How Do You Spend a Million Dollars? District B To Use Budget to Empower Communities

cover12Houston – The good news is District B has $1milion to make improvements and empower communities, but tough decisions are ahead about how to use it.

That is why Vice Mayor Pro-Tem and District B Councilman Jerry Davis is calling together civic groups and community leaders to talk about the new infusion of dollars and the need to develop an action plan for the community.

“This is a very important thing for our communities and neighborhoods,” Davis said at a breakfast announcing the program. “We are encouraging people to get involved and share ideas and ways we can make improvements and address immediate issues facing the communities.” Other council districts also received a budget for its neighborhoods and communities, but Davis is one of the first to hold a public meetings inviting public input and participation in the process.

Davis also made the call for the community to join in supporting the revitalizing of the District B Neighborhood Advisory Council (DBNAC). The council is made up of civic groups, citizens and representative from every sector of District B. The district, serves areas in northern Houston and northeast Houston and also strings together African-American strongholds such as Fifth Ward and Acres Home, also stretches and covers part of IAH, Clinton Park, Fontane Place, Kashmere Gardens, Scenic Woods, Settegast, Songwood, and Trinity Gardens and Lake Houston.

The first meeting is scheduled for September 2 at 6:30 p.m at Acres Home Multi-Service Center located at 6719 W. Montgomery. The meetings will be led by Davis and held every other month.

“We are also requesting that residents have addresses for vacant and weeded lots in their neighborhoods ready to submit,” Davis said. “We look forward to working for you and with you to help improve the quality of life for District B.”

According to Davis, the goals of the program will be to get some more immediate need issues in the community taken care of. Some of the projects that could fall under the funding includes the upgrade and repairs at youth league fields, street lighting, sidewalk repairs, culvert repairs or any smaller maintenance issue that may affect health and safety of a neighborhood.

The process started two and a half years ago  when Vice Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Davis initiated the District B Neighborhood Advisory Council to engage, educate, and empower the constituents of District B.

One of the lessons that Councilman Davis learned was that without input from the citizens in the Capital Improvement Plan and other City of Houston Department decisions, good government could not be achieved.

With this in mind, Davis authored and supported several amendments to the City of Houston Fiscal Year 2015 budget and Fiscal Year 2015 CIP.

This gives District B constituents an opportunity to voice how tax dollars are being spent.

Here is what the initiative helps to achieve:

1. $1,000,000 for the Council District Service Budget that will be dedicated to fund minor immediate needs in District B that will better the quality of life of the community.

2. $50,000 for the Neighborhood Matching Grant Program, which will provide reimbursement matching funds for neighborhood initiated projects between $250 to $2500.

3. Increase in funds for the City Mow Down Program from $9,000 to $212,850 to allow more neighborhood organizations to cut weeded lots in their respective neighborhoods.  The funds can be used for equipment, support staffing, and pay of organizations that participate in the program.

Davis also authored and rallied support in the passage of a budget amendment that will purchase 25 illegal dumping cameras to be placed in areas most affected by chronic illegal dumping.

It will allow constables and other law enforcement agencies to partner with the city of Houston to monitor and enforce illegal dumping laws. This partnership is a great step forward in the enforcement and fight against illegal dumping.

“This is good and we are pleased that this is happening,” said Acres Home Community activist Ruby Mosely. “This is our community and now, it is up to us to participate and see that the things we come up with are done and followed through.”

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