SEPTEMBER 09, 2016


The SPI City Council took action on budget, taxes, parking, and City Council election related issues in a special meeting held on August 31.
Council approved the second and final reading of Ordinance 16-17, establishing a no parking zone on the south side of White Sands Street east of Padre Blvd. Council Member Dennis Stahl asked if the City could begin enforcing the ordinance in time for the Labor Day weekend by putting up temporary signs. “We’ll take care of it.” Stated Interim City Manager Darla Jones. “In addition to the (temporary signs), we’ve got increased enforcement out there.” Patrick Barrineau, shoreline management director, added the Shoreline Task Force had approved its support of the no parking ordinance on White Sands Street last meeting and was working on a grant to make improvements there.
Members of council also voted to commit $5,000 to Phase I of the Lower RGV Active Transportation Plan Economic Impact Study of proposed active transportation and tourism trails network and anchor sites in Brownsville and Cameron County. Mayor Patel said this study is related to the $4.2 million grant involving the proposed causeway bike pad. Irv Downing, UTRGV associate vice president of economic development, spoke to the Council about the study. “The initial phase is the connector between the National Park and back across to Padre,” he stated. “This analysis will allow us to really look at economic impact.”
Council unanimously approved the first reading of Ordinance 16-18, regarding the City budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2016 and ending Sept. 30, 2017. Also unanimously approved was the first reading of Ordinance 16-19, establishing the ad valorem and personal property tax rate of $0.305640 for tax year 2016, effectively an 8.8 percent increase in the tax rate setting the assessed valuation at 100 percent of the fair market value, providing for discounts in the event of early payment, and providing for penalty and interest in accordance with state law. Both motions required each member to individually state their vote for or against the record.
In other budget related action, Council voted to approve acceptance of Texas Department of transportation (TxDOT) RPT 1602 in the amount of $673,154, to approve acceptance of TxDOT project grant agreement RUR 1701 in the amount of $537,241, and to authorize the interim city manager to enter the agreements. “This is our standard operating funds that we get from TxDOT every year to run the SPI Metro,” stated Jones.
Relating to City Council elections, council members approved a motion to acknowledge receipt of the Certification of Unopposed Candidates for certifying candidates for November 8, 2016 General Election. Dennis Stahl Place 1 and Ron Pitcock Place 2 are the two unopposed candidates for City Council. Stahl brought up a point of discussion, further clarified by City Attorney Paul Cunningham and City Secretary Susan Hill, that this cancellation relates only to the City Council elections, and not to the other elections scheduled for that date. Council ended the meeting in closed session.


-By Kevin Rich