Manvel city council held a special meeting this week to discuss a goal setting process and the establishing of objectives and priorities. City Manager Kyle Jung explained the goal setting process and suggested council put forth broad goals on the direction the city should go and then identify the objectives required to accomplish them.
Member Adrian Gaspar said he would like to see the city finish what it starts. He considers the city “stuck in a rut and nothing gets done. We keep setting goals for next year and the year after and we never finish.” Reciting a litany of items he claims have been deliberately cast aside, he expressed the feeling that some people in this building (city hall) don’t like the recommendations of council members and/or PD&Z and “are wasting my time because you all want all these goals but nobody here is doing what council wants to do. Whose goals are we going to talk about tonight? The council’s goals or the Mayor, City Manager, or City Attorney? Or the developers who come here and buy the land to build for a high profit? That is my number one question.”
Jung responded to Gaspar that efforts have been made to schedule joint workshops and meetings with council in an effort to move along with the revised Comprehensive Plan and residential zoning districts but that members of council have been lax in committing to possible meeting dates. He explained that the committees want to get council’s input and understand its goals and objectives rather than go back and forth on issues that may or may not meet council’s wants.
After the expression of initial passions members developed numerous ideas for city goals. Among the important issues to consider are water, sewer, roads, drainage, parks, and future city personnel requirements. City attorney Bobby Gervais told council that “the things that really count the most start at the top. You get down to the details about facades and stuff later on. You have to make sure you’ve got the proper development, you’ve got the water and the sewer, you will need a wastewater treatment plant and an elevated storage tank to pressurize everything.” He considers Manvel fortunate in that it still has a considerable blank slate to work with. “The Comprehensive Plan is where it starts and now council needs to prioritize their goals.”
Unanimously agreed was the need for better communication among city administrators, council, and city committee members. Mobility both inside and outside the city with an ability to adequately move people was another issue consistently agreed to. Mayor Delores Martin said she would like to see the city acquire fifty acres to house a satellite campus for the Alvin Community College and all agreed education infrastructure is important to the city.
Seemingly most essential to council members and garnering the greatest discussion is the critical need to secure sufficient water resources to meet the future growth. City manager Jung says “water is the key and it is the greatest problem that the city has. The city has to develop plans in order to capture the water that is running through the city. The city has to be able to capture both on storm water and treated effluent.”
City attorney Gervais shared with council that Manvel has a benefit of taking advantage of planning from the Gulf Coast Water Authority (GCWA). He suggested council authorize the city manager to talk with GCWA because “we are going to have to start putting some serious big numbers on anything they find they can get for us; it’s going to cost a lot of money. It’s only going to get worse and more expensive. I don’t think it’s ever going to be a poor investment for a city.” Gervais believes surface water is the key and says the city is blessed with two GCWA canals coming through the city on either side of sand pit that was acquired a while back. The pit is well situated for possible use as a water treatment facility and elevated storage tank.
Council will continue to discuss these issues in the coming months as two important documents are expected for consideration before year end. The Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee and PD&Z are likely to present a revised comprehensive plan and the city engineer will be presenting an updated capital improvements plan. Both documents lend themselves to spelling out the city’s long term goals and objectives.