Galveston City Council on Thursday voted 4-3, with Elizabeth Beeton, Steve Greenberg and Rusty Legg opposed, to approve an interlocal agreement with the University of Texas Medical Branch for the purchase of four transit vehicles to serve the UTMB/Victory Lakes Park and Ride facility. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
Beeton complained that the program discourages UTMB employees from living in Galveston.
"Our whole purpose here is to try to get people to live on the island," she said.
Council Member Linda Colbert agreed that she would like to see more people living in Galveston, but says opposing the transit project won't get them to move to the island.
"There are a lot of other reasons why people do not choose to live on the island," Colbert said. "That has to do with our tax base, our schools, the cost of living on the island versus living off, you get more 'bang for your buck' when you are not living on the island; there are a lot of different reasons why people choose not to live on the island."
Greenberg complained that the commuters will not have the opportunity to spend money in Galveston.
"(The) bus is going to take them down to UTMB, or wherever they take them, and take them back," Greenberg said. "Compared to driving around, spending money, stop(ing) and getting gas or getting something to eat."
The city council voted unanimously to defer action on a proposed zoning change to create "Container Terminal" as a "new and unlisted" land use to require a specific use permit. Concerns were expressed from a wide range of interests and the city council decided to take more time with the proposal. Beeton suggested that outside advice be sought.
"The city currently has a contract with Dannenbaum Engineering, who has on its staff a former colonel of the Corps of Engineers, who was there when the permit for Bayport was approved," Beeton said. "He would have a lot of expertise, I would think, about the uses and design of container terminals and might be able to help."
The city council voted unanimously to authorize a "limited proxy" agreement with Spanish Grant Civic Association to allow Council Member Dianna Puccetti, who represents the area on the city council, to participate in a meeting to make a quorum so that the bylaws of the association can be amended to remove homes that have been eliminated in the buyout program.
The city council voted 6-1, with Beeton opposed, to exempt the Park Board of Trustees from the annual beach maintenance permit requirement for all beaches on Galveston Island "for the limited purpose of cleaning and removing debris"; and voted unanimously to deny a request for an increase in beach user fees at the park board's parks. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
The city council voted 6-0-1, with Legg abstaining, to accept the low bid of $2,254,394,55 from Consolidated Concepts, Inc. for the rehabilitation of 42 owner-occupied housing units.
The city council voted 6-0-1, with Beeton abstaining, to include year round paid parking in the ballot language for the Seawall Parking Plan election in May. Previously the city council was going to propose that the paid parking period be limited to the months of March through September. Puccetti, who proposed the year around program, also suggested that the ballot language include a provision that 10 percent of the revenue generated from paid parking be invested in new technologies to maintain sand on the beach.
The city council voted unanimously to defer confirmation of City Manager Steve LeBlanc's appointment of Patrick McGuffey as a member of the Fire Fighters and Police Officers Civil Service Commission.
The city council voted to appoint Kathy Vandewalli, Maureen Patton, Stephanie Thomas, Martha Terrill, John Gorman, Robert Klepper, Karen Kislingbury and Karla Klay to the Galveston Commission for the Arts. The committee has not been active since Hurricane Ike and the appointments are intended to reactivate it.
The city council appointed Hillary Barrita and James Donlon to the Scholes International Airport at Galveston Advisory Committee.
The city council reappointed Michael Worthy as its representative on the Houston-Galveston Area Council Advisory Committee; and reappointed Rick Beverlin as the alternate.
A proposed three year contract with Bosworth A/C and Heat for replacement or repairs for air conditioning systems for city buildings was withdrawn from the agenda and was not considered for action by the city council.
Consideration of directions to be given the city manager concerning Gulf Coast Water Authority operations, board representation and proposed legislation was deferred for discussion at the January 27 meeting.
All other agenda items were unanimously approved. Agenda