2011-02-17 / Front Page
Council alters course
Bond package for more 11th Street work to be presented to voters
By Dan Parker
The Port Aransas City Council has decided to go another route on 11th Street.
The council voted today, Thursday, Feb. 17, to present voters with a $6.4 million bond package which, if approved, would fund large-scale improvements to 11th Street, a major artery for residents and tourists alike.
The vote nullifies action that the council took two weeks ago to offer up a $5 million package for 11th Street roadwork that wouldn’t have been as extensive.
The issue now is up to voters. Election day is May 14.
The $5 million plan proposed by city staff would have involved 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 would have meant inserting a center turn lane in that stretch.
The package also would have provided for installing underground drainage with curbs and gutters 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 have received a new road base and new asphalt, but no underground drainage, no curbs and gutters and no center turn lane. It would have gotten an asphalt bike path.
At the Feb. 3 meeting, councilman John Price cast the lone dissenting vote on the $5 million option, saying that he wanted to present voters with a different option put together by city staff – the $6.4 million package. (Councilman Keith Donley was absent due to a doctor’s appointment, but he sent word that he also would support the $6.4 million plan.)
Price had the matter put on the agenda for today’s meeting because he said he had seen a swell of public support for the $6.4 million proposal. He asked council members to change their votes to go with that plan.
Several citizens spoke at today’s meeting, all in support of the $6.4 million plan. One of the speakers was Suzette Freeman, president of Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce-Tourist Bureau.
The $6.4 million package would mean a complete rebuild of the full length of the street, with center turn lanes inserted and underground drainage, curbs and gutters installed from Avenue J to Access Road 1A. It would involve construction of a concrete hike-and-bike path on one side of the street and a sidewalk on the other throughout the entire length of the street, except for in a relatively small area where a sidewalk already exists.
Gas and water line work were expected to be involved in both plans, but more of it would be involved in the $6.4 million plan.
Voting in favor of the $6.4 million proposal were Price, Donley and council members Glenda Balentine, Steve Lanoux, Rick Pratt and Charles Bujan.
Mayor Keith McMullin voted no, saying that he worried that voters wouldn’t approve a bond issue with such a high price tag.
The city’s tax rate currently is 33.2023 cents per $100 valuation. If approved by voters, the $5 million option would have meant taxes would 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.
The $6.4 million option would mean a tax increase of 4.137 cents, which would add about $82.52 to the average homeowner’s tax bill, Honea said.