Houston Voters to Decide ReBuild Future, Firefighter Pay


Houston city voters are deciding a pair of ballot propositions Tuesday.


Proposition A is essentially a do-over on the language of the ReBuild Houston drain improvement program after those opposed to it convinced a judge the original wording was too confusing.


“You are not voting on whether to keep or repeal the drainage fee.  All that you are voting on is to keep or not keep the ReBuild program,”says Dr.Robert Stein, professor of sociology at Rice University.


However,a 'no' vote will force city leaders to make a tough decision.


“The big question is what do you do with the drainage fee?  Some think this reverts back, others think it means that it's gone.  Legally,that's for lawyers to decide.”


Proposition B is the firefighters' pay equity issue, which the mayor claims will deplete city coffers.


“What is a fire chief and a police chief?  How are they comparable? Someone has got to work out those details and when they do, that could be a big ticket item for the budget, and they'll probably phase it over a couple of years,” says Stein.


The end result will likely look nothing like what each side is claiming now.


“I believe the firemen and the mayor will spend the better part of a year negotiating what constitutes parity with the police department.”


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