HOUSTON (AP) — Voters in Houston have passed a $1 billion bond measure to help bolster the city's cash-strapped police and municipal pensions.

The bond referendum, approved Tuesday, is part of efforts by Mayor Sylvester Turner to shrink the city's $8.2 billion pension deficit.

Turner's reforms are meant to curb the debt over three decades, cut benefits by $2.8 billion and help cap Houston's future pension costs.

The mayor offered the bonds as an incentive to the police and municipal pensions to agree to more benefit cuts and to improve both plans' funding levels.

Officials say if voters had rejected the measure, it would have created a gap in the city's budget and possibly resulted in layoffs.

As part of approving Turner's reforms, the Texas Legislature required the city to hold the bond election.