By KEVIN RICH
Special to the PRESS
The South Padre Island City Council considered several agenda items related to Spring Break, the venue tax, and shoreline related issues in its April 5 meeting.
Mayor Barry Patel introduced the Spring Break related agenda items stating, “We will be having several meetings in the future about the mass gathering ordinance. The public will have many opportunities to speak in the future.”
SPI City Manager Susan Guthrie presented the debriefing process the City is undertaking to analyze this issue. She began by stating that Spring Break has a major impact on the City and community in terms of revenue, expenditures, staffing, risk and reputation. “The high volume of visitors and associated traffic, trash, crime and medical needs are taxing the system,” said Guthrie. She went on to explain the City will be collecting extensive Spring Break related data from many sources, including public safety, code enforcement, public works, shoreline, parks, fleet, fire, EMS, beach patrol, technology, municipal courts, and finance. They will perform ‘SWOT’ analysis, looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as a part of the process.
“I think it’s a great way to approach this,” commented Council Member Pitcock. He went on to emphasize the importance of collecting and analyzing data to come up with solutions, as opposed to making “knee jerk reactions.”
Council next considered authorizing the city manager to form a subcommittee to review, research and make recommendations regarding implementation of a mass gathering ordinance. Guthrie proposed that the subcommittee be comprised of city staff, two council members, two members from the business community, a member from Property Owners Who Care (POWC) and one citizen at large. “Public input begins now and it continues for the next two and a half months,” Patel said. He emphasized the urgency for coming up with an actionable item for this issue by July, to allow for the planning of Spring Break 2018.
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