Houston voters approve propositions on firefighter, police officer pay parity and drainage fee funds

Posted 11:32 p.m.

With almost all precincts reporting and early voting results in, residents in Kingwood, Clear Lake and other parts of the city of Houston have approved Proposition B—which would mandate that Houston firefighters receive a salary increase to match what is paid to Houston police officers.

Almost 59.3 percent of city of Houston residents in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties have voted in favor of the measure, with 40.7 percent of residents voting against the measure.

City of Houston officials said the raise was unsustainable for the city and would result in layoffs for hundreds of city employees. Meanwhile, representatives from the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association have claimed the raise is necessary because firefighters are underpaid compared to police officers and other fire departments around the state.

In a statement he released on election night, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the Houston Fire Department's budget will not be able to absorb the full costs of the proposition, which he said will add $100 million to the city's expenses each year.

"Another obstacle is how to interpret and carry out the language of the proposition, which is vague and ambiguous ... Mistakes were made in the petition language, which is why the city legal department will seek advice on how to go forward," Turner said.

At its meeting tomorrow, Houston City Council will vote on a measure to seek a $1.34 million contract with a law firm in the event the city pursues litigation regarding the measure.

In addition to showing support for Proposition B, the majority of Houston residents have also voted in favor of Proposition A. This ballot measure ensures that funds collected from a drainage fee included in residents’ water bills are only used for drainage improvement projects or street repair projects relating to drainage, Houston Council Member Dave Martin said.

With almost half of precincts reporting, almost 74.2 percent of residents have voted in favor of the measure and 25.8 percent of residents have voted against the proposition.

Posted 9:55 p.m.

With almost half of precincts reporting and early voting results in, residents in Kingwood, Clear Lake and other parts of the city of Houston have showed support for Proposition B—which would mandate that Houston firefighters receive a salary increase to match what is paid to Houston police officers.

Almost 58.4 percent of city of Houston residents in Harris, Montgomery and Fort Bend counties have voted in favor of the measure, with 41.6 percent of residents voting against the measure.

City of Houston officials claim the raise is unsustainable for the city and would result in layoffs for hundreds of city employees. Meanwhile, representatives from the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association claim the raise is necessary because firefighters are underpaid compared to police officers and other fire departments around the state.

In addition to this proposition, the majority of Houston residents have voted in favor of Proposition A. If approved, this ballot measure would ensure that funds collected from a drainage fee included in residents’ water bills are only used for drainage improvement projects or street repair projects relating to drainage, Houston Council Member Dave Martin said.

With almost half of precincts reporting, almost 74 percent of residents have voted in favor of the measure and 26 percent of residents have voted against the proposition.
By Zac Ezzone
Zac Ezzone began his career as a journalist in northeast Ohio, where he freelanced for a statewide magazine and local newspaper. In April 2017, he moved from Ohio to Texas to join Community Impact Newspaper. He worked as a reporter for the Spring-Klein edition for more than a year before becoming the editor of the Lake Houston-Humble-Kingwood edition.

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