Houston Mayor Bill White and City Controller Annise Parker said last week that the city might delay as much as $200 million in public infrastructure projects due to turmoil in the credit market.
They said the city will also temporarily liquidate some investments to avoid borrowing at excessively high interest rates until market conditions improve.
“There is not a crisis in our city finances,” White said at a city hall news conference. “We don’t want to be reacting to circumstances after the fact.”
“We don’t want to be telling our citizens that we didn’t notice there was a recession coming down the pike and, therefore, we have to raise taxes in order to meet an obligation that we did not defer,” he said.
White has asked city departments to determine which capital projects can be delayed. Many of the deferred projects may involve water and sewer line rehabilitation efforts, he said, but a clearer picture is expected this week.
The mayor said city officials are looking into alternative long-term borrowing options, including partnerships with commercial banks and individual investors.