Galveston City Council on Thursday voted 4-3, with Mayor Pro Tem Linda Colbert, Steve Greenberg and Chris Gonzales opposed, to adopt the 2012 Historic Preservation Plan for the city. The plan had been the subject of an extensive discussion in workshop earlier in the day. Listen
The city council voted unanimously to approve the allocation of $1.65 million of 4B Sales Tax revenue for improvements to parks and park facilities on the recommendation of the Galveston Industrial Development Corporation. Listen
“I’m obviously excited – elated - to vote for this,” said Mayor Joe Jaworski, thanking the Families, Children, and Youth Board and the Parks and Recreation Committee and the Parks and Recreation Department for their work on the project.
“This is a boost for our department and our staff,” said Parks Director Barbara Sanderson. “It’s a big morale booster.”
The item did not include the architectural and design fee for a community swimming pool, but a second motion allocating up to $150,000 in 4B funds for that project, was approved unanimously.
The city council also voted unanimously to approve four other allocations of 4B money.
- $2.5 million for the Harborside Drive Design Project;
- $10,000 for the East End Lagoon Study;
- $500,000 for the Bradner Road Improvement Project on Pelican Island; and
- $300,000 for the Downtown Preservation Green Project.
The city council deferred action on a proposal for $550,000 in 4B funds for the Washington Park Improvement Project.
The city council took no action on a proposal that $45,000 of the 4B funds be allocated for a study of the impact of the Panama Canal on the Port of Galveston.
“Can I just take that money and tell you the Panama Canal will have a positive impact on the wharves?” Jaworski joked.
Puccetti noted that both the IDC board and the Port of Galveston agreed that such a study is “not timely”.
The city council voted 4-2, with Jaworski and Puccetti opposed to approve an ordinance creating a designation of “lobbying” and requiring that people who seek legislation on behalf of various interests register as lobbyists.
“My gut tells me this isn’t necessary,” Jaworski said.
The city council voted 5-0-1, with Jaworski abstaining, to retain Craig Eland as attorney for the city in pursuing claims against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
A proposed resolution to urge the Texas Legislature to allow a municipality to designate its presiding officer, such as city manager, to exercise emergency authority and powers during hurricanes and other emergencies, rather than the mayor, failed on a tie vote. Greenberg, Elizabeth Beeton and Rusty Legg were in favor; and Jaworski, Puccetti and Gonzales, were opposed. Four affirmative votes are required for a motion to pass.
“State law recognizes the highest ranking elected official on these matters,” Puccetti said, noting that she has been through several emergency responses during past years. “The mayor is who they want to have on the phone. The city manager is always there, as well and they work in tandem during an emergency. I think it would be very poor form for us to try to opt out of that process.”
Greenberg, who first proposed the resolution, disagreed.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me that a person that gets elected, and might be here three months when a major crisis comes, that that person now is in charge of running a city when you have a professional city manager that’s getting paid to do it,” Greenberg said.
The city council had two split votes on attorneys to handle BP claims. Candidates were Jimmy Williamson of Simpson & Beeton and Tony Buzbee of the Buzbee Law Firm.
Colbert, Puccetti and Gonzales supported Buzbee, but the vote for that motion failed 3-2-2; with Greenberg and Legg opposed and Jaworski and Beeton abstaining. A second motion to select Williamson failed with on a 2-3-2 vote, with the same division. Thus, neither firm was selectied.
The city council voted unanimously to appoint Shirley Foster to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 11 Board of Directors. However, the vote came after a vote to name Tommy Metcalf to the position failed on a vote of 2-3, with Jaworski and Puccetti in favor of Metcalf; and Beeton, Legg and Greenberg opposed. Richard Anderson, chair of the TIRZ board, had recommended Metcalf.
All other agenda items were approved unanimously. Colbert left the meeting early and was not included in many of the votes. Agenda
Mayor Jaworski presented resolutions in support of Motorcycle Awareness Week and in recognition of the efforts of former council member Jackie Cole on the Galveston Island Tree Conservancy.