By Dan Parker
Another step has been taken toward the possibility of major roadwork on 11th Street.
At a special meeting today, Thursday, Feb. 3, the Port Aransas City Council voted 5-1 to present voters with a bond package that, if approved, would finance future improvements throughout the length of 11th Street, a major thoroughfare that’s only two lanes wide and filled with bumps.
The $5 million bond issue is expected to be on the ballot at the time of the May 14 city elections.
The council approved putting together a package that would involve a full rebuild throughout most of the length of 11th Street, from Avenue G to Royal Palm Lane, where some of the most densely populated parts of the thoroughfare lie. It also will mean inserting a center turn lane in that stretch.
The package also would provide for installing underground drainage on the north end of 11th Street and building a concrete hike-and-bike path along one side of the street and a sidewalk along the other side, from Avenue J to Royal Palm Lane.
The section of 11th Street from Royal Palm to Access Road 1A would get a new road base and new asphalt, but no underground drainage and no center turn lane. It would get an asphalt bike path.
The plan is identical to a $5.5 million proposal presented earlier by city staff, minus about $500,000 worth of concrete drainage culverts. City Engineer Jim Urban said there is adequate drainage, for now, without the culverts, which would have run along Howard Street between Station Street and State Hwy. 361.
The city’s tax rate currently is 33.2023 cents per $100 valuation. If approved by voters, the $5 million option will mean taxes will go up 3.087 cents, according to Darla Honea, the city’s finance director.
The average market value of a home in Port Aransas, with a homestead exemption, is $199,471, according to Honea’s office. With a 3.087-cent tax increase, that property owner would see $61.58 added to his tax bill, Honea said.
In approving the $5 million option, the council rejected two other options offered up by city staff.
One option was a $2 million package that would have meant a smaller tax increase but also wouldn’t have meant fewer improvements to 11th Street.
Another option was a $6.4 million package that would have meant a bigger tax increase and more extensive improvements.
Councilman John Price voted against the motion to put the $5 million package before voters, saying he favored the $6.4 million option.
Councilman Keith Donley was absent due to “a last-minute doctor’s appointment,” which he tried unsuccessfully to reschedule, Mayor Keith McMullin said. McMullin said he spoke with Donley before the meeting and got the councilman’s input on the 11th Street issue. Donley supported the $6.4 million option, McMullin said.