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HOUSTON (FOX 26) – On November 6th, Houston voters will cast ballots on Proposition A and by doing so, decide whether a multi-year investment knows as “Rebuild Houston” should continue. Proponents say funding from the drainage fee has improved a thousand miles of city streets and 500 miles of storm drains, while simultaneously paying down more than a billion dollars worth of pre-existing debt and interest. Critics complain less than half of the taxes collected have been spent on new drainage projects in flood prone Houston, while also contending city leaders have simply replaced debt retired by Rebuild Houston dollars with new debt.
This week’s panel: Justin Lurie- businessman and former congressional candidate, Nyanza Moore – progressive commentator and Houston attorney, Paul Bettencourt- Republican State Senator, Tony Diaz- Chicano educator and activist, Tomaro Bell – Super Neighborhood leader, Bill King – businessman, columnist and former Kemah Mayor, shares their point.
From the Houston Area League of Women Voters- Voters’ Guide
City of Houston, Proposition A
(Relating to the Creation of a Dedicated Funding Source to Enhance, Improve and Renew Drainage Systems and Streets)
Shall the Houston City Charter be amended to establish a Dedicated Pay-As-You-Go Fund, to be used for the enhancement, improvement, and ongoing renewal of Houston’s drainage and streets, funded annually from the following sources: (i) developer impact fees; (ii) drainage charges, to property owners or users, to recover costs of providing drainage to benefiting real properties; (iii) a portion of the City’s ad valorem tax levy; and (iv) third-party contracts, grants, or payments earmarked or dedicated to drainage or streets?
Proposition A Explanation
This proposition continues the funding authorized by voters in 2010 for the ReBuild Houston Street and Drainage Program. The proposition requires that funding collected for ReBuild Houston can be used only for flooding, drainage and street projects and cannot be diverted to general operating budget. The proposition does not authorize new taxes.
City of Houston, Proposition B
Shall the City Charter of the City of Houston be amended by adding a separate section that reads as follows: The City of Houston shall compensate City firefighters in a manner and amount that is at least equal and comparable by rank and seniority with the compensation provided City police officers including: a. Persons employed in the following firefighter classifications shall receive the same base pay as persons of like seniority employed in the following, similarly numbered police officer classifications: Firefighters – 1. Probationary firefighter, 2. Firefighter, 3. Engineer/Operator, 4. Captain, Inspector, Investigator, Communications Captain, Mechanic, 5. Senior Captain, Senior Inspector, Senior Investigator, Communications Senior Captain, Shop Supervisor, 6. District Chief, Assistant Arson Investigator, Chief Inspector, Chief Communications Officer, Master Mechanic, 7. Deputy Chief, Arson Investigator, Assistant Fire Marshal, Deputy Chief Communications Officer, 8. Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Marshal, 9. Executive Assistant Fire Chief Police Officers-1. Probationary Police Officer, 2. Police Officer, 3. Senior Police Officer, 4. Sergeant, 5. Lieutenant, 6. Captain, 7. Captain (with an additional 15% for parity), 8. Assistant Police Chief, 9. Executive Assistant Police Chief; a. In the event the title of any of the above classifications shall be changed, the new classification most similar in terms of qualifications and duties to the old shall be substituted therefore, to achieve pay parity; b. Firefighters employed in fire suppression shall receive the same incentive pay as police officers, of like seniority, employed as patrol officers; c. Firefighters shall receive the same training pay as police officers of like seniority; d. Firefighters employed as arson investigators shall receive the same investigative incentive pay as police officer investigative personnel of like seniority and investigative experience; e. Firefighters who serve as Field Training Officers shall receive the same Field Training Officer training pay as police officers who serve as Field Training Officers; f. Firefighters shall receive mentoring pay in the same amount and on the same basis as police officers; g. Firefighters classified as arson investigators, inspectors, communications captain, senior inspectors, senior investigators, communications senior captain, assistant arson investigator, chief inspector or chief communications officer shall receive the same weekend premium and shift differential pay in the same amount and on the same basis as police officers qualified to receive such pay; h. Firefighters shall receive educational incentive pay in the same amount and on the same basis as police officers entitled to receive such pay, i. Firefighters shall receive college tuition reimbursement in the same amount and on the same basis as police officers entitled to receive such reimbursement; j. Firefighters shall receive the same clothing allowance (or similar benefit) paid to police officers, in addition to any protective clothing and equipment provided by the City; k. Firefighters shall receive the same equipment allowance (or similar benefit) paid to police officers; l. The City shall make the same contribution to the Houston Professional Firefighters Association Medical Trust that it does to the Texas Police Trust; m. To the extent that the names of any of the forms of pay or benefits identified above are changed, the requirement of parity for firefighters to police officers shall continue to apply; In addition, if any new form of pay or benefit is provided to police officers, the same shall also be provided to firefighters?
Proposition B Explanation
This proposition amends the City Charter to require pay equity for Houston police officers and Houston firefighters, e.g. equal pay across both departments for comparable job titles, experience and achievements. Current internal policies and procedures of the two departments regarding management decisions, work schedules, education requirements, and promotions are not addressed and would not be required to be the same across the two departments. This proposition does not authorize new taxes or address funding issues.