For the first time, the auction of tax anticipation notes was completed on-line during the course of the Houston City Council meeting on June 12.
The tax note auction is a routine procedure used by many cities. Basically, the city must continue all operations even though tax revenues occur throughout the year. To prevent a cash shortfall, the city issues short-term notes to cover anticipated revenues. In most cases, the notes are auctioned before the end of the fiscal year and the City Council passes an ordinance ratifying the sale. The major difference in procedure this year was that the Comptroller was able to complete the auction during the Wednesday morning City Council meeting.
The transaction took a few minutes longer than anticipated, so City Council began with the appointment or reappointment of Alexander Webb, David Koret, Sergio Selvera and 2 other members of the East Downtown Redevelopment Authority. Only Mr. Webb, Mr. Koret and Mr. Selvera were present. See Item 58, which was Item 1 on the June 5 agenda. The Council also appointed or re-appointed 7 members of the Houston Downtown Park Corporation Board of Directors (Item 59, item 2 on the June 5 Agenda). Of the 57 items on the regular agenda, only 10 were removed for separate consideration, and two were tagged. The others passed by unanimous or nearly unanimous vote (1 dissent).
Houston City Comptroller Green gave the regularly scheduled quarterly financial and operations report along with Finance Director Dowe. Comptroller reports are available on-line at the Comptroller’s Office site. Finance Director Reports are available within the Mayor’s Office, Finance Department site.
The main item on the agenda was the presentation of proposed budget amendments. Using a procedure similar to prior years, the Mayor called on each counselor, beginning with the at large members in order of position, and each commented on or read proposed amendments, numbered by position. For example, the 4th amendment presented by At large position 2 would be 2.04. Mayor Parker noted that this year, the total number of proposed amendments was lower than most years. In addition, several Council Members proposed no amendments, and most suggested possible funding sources or related budget changes.
At her press conference following the City Council session, Mayor Parker announced that the city has issued a request for proposals for “one bin for all” recycling, a method of recovering or recycling virtually all household waste for re-use or for fuel. Once selected, a new plant might not be in operation for 2 years. Administration and Regulatory Affairs Deputy Director Don Pagel will be in charge of moving the project forward with a leadership team including Development Director Andy Icken and DPW Director Harry Hayes and others. In the meantime the City will continue to expand single-stream recycling to more households.