Galveston County Commissioners Court today voted unanimously to approve a $15,000, three month extension of the contract with the Bolivar Blueprint Planning project. The action at the formal meeting followed an early morning workshop on the project. Listen: RealPlayer MP3
“As you all know Careen has been working diligently since October, and actually well before that, trying to engage the residents of the peninsula to help chart a new future,” said Emergency Management Coordinator John Simsen.
Careen Plummer, director of the Bolivar Blueprint Project, introduced chairs of the subcommittees and updated the commissioners court on the group’s progress.
Joni Harding is chairing the Housing Resource Center, Winnie Burkett is chair of the Environmental Subcommittee and Anne Willis is chair of the Beach Enhancements Subcommittee. Willis noted that tourism is returning to the peninsula and she is getting an increasing number of calls about beach cabin availability.
Sid Bouse, chair of the Economic Development committee said that a non profit organization is being formed to take over the long term project when the county’s work is done.
County Judge Jim Yarbrough noted that Don Gartman and Susan Moore of the Galveston County Economic Alliance are spending time on the peninsula, assisting with recovery.
“There really wasn’t a tunnel,” Plummer said, “But now I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And with a few more months we can really establish an effective plan and model to then come back to you guys and present a feasible recovery program for the Bolivar Peninsula residents, and that includes the children in that scope.”
“I’m impressed,” said Commissioner Patrick Doyle about the work of the committee thus far. “It’s been a huge process.”
At the regular meeting, the commissioners court voted to grant waiver/refund of penalty and interest for the delinquent payment of taxes by three taxpayers whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Ike.
“I was forced out of my house and I moved to Houston,” said Loretta Marinelli, who told the commissioners court that her tax bill on three properties never caught up with her until penalties and interest had accrued. Listen: RealPlayer MP3
The waiver was for a total of $1,218.09.
The commissioners court also granted waiver/refunds to Martin Cristanelli ($405.11) and Frank Raney ($8,361). An appeal by Lance Griffin for waiver/refund of $1,522.86 was deferred until it is determined whether the delinquency was Ike-related. Lou Ann Casalini in the Galveston County Tax Office said she will research the issue and report back to the commissioners court.
All other agenda items were approved. All votes were 5-0. Agenda