Mayor Annise Parker today announced creation of the Healthy Houston Task Force during her news conference following the regular meeting of Houston City Council. News Release
“This is something we have been leading up to for months now, in fact a couple of years,” Parker said, reviewing the development of the task force. “We have been working on issues of reducing food deserts, promoting the availability of locally grown foods, encouraging the development of sustainable food systems; but also working on activities to get Houstonians moving.” Listen
Parker said the new task force will help to coordinate all of the related activities; and she named Dr. Margaret Kripke from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Faith Foreman from the Houston Health and Human Services Department.
“We have already begun lots of work in the Houston community through our gardens, through our farmers markets, through our many activities focusing on wellness,” Foreman said. “The task force is looking forward to actually bringing all those things together, closing that loop and actually making Houston a healthier place for people to work, live and play.”
At the regular meeting, the city council voted unanimously to confirm Parker’s appointment of Ann Collum and Charles Stava to the Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission Board of Directors.
The city council voted unanimously to confirm the mayor’s appointment of Dr. Taffi Tippit, Dr. Chris Souders, Kappy Muenzer and Neil Sackheim to the Animal Advisory Committee Board of Directors.
The city council held an extensive discussion of a proposed lease agreement with 7100 North Loop East, for office and warehouse space for the storage of documents for the City of Houston, but deferred action on the item to give City Attorney David Feldman time to research issues related to archiving city records. Listen
“I think it’s time to updated digitally and put it in the cloud,” objected Council Member Jack Christie, noting that the contract would cost the city $71,000 per year to maintain hard copies of the documents. “And that’s forever. We would have to store that forever.”
Mayor Parker noted that she and Council Member Stephen Costello had had a “spirited discussion” about the issue with City Secretary Anna Russell, who noted the need to preserve historical archives as well as records.
“She is regularly called upon to go back and find original items from the 20s, the 30s and so forth and at some point there is a historic value to those records,” Parker said. “We are going to be tasked to find out where the balance point is between preserving history and preserving electronic records going forward.”
The issue will be revisited at next week’s meeting.
Two other items were delayed for one week by use of the tag rule.
Payment of the Public Works & Engineering Department’s $255,378.15 annual membership in the Water Research Foundation was tagged by Mayor Pro Tem Ed Gonzalez.
An ordinance authorizing the sale of a 20-inch wide pipeline easement across Ellington Airport and the Metro Central Water Plant Site to DCP Sand Hills Pipeline, LLC for a price of $523,311.17 was tagged by Costello.
Council Member Helena Brown cast the only votes against several items that were approved by the city council.
- Authorizing the city attorney to pay court costs in connection with two eminent domain proceedings, City of Houston v. Hardwood Lumber Company in conjunction with the MKT Spur Hike & Bike Trail Project; and City of Houston v. Sandhedrin II L.P. in conjunction with Parker Road Reconstruction/Greens Bayou and Halls Bayou and Related Tributaries projects;
- Acceptance of a grant not to exceed $1,610,795 from the Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration for the design of explosive detection upgrades at George Bush Intercontinental Airport; and a grant not to exceed $250,000 for a similar project at William P. Hobby Airport;
- A $51,839 contract with Cathedral Health and Outreach Ministries for the provision of homeless services;
- A $189,300 amendment to a contract with Child Care Council of Greater Houston for the continuing implementation, oversight and delivery of a child care program;
- A $378,712.51 amendment to a contract with T2 Systems, Inc. for the parking citation management information system;
- A $733,275 contract with Siddons-Martin Emergency Group, LLC for fire truck repair services;
- An $80,980 agreement with Texas Forest Service for training courses for the Office of Emergency Management;
- An amendment to the city’s lease agreement with Beechnut Shopping Center, LP for approximately 6,300 square feet of space at 12660 Beechnut Street;
- A $245,000 appropriation out of Woodlands Regional Participation Fund as an additional appropriation for a professional landscape architectural services task order contract with SWA Group;
- A $700,484 contract with Hassell Construction Company, Inc. for improvements to Sylvan Rodriguez Park; and
- A $90,200 advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for voluntary utility relocation contributions for off-system improvement projects for Keegans Bayou Trail.
All other agenda items were approved unanimously with Al Hoang and Melissa Noriega absent. Agenda
Chris Brown from the Houston Controller’s Office and Finance Director Kelly Dowe delivered their monthly reports on the current financial status of the city. Listen
“In the General Fund, the Controller’s Office is projecting an ending fund balance of $123.9 million for Fiscal Year 2013,” Brown said. “This is $41 million lower than the projection of the Finance Department, mainly due to a difference in revenue projections.”
During the portion of the agenda designated for Matters to be Presented by Council Members, Andrew Burks congratulated Houstonian Tilman Fertitta for winning the 2012 Person of the Year award from Amusement Today for the redevelopment of Galveston’s Pleasure Pier. Listen
“Fertitta stepped up to the challenge of rebuilding Galveston’s entertainment scene after Hurricane Ike,” Burks said. “About 50 years ago the Pleasure Pier featured the same layout and amusement features as it does today.”
On Tuesday the city council voted 15-1, with Brown opposed, to amend the previously approved ordinance calling a City Charter election on November 6. More