Galveston City Council on Thursday voted unanimously to approve a proposed tax rate of $0.554 per $100 valuation, the same as the current tax rate, to support the FY2013 Budget. Listen
“I’d like the minutes to reflect that the council’s approval of the tax rate maintains the same actual tax rate that we had in effect last year and reflects no increase,” said Council Member Elizabeth Beeton.
The city council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at 4 p.m. on September 5 and a public hearing on the tax rate at 4 p.m. on September 11.
The city council had a spirited discussion of public housing at Thursday’s regular meeting, but eventually voted to defer an item providing for special counsel funding regarding housing issues until a special meeting next Tuesday. Listen
“Those of us who are council members have never been a part of any discussion whatsoever,” complained Council Member Cornelia Harris Banks. “Now, at the ninth hour, we are asked. The seven of us who are elected are the ones who have to make the decision.”
Council Member Norman Pappous supported the deferral.
“We already have a line item for outside counsel,” he said. “And there are things that are happening Monday and Tuesday that we have to see before we act.”
Pappous took issue with a HUD official’s contention that the debate on public housing in Galveston is over.
“Well I was never part of any debate,” Pappous said. ”But to me the debate was over and it was over the day that the six of us got elected.”
Several people in the audience objected loudly to Pappous’ comments and Mayor Rosen threatened to clear the room. Council Member Terrilyn Tarlton called for order and the decorum returned.
Tarlton agreed that members of the city council have been excluded from the discussions of housing issues.
“It is a little unfair,” she said. “It’s disheartening that it’s coming down to these last few days and then we’re going to fight amongst ourselves. We don’t need to be doing that right now.”
The city council voted 5-2, with Mayor Rosen and Marie Robb opposed, to reappoint Beeton to the Galveston Industrial Development Corporation; and voted unanimously to reappoint Robb to the IDC. Listen
“I’m real concerned about the way expenditures are going for the 4B sales tax,” Rosen said, explaining that he was disappointed that the IDC agreed to receive public comment on purchase of trees with funds from the IDC public infrastructure account.
“I think it was wrong,” he said. “And I think that the IDC members need to be more attuned to our infrastructure needs; and trees are not infrastructure.”
Tarlton supported Beeton’s continuation on the IDC, but agreed that funding for trees as infrastructure is not proper.
“We are supposed to be visionaries,” Tarlton said. “And at a time when we have more non-working fire hydrants on this island I have made it a statement and I have made it clear, we need to use some of that funding in the IDC.”
The city council voted unanimously to reappoint Miguel Aleman to the Park Board of Trustees; and to appoint Joyce Calvert McLean and Clyde Steddum to the park board.
The city council voted unanimously to reappoint Ron Perot and Harry Maxwell to the Galveston Finance Committee; and voted 6-1, with Mayor Rosen opposed, to reappoint Don Mafrige and Bill Ansel to the committee. In addition, the city council named former finance committee member Shrub Kempner and former county judge Jim Yarbrough as non-voting advisory members.
The city council voted unanimously to appoint Beeton as the city’s representative on the Galveston County Transit District Board. Marie Robb will be the alternate representative.
The city council voted unanimously to name Cornelia Harris Banks as the city council’s ex-officio representative on the Galveston Landmark Commission.
The city council voted to support a proposal for paid parking on the Seawall presented by Assistant City Manager Brian Maxwell, Police Chief Henry Porretto. Listen
“What we are looking at is a 100 percent pay-by-phone (plan), for the length of the Seawall,” Maxwell said. “It’ll be total electronic, no meters placed. You will be able to purchase parking in dollar increments, up to eight hours.”
Maxwell said visitors can pay for parking by smart phone, computer and at some Seawall businesses with Internet access.
Annual passes for $25 also will be available.
The city council voted unanimously to approve an item “accepting the resignation” of Robert J. Barfield who had performed municipal court prosecutorial services. City Attorney Dorothy Palumbo had asked the city council to “terminate” the contract, but Barfield said he had resigned and thus cannot be terminated.
“Personally, I find this an offensive personal attack,” he said before the city council agreed to change the wording.
The city council proclaimed Thursday as a Day of Remembrance for Rudy Teichman. Listen
A proposed $16,699.64 contract for the repair of a fire department pumper truck was withdrawn from the agenda and was not considered for action by the city council.
All other agenda items were approved with unanimous votes. Agenda