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March 8, 2010

Contents


“Take 10” and Help Houston Get What It Needs for the Next 10 Years
“The Census is about money, power and pride.” Mayor Annise Parker

Census Logo

It’s about Money: Houston could lose up to $1,700 per year for each person who is not counted. This means less federal funding for our city’s public education, clinics, transportation and other important public programs.

It’s about Power: Census data will help redistrict our city, redraw state legislative boundaries and help Houston gain another U.S. Representative. Answering the Census ensures your representation in government.

It’s about Pride: Stand up and be counted. Help Houston take its place as a leading city in America.

It’s easy: The 2010 Census form asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

It’s safe: By law, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

Please complete the 2010 Census form as soon as it arrives in mid-March, and return the form in the postage-paid return envelope. Census workers will visit households that do not return forms to take the count in person. We need your help to reach out to your neighbors and provide them information that will motivate them to complete the questionnaire. Visit www.houstoncounts.org, click on the volunteer button, and sign up for a weekend to help Houston be counted.

I count. You count. Houston counts. Answer the Census. www.HoustonCounts.org.


BBVA Compass Tour de Houston

Tour de HoustonThe sixth annual BBVA Compass Tour de Houston is Sunday, March 21, 2010. This BPMS 150 Recommended Ride allows riders to complete an open course bike ride of 20, 40 and nearly 70 miles through historic neighborhoods of Houston.

The BBVA Compass Tour de Houston begins at 7 a.m. in front of City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston, Texas 77002. Through March 17, 2010, pre-registration is $25 for adults and $15 for ages 12 and under. Event day registration begins at 6 a.m. and is $35 per rider.

All proceeds benefit the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, through the Houston Parks Board. For additional ride information, visit www.bbvacompasstourdehouston.com.


City of Houston Compostable Bags Required April 5, 2010

Compostable BagsJoin the City of Houston and Go Green! Effective April 5, 2010, if you are going to bag up yard waste, it must be in an approved compostable bag, displaying the City of Houston logo.

A regular trash bag can take over 100 years to decompose! But when it comes to yard waste, like grass clippings and leaves, you have choices: grasscycling, composting, or the use of compostable bags. So why fill up the landfills? By diverting this material from area landfills, the city anticipates saving at least $1.5 million dollars annually while preserving the environment and valuable landfill space. The Solid Waste Department (SWD) will use these savings to add more Houstonians to the Automated Recycling Program.

Please go to the SWD web site at www.houstonsolidwaste.org to find a current list of retailers and more information regarding the compostable bag program.


Mayor’s Volunteer Houston Awards: Call for Nominees
Deadline: Friday, March 12, 2010

The City of Houston, Volunteer Houston and Shell Oil Company encourage you to honor individuals who make Houston a better place by nominating them for the 2010 Mayor’s Volunteer Houston Awards. The deadline is Friday, March 12, 2010.

Houstonians of every age, including youth, who volunteer within the city, are eligible to be nominated. Think of volunteers serving small or large organizations, or communities. The categories are: Youth, Civic, Health, Education, Social Service, Community Development, Groups and Cultural and Performing Arts.

Please visit the Mayor’s Volunteer Initiatives Program www.houstontx.gov/volunteer for nomination information. The awards will be presented at a ceremony this summer.

Volunteer Houston Awards Logos


New Web Link: Residential Historic District Properties for Sale in Houston

Looking for a home in an historic district? The City of Houston and Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) have created a new "homefinder" tool showing all residential properties, both historic homes and new construction, listed for sale in the city's 15 historic districts. According to HAR, Houston is the first in the nation to provide this service!

To explore this new tool, go to www.har.com and under "Find a Home”, click on "Select a Property Type" and then "Historic Districts.” Note that even though the city has also designated many individual historic landmarks, a home will only show up in the "homefinder" tool, if it is located within an historic district and listed for sale.

Individual landmarks, and all homes in historic districts, are covered by the City of Houston Historic Preservation Ordinance. Those properties classified as historic may be eligible for city property tax exemptions and discounts on permit fees. More information about the City's historic districts, landmarks, tax benefits, and the Historic Preservation Ordinance may be found at http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/historic_pres/hist_pres.htm.

Also visit the Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs web site at http://www.houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs.


March is Crime Prevention Month

Houston Police Dept. PatchThe Houston Police Department (HPD) regularly addresses crime in the City of Houston. However, the month of March is designated as the time to emphasize what citizens can do to help with some of the most preventable crimes, including burglaries of cars as well as of homes.

Acting HPD Chief Charles McClelland asks citizens to participate in these initiatives and specifically advises people to protect their valuables and not leave them visible in their cars.

To learn more about the initiatives, visit HPD’s web site at www.houstonpolice.org and click March on Crime.


Houston City Council: Attending, Speaking and Viewing

The City of Houston City Council agenda is published on Friday afternoon and details the actions that Council will consider at its meeting the following week. Council usually meets 1:30 p.m. most Tuesday afternoons and 9 a.m. most Wednesday mornings in the City Council Chamber, 901 Bagby, Houston, Texas 77002. The Tuesday session is devoted to public comment. The Wednesday session is for consideration of actions that require Council approval.

To sign up to speak during a Public Session, call the City Secretary’s office at 832.393.1100 or come by the office on the public level of the City Hall Annex up to thirty (30) minutes before the meeting start time.

Each week’s Council agenda is available at www.houstontx.gov/citysec. Under the City Secretary Quick Links, select the second link on the left for the basic agenda and the third link on the left for all of the backup information associated with each agenda item.

Council meetings may be viewed on HTV Houston Television at http://houstontx.city.swagit.com. The first tab allows you to watch live. The second tab will list all past sessions that are on file.

For a better understanding of the meetings, you might want to review Council Rules of Procedure, found in Section 2-2 of the Code of Ordinances, which can be found at www.houstontx.gov/codes/index.html - click on the “Searchable Code of Ordinances” link.

If you have questions about any of the items posted on the agenda, please contact marta.crinejo@cityofhouston.net.


City of Houston Municipal Courts Renovation Complete: Building and Services

Municipal Courts GraphicThe renovation of the downtown Municipal Courts, 1400 Lubbock, Houston, Texas 77002 is now complete. There are 19 new cashier windows and 12 new DocketCall screens. Visitors who want to quickly pay citations without waiting in line have the option of using the new cash or credit payment kiosk located on the basement level. The payment kiosk is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additionally, Wi-fi is available throughout the building so that jurors, attorneys, and other visitors can have free wireless internet access while taking care of their court business.

For more information about City of Houston Municipal Courts, visit www.houstontx.gov/courts.


Information on City of Houston Boards and Commissions and Volunteer Initiatives Program

Volunteer Initiatives Program Graphic

Would you like Mayor Annise Parker to consider you for an appointment to a Houston Board or Commission in an area where your expertise and commitment will make a difference?

Please go to www.houstontx.gov/boards or call 832.393.0817.

Are you interested in volunteering with the City of Houston and helping with its many projects? As Mayor Annise Parker says, "Houstonians never hesitate to step up and lend a hand."

Please go to www.houstontx.gov/volunteer or call 832.393.0970.