By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The South Padre Island City Council met Wednesday evening for their regular meeting. Mayor Barry Patel and Councilman Alex Avalos were excused from the meeting, and the remaining four members fulfilled the required quorum for the meeting to take place.
Due to the upcoming budget cycle for fiscal year 215-2016, the council heard requests from outside agencies for funding in the coming year. All of the requests were from organizations with long-time relationships with the City. The Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Madre requested $10,000 towards their cause of continuing to serve the youth of the community. El Paseo Arts Foundation came up next to request $36,260 of in-kind services in the form of waving rental fees for the Convention Centre. Fifty-six percent of attendees to the foundation’s events were visitors who stayed in hotels or condos which ultimately contribute to the City’s Hotel Occupany Tax fund. Friends of Animal Rescue came with a request for $50,000, up $10,000 from last year, for continuing services to the City’s visitors and residents, which include an animal recovery center and quarantine facility, a temporary holding area for wildlife, and vaccinations. Friends of the Port Isabel Library also made their recurring request for funds in the amount of $20,000. The organization has major concerns about funding and stressed that even the $20,000 would not be enough to cover their costs. They are currently responsible for renting their facility, are in need of books, videos, and technology updates, are without a librarian and in the middle of a hiring freeze in the City of Port Isabel. Council Member Sam Listi encouraged the organization saying that the Council has approved construction on the Community Center and that the library should have a new home by March or April of next year. Finally, Sea Turtle Inc., which has a strong relationship with the City in regards to anti-litter campaigns and education, came in with a request of $12,500 followed by Valley Proud Environmental Council with a $5,000 request to continue with their longtime relationship of the anti-litter message and more. The only comments from the council were for further financial paperwork from the agencies. Council members will consider the requests to be awarded for the upcoming budget cycle at a future meeting.
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