At the regularly scheduled meeting of City Council on Jan 30, 2012, the City Comptroller Ronald Green and City Finance Director Kelly Dow reported on the state of the City's finances as of December 31 2012. Both financial officers reported generally higher revenues for licensing and sales taxes, and some higher costs for employee health care programs. The city had an year-end balance of $161.9 million
Mayor Parker (who served as comptroller before becoming mayor, summarized the results as another positive indication of the growth and vitality of the city. Increased building permitting fees reflect new construction and renovation. New buildings, in turn, will lead to increased property valuations and tax revenues, in addition to the ecomic activity associated with new jobs, a higher population, and greater consumption.
Council member Burks asked for clarification on the disparity between the budget projections which anticipated savings by changing providers, and the actual costs, which increased. The comptroller explained that conservative proections must be used in the budget planning process, although it is impossible to know in advance how accurate they will be. On the other hand, the unanticipated increase in sales tax revenues offset the negative position concerning health care benefits, so City Council correctly re-allocated the funds.
In addition, the 3-1-1 service is now staffed in part by transferring employees from BARC, and $20 million in surplus funds have been added to the rainy day fund, $10 million more than anticipated in the budget.
The entire Finance Department report for December 2012 and transmittal letter are available at the City of Houston Finance Department website . The comptroller's report and transmittal letter for December 2012 are published at the City Comptroller's website.