and to gain access to wastewater treatment plants when they are flooded.
Council approved the purchase of asphaltic pavement concrete for $31.8 million over five years. This material will be used by Public Works, the Airport System, and the Parks Department to repair pavement failures, street potholes, and damaged roadways.
April 28: The Director of Public Works delivered a presentation to council about the need to increase water and wastewater rates over the next several years to pay for public works infrastructure. The Administration is proposing an increase of approximately 50% in water and wastewater rates over the next five years. The presentation can be found here
The Mayor is expected to place this matter for council consideration sometime in May.
Council approved the final contract for the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements for $17.1 million. Improvements to the plant included the aeration system, and electrical and instrumentation systems.
Council approved the Mayor’s schedule for City Department budget presentations, as well as designating June 2 as the date when the City’s budget will be voted upon. For a calendar of the upcoming budget schedule, click here
Council approved providing federal Harvey dollars to partially fund the reconstruction of the building located at 2100 Memorial Drive near downtown. This 13-story building with 197 units is designated for seniors with 30%-60% of the Area Median Income. Having suffered from five feet of water during Harvey, the building will be reconstructed to mitigate future potential flood damage.
Council approved spending $4.7 million of federal Harvey dollars to restore the Kendall Neighborhood Library and Community Center. During Harvey, flood waters inundated the first floor causing extensive damage. This project will restore Kendall to its pre-Harvey condition and provide flood mitigation improvements.
Council authorized an interlocal agreement with Harris County to provide $230,000 to fund the counselors for the area Mental Health Crisis Call Diversion Program. This program provides mental health crisis counselors to more appropriately assist those persons in need rather than utilizing the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services personnel.
Council approved spending an additional $92,000 to provide legal services in the City’s ongoing collective bargaining negotiations with the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. This additional funding increases the total fees spent by the City in this matter to $547,500.
Council approved spending $1.25 million to hire an outside legal firm to defend the City in the matter of the Harding Street raid. It is expected that these fees will escalate as this matter progresses.