By Betsy Dolan
The Missouri City City Council voted 5-2 on February 17 to approve an ordinance that places four propositions on the May 10 general election ballot.
The four propositions include:
• Drainage projects–$6.5M
• Mobility &
• Construction of Fire
The majority of the sometimes heated discussion centered around the transportation and facilities projects.
Councilman Don Smith, who represents District B in the eastern part of the city, questioned why so many of the road projects in the bond proposal were in Sienna Plantation and Quail Valley.
“The lions share, $6M of this transportation money, is going to two projects: La Quinta Drive and the Knight Road extension”, said Smith. “My constituents are telling me, we need to do more on my side of town and on this side of town (Texas Parkway) and I have to be extremely vocal about it”, Smith said.
Assistant City Manager Scott Elmer told the council that a city-wide engineering study ranked every street using a pavement condition index and that the projects earmarked in the bond proposal were ranked the worst.
“When you look at the red on this map (streets targeted for repair), those are the streets that are over 40 years old”, said Mayor Allen Owen.
Councilwoman Yolanda Ford reminded the council that bond money is assigned to certain categories, not to specific projects.
Councilman Robin Elackatt mentioned the confusion experienced by voters when they approve a bond based on specific projects only to have those projects abandoned years later when the money is used elsewhere.
“The problem is that people vote for one thing and then we change it and it goes back to a trust issue with the council and I have a problem with that”, Elackatt said.
The $5.7M Facilities portion of the bond allocates $3M for expansion of the Public Safety Headquarters and $2.7M for immediate repairs to the roof system at the City Hall complex.
Originally, the bond proposal called for $10M for Facilities, with $7M spent on rehabilitating City Hall. But the money was moved to the Transportation part of the bond. An additional $300,000 for a utilization study was also moved to transportation after Elackatt questioned why a study was being done on ways to improve the city hall complex when there weren’t funds available anymore to implement the study’s findings.
Mayor Owen expressed his view that the City Hall complex shouldn’t be developed until a Town Center concept was built nearby, mentioning Sienna Plantation and how the residents have no need to come to City Hall. But Don Smith disagreed saying that investing in the City Hall complex would spur development.
Broussard showed a break down, by district, of bond money for transportation and facilities: District A, $10.6M; District B, $6.94M; District C, $4.85M; District D, $6.74M.