Members of the Houston City Council met Monday night.

After about a month on the job, Houston’s new city administrator, Scott Avery, provided a roadmap of priorities he’ll be focusing on. Topping the list is the creation of the 2020 budget, which begins Jan. 1.

The discussion came during a meeting Monday of the Houston City Council.

The council will hold its first budget planning meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Houston City Hall. Avery is already meeting with department heads and employees to determine needs.

Already, some items crucial to employee safety have been purchased when he determined workers didn’t have access to such things as a gas meter required for those working in a manholes. Avery said he was focusing on making sure employees are safe.

Additionally, he said he’s working on items to make the city more fiscally responsible, including:

•Creation of a monetary policy that will outline the number of months of reserves that the city must maintain and not access.

•Detailed information in budget documents that shows revenue from a one-cent sales that took effect Oct. 1 that is to be split between city police, fire and parks and recreation department. Expenditures also will be tracked from each.

•Development of a 25-year capital improvement plan for water, sewer and electrical needs so that monies can be allocated over a period of time to reach objectives. Avery said he also wanted to meet with each council member to develop priorities and goals of where he should lead the city.

In other matters, members:

•Heard from Louise Sciotto concerning a downtown Houston Halloween night event. She asked for permission to close Grand Avenue from Mill Street to Walnut Street to ensure safety for an estimated 600 children. The city will authorize it if no merchants have issues with 5 to 8 p.m. closing.

•Will seek proposals for its various insurance coverages.

•Finalized paperwork for a Community Improvement District that benefits Texas County Memorial Hospital. The city will oversee distribution of the quarter-cent revenue to benefit a surgical center. Collection begins early next year.

•Authorized seeking bids for exterior maintenance work needed at Houston City Hall.

•Heard that the Missouri Department of Transportation will asphalt Highway F from U.S. 63 to Grand Avenue.  As part of the work, the city will asphalt the north side of the pavement near the Texas County Administrative Center using the state’s contract price with the paver, which will save money.

•Approved plans to sell a 1965 fire truck that is no longer used because of issues with pumping.

•Donated $1,500 to Community Betterment and Arts Council of Houston Inc. for use by its youth organization to attend a statewide conference in Mexico, Mo.

•Learned that the city is replacing its main computer server to improve performance. The old one will be used for backups and use by the police department for reports and video storage. A long-range plan is to create an off-site backup location.

•Adjourned into a closed session. Rachel Choate was named to the Houston Parks and Recreation Board.

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