As challenging as these times are, it has given many of us time to reassess what is a “want” and what is a “need”. At the City many areas have been re-evaluated with the goal of currently being as flexible as possible and at the same time developing plans for a more efficient future.
With Emergency Orders and Uncertainty being an everyday occurrence in our lives, consistent and truthful Communication is now more important than ever.
So many misunderstandings are caused by poor or no Communication.
Many times I have residents and organizations tell me that they are so appreciative of knowing the issues and are able to be heard. The decisions ultimately may not be as workable as they would like but they appreciate the chance to have their opinions considered.
In this spirit Communication is evolving at the City to:
* Involve more residents to participate in serving on a City Committee, Board or Commission. Citizen participation needs to also reflect the diversification of our community. With different perspectives come decisions that are more inclusive of the community as a whole. Please keep in mind that many times we think the important decisions emanate from the larger Committees and Boards but smaller committees have just as big of an impact, such as the Tree Committee, Animal Services Board or the Cultural Arts Commission.
* Provide information to as many of you as possible via Newsletters or Social Media Posts to update you on City Decisions, especially before they occur. The better informed the better input one can provide.
* Develop a Contract Monitoring System with the City, Wharves and Park Board. With an ongoing review process such as this, Communication between all entities is enhanced, which leads to more efficient management of procurement, payroll and contracts and a resultant financial savings.
You can’t make a difference unless you are at the table, so please consider this an invitation to pull up a chair.
Have a Communicative August !
We are now 73 days (As of Aug 1) from the beginning of early voting in the longest Mayoral race in Galveston history. We have all been challenged like never before but as always Galvestonians have shown how resilient we are. This is such an important election as we decide who will lead us through an ever changing tomorrow. A leader with the knowledge and understanding of the issues we currently face is critical to our success. My campaign needs your support and insight as we navigate these issues.
Together we can protect and preserve the city we all love and steer Galveston towards a brighter future.
Even with a Pandemic the Budget process at the City goes on. On July 23rd the City's Preliminary Draft Budget for 2021 was presented to Council. This Budget calls for a 217 million dollar Budget which is 7% less than last year. A projected sizeable decrease in the property tax rate is also programmed.
To discuss all aspects of the Budget, Council will schedule three Budget meeting dates with final approval tentatively scheduled for September 17th. To acquaint yourself with the Budget, please CLICK HERE.
For the last two Council meetings Chief Hale has presented his plans to review all policies of the Police Department. At Council’s July 23rd meeting the Police Chief mentioned that he is nearing completion of his review and will submit his amended policies to the legal Department for their approval.
Chief Hale will present his new policies at Council’s August 27 meeting for Council’s review and for the public to review also.
At Council’s last meeting in July, a zoning overlay change was approved by Council for the property previously known as Oleander Homes. This Public Housing site is to become a mixed income housing site for a total of 348 units of mixed market rate, work force rate and public housing. Construction is to begin soon and the public housing units will allow the Galveston Housing Authority to move closer to satisfying all of the Public Housing units mandated following Hurricane Ike.
To view all the specifics of the project please CLICK HERE.
At Council’s last meeting in July they approved the existing Emergency Orders to stay in to effect till September 30th. The Orders included prohibition of electronic amusement machines, suspending flood plan regulations for PHI Aviation, maintaining health and safety policies for businesses with the wearing of masks, and restricting indoor gatherings of 500 persons or more without Mayoral approval. Educational Institutions and Religious Functions are exempted.
The Boards of Governors at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Houston and Galveston voted recently to merge their world-renowned specialty pediatric services to the Galveston location by early 2021, where they will be known as Shriners Hospitals for Children—Texas.
We are very fortunate to have such a prestigious Hospital located in our Medical Center and thank you to the Shriners for their continued support of such a worthwhile endeavor.
At the July IDC Board Meeting, Financial Assistance for Galveston businesses affected by closures due to CoVid-19 was discussed. This is a topic that is near and dear to me and extremely important for our business community.
Following our discussion, Staff was tasked with the duty of bringing back to the IDC Board for our August 4th meeting, options of plans and recommendations on funds available.
Port of Galveston
City Audit of the Port’s Procurement Policies: The City Auditor presented to Council on July 23rd the results of the Procurement Audit for the Port of Galveston. Differences of opinion from the Attorney for the Port and the City Attorney were noted concerning criteria for placing purchases out for competitive bid. The Auditor also recommended that the Port participate with the City and the Park Board in a Contract Monitoring System that would provide clarification on procurement practices in the future.
The Auditor’s findings and recommendations were also presented to the Wharves Board on July 28th where they were approved unanimously.
Traffic Study: the Traffic Study commissioned by the Port in response to the construction of Cruise Terminal #3 has been presented to the Port Staff. After Staff review the Study will be presented to the Public and Wharves Board at their August 25th meeting.
Port Directors Report: As Always is the case the Port Director’s Report is full of interesting topics. From highlighting the Financial Status of the Port, which shows income levels better than projected, to the redevelopment of the West End for Cargo, the Report is a great look at current activities at the Port. Please CLICK HERE for a closer look.
Cavalla Foundation: After months of discussion the Park Board approved a Management Agreement with the Cavalla Foundation for the management of the Historic Vessels at Seawolf Park. The Cavalla Foundation is composed of naval veterans who have for years maintained the ships and without their efforts these World War II vessels would not be available to the Public.
Congratulations to the Park Board and the Cavalla Foundation for finalizing the agreement.
Seawolf Park Pavilion: The Demolition of the Seawolf Park Pavilion will take place August 3rd and 4th. Currently this area will serve as an open air park and available to all those visiting the Park.
UTMB is Hiring
If you are looking for a way to assist during these challenging times, please don’t overlook an opportunity at UTMB. There are many and varied positions open and no matter what your choice, you will be partnering with an institution that is in the forefront in combating CoVid-19.
City Council Snippets
Currently, Interviews for Wharves Board And Planning Commission Are Planned For September 10th, Appointments For September 17th.
To Assist Businesses, Council Approved Changes To Payment Of Alcoholic Beverage Licenses.
Council Approved Building Of An Additional Pool Deck At Lasker Park Pool.
Council Approved The Purchase Of Additional Body Worn Cameras For The Police Department.
New Decorative Street Lights Approved for 27th Street From Broadway To Market.
Planning Department Is Offering Virtual Filing Of All Permits.
The City Is Visiting With The County Health Director And UTMB Routinely To Monitor The Status Of CoVid-19 In Galveston.