I trust this email finds you and your family healthy and safe. The world is going through one of the most challenging moments in recent history, but the good news is that we are at the beginning of the end of this global pandemic. That is in large part due to the heroic work of scientists, doctors, medical professionals, and frontline workers who have helped save so many lives and get us to this point.
In the last couple of weeks, Houston hospitals began receiving the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Medical personnel, first responders, and other frontline workers are among those receiving the first doses. They will be followed by other critical populations in the coming weeks and the general public by the spring. While local distribution plans for the general public are still being finalized, we know vaccines will be available free of charge to all who want one at doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, and other public places. Please continue to monitor updates from local authorities as plans for the rollout are finalized. Stay vigilant, and please mask up and practice social distancing.
Since the pandemic began earlier this year, my team and I spent long hours – evenings and weekends – working alongside so many great organizations in coordinating and supporting relief efforts. From food distributions to COVID-19 testing and mask giveaway events, my team has been proud to serve and advocate on behalf of the people of District I.
FY21 City Budget
Coming into the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, which began on July 1 of this year, the City faced a nearly $170 million budget crisis – the worst in recent history – exacerbated by the decline in sales tax revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through significant belt-tightening and working with the federal government to use some of the CARES Act funding to pay for COVID-19 response costs the City would otherwise have had to incur, City Council adopted a fiscally responsible $5.1 billion budget that balances revenue and spending. I give Mayor Sylvester Turner tremendous credit for his leadership during these challenging times and for putting forward a budget that funds critical needs like housing, public safety, and health, all while lowering the City’s tax rate to fall under our voter-imposed revenue cap.
While the pandemic has forced the City to shift its focus to pandemic response efforts, I’m pleased to report that we were still able to advance several items in our community. Below is a summary of a few of the items we worked on this year: