“The EDC is thrilled to assist Island Cinema in the purchase of new seating,” said Darla Lapeyre, EDC Director. “This upgrade will allow the only movie theater in our area to remain a viable business in our economy.”
The South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation (SPI EDC) awarded Island Cinema $25,000 in grant funding through the Sand Dollars for Success Program. This program provides much-needed capital funds to increase sales and create or retain jobs that will improve the economy on South Padre Island. Contact Darla Lapeyre for more information.
At the July 24th CVB meeting Brownsville Airport liaison Jose Filet announced the Brownsville/South Padre Airport will begin a major project in August. They will be removing the tile throughout the terminal replacing it with terrazzo flooring. Improvements should take 90 to 120 days and completion is expected before Winter Texan Season begins. It was also noted a new non-stop flight from Chicago to Brownsville will begin November 3rd just in time for the Winter Texans.
The Director of Marketing, Research and Analytics, Mike Flores, expounded on the new data tools being used by the CVB to guide marketing endeavors. Ten different products are being utilized to acquire information and Mike went over the data received from each of these. Synchronizing these tools creates an opportunity to identify our visitors and communicate with them like never before. The amount of information now available for evaluation is impressive.
A Special Meeting of the City Council was held on Monday, July 23, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. Mayor Stahl asked for the record to reflect a quorum present with 4 of 6 Council Members in attendance (Paul Munarriz and Theresa Metty were absent).
No public or staff comments.
Item 4 was discussion and action to acknowledge the submission of the 2018-2019 proposed budget in compliance with the SPI Home Rule Charter. Rodrigo Gimenez, Chief Financial Officer started with a summary of 4 Budget Meetings for discussion: Budget Workshop on a June 6th, CVB Budget Workshop on June 20th, EDC Budget Workshop on June 20th and Budget Submission on July 23rd.
Property Tax Summary- 2018 Taxable Value is $2,470,442,653. An increase of assessed values of 1.52% or $36.8 Mil which much better than past years. The effective tax rate remains the 2nd lowest tax rate in Cameron County.
Budget Highlights of the big projects being funded include
· Facilities Preventative Maintenance Program
· Vehicle Replacement Program (2nd year)
· Computer replacement Program (2nd year)
· Director of Marketing, Research and Analytics (new position)
· Shoreline Grants and Special Projects Administrator (new position)
· Addition of Medians on Padre Blvd from Kingfish to the Convention Center
A Public Hearing for the Tax Rate and a Public Hearing for the Budget will be held at the August 15th Regular City Council Meeting.
Item 5 was discussion and action to acknowledge the submission of the 2018-2019 proposed 5-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) to comply with Home Rule Charter.
Assistant City Manager Darla Jones stated the CIP was first submitted June 20, 2018. A Public Hearing is scheduled for the August 1st at the Regular City Council Meeting. Darla noted the Palm St. boat ramp rebuild was the only project added to the CIP. Discussion ensued regarding the Multi-Modal Project and the South Padre Island Monument located at the foot of the bridge. City Manager Susan Guthrie confirmed that several ideas are being considered.
Meeting adjourned before 3:30 p.m.
The first Wednesday of the month fell on July 4th. The regularly scheduled City Council Meeting was cancelled due to the holiday.
The July 18th City Council meeting was called to order with a full Council in attendance. Mayor Stahl pulled item 5c from the consent agenda (the state repeal of plastic bag ban) to allow for public comment; item 8 was pulled from the council agenda.
Councilman Ken Medders commended Public Works and Police Department for job well done during the holiday.
Councilwoman Alita Bagley extended a public apology for posting comments on a social forum.
Susan Guthrie echoed the comments regarding City Staff performance during the holiday. She also noted our drone team and building inspector were activated to help neighboring cities due to flooding, stating it was nice to be able to reciprocate assistance. The July 4th Parade was her last comment stating it was a great collaboration resulting in a great community event.
Naturalist Javi Gonzales presented the Common Nighthawk as the Bird of the Month. “Very, very cool bird” spending summers here and wintering in the tropics. Mainly active at dawn and dusk, these birds feed exclusively on flying insects, “eating on the wing” they can be seen foraging in flocks.
Distinguished Budget Award was presented to the Finance Department for the seventh consecutive year.
Items 5(a, b, d, e & f) from the Consent Agenda were approved.
Consent Agenda item 5(c) was taken separately. After extended discussion regarding the extreme efforts made to get the original ordinance passed, possible future voluntary compliance from merchants, legal parameters of non-enforcement and a few public comments the vote was tied 3-3. Two separate motions were made with Council Members Ken Medders, Alita Bagley and Theresa Metty not wanting to remove the ordinance at this time and Mayor Dennis Stahl, Paul Munarriz and Ron Pitcock voting to rescind the ordinance. Both motions died, no action was taken.
Next the Council considered the restroom-focused sub-committee’s recommendations and took action on restroom facility solutions. Shoreline Director Brandon Hill gave a presentation on the sub-committee findings; Seasonal on the beach port-o-potties (Summer, Spring Break, Semana Santa) at Good Hope Circle, Aquarius Circle and Beach Circle plus one permanent restroom constructed at White Cap Circle were suggested. After many questions and clarifications, Council approved the seasonal portable restrooms, but not another “brick and mortar” restroom. The plan will now go to the GLO (General Land Office) for approval.
Item 7 was “housekeeping” to approve the prior budget amendments made to the operating budget for May and June 2018.
Item 8 was previously pulled.
PUBLIC HEARING to discuss the 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan drew no one to the podium speaking for nor against.
Discussion and action to adopt the Parks and Recreation Master Plan passed unanimously. A thorough presentation was delivered by Planning Director Cliff Cross and much accolades were given to all who have contributed to this process over several years.
Item 11 was a thorough update on the Shoreline Parking DMAIC. Shoreline Director Brandon Hill detailed the parking analysis that has been performed over the past year. As of today we are now in compliance allowing for paid parking on Gulf Blvd. once GLO approval is received.
Assistant City Manager Darla Jones presented the Facility Preventative Maintenance DMAIC update. $337K was approved one year ago for improvements to City Hall, the Fire Station and Convention Center. Darla went through all repairs completed (over 90%), plans for completion and continued future monitoring.
With “heavy heart” Councilman Ron Pitcock’s resignation from Council was accepted. Ron expounded on his experiences over the past year and has agreed to participate when in town, as he has accepted a position in Denver, Colorado. Thanks were given to Ron for his service. A special election will be held in November to elect a replacement for the remaining year of his term, the deadline to file for this position is August 23, 2018.
Meeting adjourned after 7:30 p.m.