Houston Budget Items Blocked in Latest Prop B Battle

Mayor Sylvester Turner says he has notified Houston City Council members of plans to move forward on giving firefighters the pay parity initiative approved by voters last November.

“What's important for me on this whole issue is how we move forward and I already sent out notices to all of the council members that as of Thursday I will start talking with them on our plan, the administration's plan to move forward on the implementation of Proposition B,” the mayor told reporters Wednesday.

The statement followed a procedural move by Councilman Dwight Boykins to delay votes on several budget items until the city officially swears in the latest class of new fire cadets.

“We have the power to veto and attack projects and that's what I did today to get his attention,” Boykins said afterward. “And I will continue to do it until he seats these cadets.”

Mayor Turner was asked about Boykins' tagging budget items to delay their votes.

“They have the right to do it, as Council member Greg Travis said, certainly you shouldn't abuse that right,” said Turner. “There are a number of items that were on the calendar dealing with Harvey recovery, but that's his right and he did what he thought he should do.”

Turner insists the firefighter pay raises are retroactive to January 1, but argues the city must implement Prop B in a way that doesn't disrupt other services.

“We need more police, that's our top priority to bring in more,” he said. “And as we work through Proposition B, on implementation, we'll take that in phases and try to contain the cost within the fire department itself.”

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