By SHELDON MOORE
Special to the PRESS
“Another year we will never forget” were the words of South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce President Alita Bagley as she introduced Mayor Patrick McNulty at the March 1 Quarterly Public Affairs Luncheon. Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino, Jr. was among those in attendance in the near capacity ballroom at South Padre Island’s Beach Resort Hotel.
McNulty opened his review of 2021 by thanking the City Council members for their contributions and cooperation throughout the year. He went on to praise the 198 city employees in running a city that routinely morphs from 3,000 – 4,000 permanent residents to a destination resort with peak population of 60,000 – 80,000. He further pointed out that the island hosted approximately nine million visitors in 2021, in spite of another year of our nation’s COVID concerns. Over 20,000 guests, from all over the world, checked in at the South Padre Island Visitor Center in 2021.
The Mayor mentioned two of the largest current infrastructure projects, a Deep Water Marina and the Birding Center, both proceeding on schedule. He also touched on the city’s AA+ Bond Rating which he credited to the fiscal responsibility of the Financial Department. Continued growth in the form of 10 new restaurants and eight other new regular businesses was enjoyed in 2021.
A new partnership with McAllen International Airport, in the form of a shuttle service to and from that airport, was also hailed as a way to increase the island’s exposure to upper valley visitors.
Mayor McNulty also cited a whopping $12,643,000 in sales taxes and an additional $658,000 in beverage taxes received in 2021.
With regard to shoreline issues, it was mentioned that 17 acres of dunes were replaced in 2021 with 350,000 cubic yards of sand being added to the beachfront. A new boat ramp facility, to be complete in 2023, was mentioned as well.
The Mayor was also pleased to announce that, with the help of Cameron County, research regarding the proposed second causeway is being fast tracked. Additionally,
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