Alarm is expressed this week by healthcare providers and other institutions following the passage of a budget in the state senate.

The Houston City Council took the first step Monday to adopt a budget document for next year.

Final passage is expected Dec. 17.

It’s been an exceptional year for the completion of capital projects this year, says City Administrator Larry Sutton. Plans call for less outlays in 2013. Among those on the drawing board: Airport hangars to accommodate eight aircraft at Houston Memorial Airport. The project is paid primarily using federal dollars that are dispersed to states. Cities accrue dollars up to $150,000 annually.

Other projects using grant dollars and city labor and equipment: Tree landscaping at Emmett Kelly Park and development of Rutherford Park west of the airport that will include soccer fields.

In other matters, members:

—Heard good news as several sewer projects wrap up. It was earlier believed that the city might be required to dip into reserve dollars to meet its obligations that allowed it to capture federal stimulus dollars. Between lower costs and use of a rainy day sewer and water fund, that may not be necessary, Sutton reported.

—Learned that the city continues to look for solutions after its employee health insurance took a 9 percent hike. It is looking at alternatives.

—Approved a $100 donation to the Miss Merrie Christmas program.

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