By Pamela Cody
Special to the PRESS
The SPI City Council held its regular meeting Wednesday, February 19, to discuss items of business including naming a new city secretary and amending the landscaping plans currently underway on the Island’s medians.
After an impressive 35-year career as city secretary, Susan Manning is retiring on March 31, 2020. After an executive session was held by the City Council, it was announced that Angelique “Nikki” Soto has been selected to replace Manning when she steps down. Via telephone, Manning confirmed the information, saying that Soto will assume the position as city secretary on April 1, 2020. Soto currently serves as the Public Information Officer for the city.
In other business, Public Works Director Alex Sanchez addressed the council to request changes to the landscaping portion of the PR100 Median, Sidewalk, and Boardwalk Improvement Project currently underway on the Island.
SPI Mayor Patrick McNulty prefaced Sanchez’s report, saying “You’re gonna help us save some money, huh?” with Sanchez replying “We got an opportunity to do some changes that aren’t going to cost anything extra and might save some money.”
The first issue was watering the north side of the Island. Instead of using a pump truck, a temporary irrigation system was proposed. Shorter palm trees are being used, 6 foot instead of 10 foot, because the root balls on the bigger trees were too big for the planting areas on the medians. The last change was to a different type of butterfly plant than what was originally proposed. The council approved the changes to the landscaping plans.
Standing in for Director Ed Caum, Lori Moore from the CVB gave a brief fiscal update on the 2020 spring break numbers this far. From March 1-8, hotel reservation numbers are slightly up from 2019. However, Texas week, the second week, the numbers were at 40.73, down 10 percent from the previous year.
“So, Texas week is down, Texas A&M is flat,” Mayor McNulty commented. Council member Joe Ricco queried Moore, asking “Are we doing anything to adjust the marketing?” Moore reported that Caum had a meeting with a representative from the marketing firm after the last council meeting and they’ve already adjusted and deployed different strategies to try and improve those numbers in the next few critical weeks.
Lastly, Wendi Delgado, Director of Operations of Administrative Services for the City of South Padre Island, informed the council the selection committee’s recommendation for a company to create a comprehensive compensation plan for the city of South Padre Island. After reviewing several firms, the city chose the company Evergreen, LLC. City Council members approved and authorized City Manager Randy Smith to enter into a professional services agreement with the company.