Council considers raising taxes to fund projects

Special to the PRESS

The SPI City Council met Wednesday evening for their regular meeting. The Mayor celebrated the month of May with a proclamation recognizing May 2015 as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.

Before delving into funding requests on the agenda, City Manager Bill DiLibero came to the council with a “reality check,” laying out the projects to be considered alongside the available funds. Projects that had been identified but not allocated included updating the Transportation Plan at $168,000, Renovation of the Old City Hall at $285,053, a contract with Peter Revella to conduct grant administration in the amount of $57, 338, and another $5,500 to Vector Chemicals for mosquito prevention. With those projects along with others that were not discussed, the total cost came out to about $605,000 while only $164,000 is available in reserves. Council Members considered the option of moving $150,000 that had been allocated to the City Park as well as an extra $217,000 that had been allocated to sidewalk work that would not break ground until the next fiscal year.

In regards to the Transportation Plan, the City submitted a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Grant application on Monday in the amount of $11.4 million that included median extension to the north on Padre Boulevard, installation of 11 miles of concrete sidewalks, landscaped buffers between the street and sidewalks, and improvements to bicycle lanes. To make the project shovel-ready, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), who controls Padre Boulevard, requires a median analysis study, full design plans, and environmental studies that would cost the City $168,000. Although the cost is high, Council Member Julee LaMure said, “My thought is that if someone is going to give me $11.3 million for $168,000, I’m in.” The majority of the council approved of the plan. If the grant is not awarded, the preparation will remain valuable for use in the future. Awards should be announced in three to four months.

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