Dear city employees,
It has been less than 90 days since Hurricane Harvey hit our city with over 51 inches of rain, flooding thousands of homes and city facilities and damaging hundreds of our fleet vehicles. Harvey may have dampened our spirit, but we also found the true essence of Houston: We join forces to rise stronger than ever. I thank each one of you for stepping up to the plate when we needed you the most.
After the storm, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with many of you and discovered that many of you continued to work while being flood victims yourselves. Thank you to the individuals who charged their laptops from their vehicles so that they could continue responding to 3-1-1 calls, to the first responders who worked 24-hour shifts, and to our municipal employees who helped ensure that our water plant continued to function. Thank you also to the thousands of unsung heroes who form part of our city family and are to be commended for their valiant efforts to help wherever there was a need.
While we were going through this tremendous challenge, many of the national news networks had a spotlight on our city, and now that the bright lights are gone, we can stand proudly knowing that each one of us did our part to ensure that the City of Houston remained open for business. I want to thank all of you who volunteered and donated money or goods to help those who lost all their possessions because of the flood. With your help, the local Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund has raised over $100 million that will go directly to those who are in need.
Thanks to your support in the Nov. 7 election, we achieved approval of bonds that will ensure stability for our pension system for retirees and current employees. For the first time in decades, Houston is no longer shackled by unsustainable pension debts in the billions of dollars. This moment is a historic one, as we have found a solution while many other cities must deal with their own crushing pension debts to stave off bankruptcy.
Voters also approved several improvement bonds. These bonds will help purchase additional fire trucks and police cars, repair libraries and improve our parks. With the approval of the bonds, we will be in better shape to take on the challenges of recovery and reconstruction after the flood.
This year has brought with it so many ups and downs, including the Super Bowl and most recently the World Series win by our Houston Astros. I must say, I am most proud to be your mayor and to have each of you on my team. Because of your can-do spirit and resilience, we will continue to be #HoustonStrong.
-Mayor Sylvester Turner