Welcome to the City of Houston eGovernment Center
Here you can apply for a job , pay traffic tickets and water bills , find out about Houston events and the Mayor's Office of Special Events , and learn about the City government that serves you. View the City's Code of Ordinances and the City Charter . See our Houston WiFi site. View our homepage photo archive and send us your favorite photo of Houston! Click rotating graphics above for more about the specific events.
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Houston has a strong Mayor-Council form of government. The City's elected officials, serving concurrent two year terms, are: the Mayor, the City Controller and the 14 members of City Council. The City Charter provides the constitutional framework within which city government operates. The City's Code of Ordinances contains the laws of the City.
The Mayor serves as the Executive Officer of the City. As the City's chief administrator and official representative, the Mayor is responsible for the general management of the City and for seeing that all laws and ordinances are enforced. Administrative duties include the appointments, with Council approval, of department heads and persons serving on advisory boards. As Executive Officer, the Mayor administers oaths and signs all motions, resolutions and ordinances passed by City Council. The Mayor also serves a legislative function, presiding over City Council with voting privileges. The Mayor is responsible for advising Council of the City's financial condition and presents to Council and annual budget for approval.
The City Controller serves as the City's chief financial officer. The Office of the City Controller certifies the availability of funds prior to City Council approval of City commitments, processes and monitors disbursements exceeding one billion dollars annually, invests the City's funds, conducts internal audits of the City's departments and federal grant programs, operates and maintains its financial management system, conducts the sale of public improvement and revenue bonds and produces a comprehensive annual report of City finances (CAFR).
The City Council is the City's legislative body, with the power to enact and enforce all ordinances and resolutions. Nine Council Members are elected from districts and five are elected at-large, by all voters of the City. The fourteen members of Council, along with the Mayor, act only by ordinance, resolution or motion. They adopt and may alter the annual budget and confirm the Mayor's appointments. Council is responsible for the appropriation and issuance of bonds, the awarding of contracts and the approval of City expenditures over $15,000. Council may lease or dispose of the City's real estate and may levy assessments against property. Council determines its own rules of procedure, and its meetings are open to the public.
Houston has not evolved into Texas' biggest City (and the largest in the South) by accident. Known as the Bayou City for its waterway system, Houston thrives because it is a great place to work and a great place to live.
For business and fun, for living and visiting, Houston is one of the dynamic frontiers on the world stage. With its proximity to the Southern Hemisphere and having the infrastructure to accommodate the growing needs of numerous global interests, Houston has become an international destination and one of the world's great cities.
As a major corporate center. Houston is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies.
The Port of Houston, one of the region's greatest assets, ranks as the nation's largest port in international tonnage and second in total tonnage.
Houston's infrastructure is also strengthened by three airports, which form the sixth-largest airport system in the world, and a massive trucking and rail system that links the southern, south central, midwestern and western United States. More than 600 trucking firms operate in Houston, and two major rail systems operate 14 mainline tracks radiating from Houston.
Houston's employment base has become increasingly diverse. In 1981, the economic base was dominated by energy-related businesses with nearly 85 percent of all jobs in those sectors. Today nearly half of all jobs are in non-energy fields, such as business services, technology, aerospace, medicine and manufacturing.
Houston offers a richly-diverse pool of highly-skilled, multilingual, multicultural workers. Nearly 25 percent of all adults have completed four years of college, surpassing the national average, while the median age is three years younger than the national average. More than 90 languages are spoken in Houston.
Economy & Trade
Houston is home to a thriving business economy that has rapidly diversified from its strong energy base. This economic diversification includes growth in high-technology industries, medical research, health care and professional services.
Today, the Houston economy is based on a broad spectrum of industries including:
- Oil and gas exploration
- Basic petroleum refining
- Petrochemical production
- Medical research and health care delivery
- High-technology (computer, aerospace, environmental, etc.)
- Government (City, state and federal)
- International import and export
- Commercial fishing
- Film and Media
- Banking and finance
- Manufacturing and distribution
- Related service industries
Houston is home to many businesses including corporate headquarters for almost two dozen of the Fortune 500 companies. The City is friendly to entrepreneurs - new businesses that, like the companies now on the Fortune 500, began small.
In addition, many foreign countries and corporations have established a presence in Houston to access North American markets via the City's excellent distribution facilities.
For more information on Houston's economy and trade, visit the Port of Houston at www.portofhouston.com.