News from November 2019
Following last Tuesday’s election, 12 of the 16 city council races on the ballot are heading into a runoff because the top vote-getter failed to break the 50 percent threshold. The few that were decided outright were incumbent Council Members Dave Martin (District E), Greg Travis (District G), Robert Gallegos (District I), and Martha Castex-Tatum (District K), leaving all at-large council seats and a scattering of Districts up for grabs in the December runoff.
A recently released study conducted by Rice University and the Sankofa Research Institute found that vacant lots topped the list of concerns for residents of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The report, which combines the results of 1,616 heads of households, represents a 49 percent response rate according to the authors.
During Houston’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget workshops, Council Member Mike Knox proposed, and successfully added, a budget amendment that would require the city to pursue zero-based budgeting and now, the administration has released a plan to implement the new process in 2021. Budget workshops are one of the few opportunities when council members have the opportunity to directly propose an item and have it voted on by the full council.
The National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors both released their 2020 policy agendas hoping to urge presidential candidates to have more of a city-centered focus heading into next November’s election. As noted in the Conference of Mayors report, cities represent 86 percent of the population and 91 percent of the real GDP.
A new report from Apartment List suggests that nearly half of millennial renters in Houston who hope to one day own a home have nothing saved towards the down payment and at current savings rates, only 34 percent of Houston renters will be able to put down 10 percent on a median-priced started home in the next five years. The report explores the growing desire but diminishing reality of millennial homeownership.