A presentation on Economic Development was given by Ray Laughter with Lone Star College System during Mondays city council meeting. Mr. Laughter explained the steps needed to have a successful action plan. Councilman Gaspar asked, “Who makes this happen the city or MEDC?” In response it was suggested that the city council work closer with the Greater Houston Alliance, Brazoria County Economic or Center Point; if they wanted draw more companies to Manvel.
Councilman Gaspar stated that he was “sick and tired of the homeowners having to support the integrity of the city with the tax base. I would like to see the tax base expand from business and the sales tax, not from homeowners.” Councilwoman Hehn questioned if the MEDC should handle the task or if the city should hire more staff with City Manager Kyle Jung and staff being too busy to take on more obligations. She also stated that she thought the MEDC would benefit from the information provided to council. Mayor Martin stated she personally invited MEDC as well as PD&Z but they did not choose to come.
Councilman Gaspar explained that MEDC changed their by-laws and removed the city manager as the liaison for the city. No further explanation was given as to why this occurred. It was suggested that removing the current MEDC Board members that were appointed by the city council would be a good idea if they did not want to work with city council. Mayor Martin agreed a team effort would be best for all of the city.
Mayor Martin said, “Bringing business here is fantastic, but we don’t have the infrastructure at the present time to serve them. That is what we are working toward, to expand our water and wastewater facilities.” It was further stated that if the city had businesses come to the City of Manvel, the utilities were not in place to serve them. Mayor Martin said, “You can bring businesses here and I have watched this for the past 15 years and when I tell them that we don’t the utilities here they can’t get to the door fast enough.” Mayor Martin further stated “this is what the city is working on. There are plans for an elevated storage tank and for the expansion of the waste water system.”
During the citizens comments a resident of Lakeland brought forth a sample of water and her water softener filter. It was less than appealing to many to think that anyone was bathing or cooking with this discolored water. Mr. Jay White (Public Works Director) and Mr. Michael White (Water and Sewer Director) gave an update on the issues with the water quality in Lakeland. Mr. Michael White stated that samples of water were taken from any home that has made a complaint. These residences were tested for lead and copper with all showing no levels out of the normal range. There can be an issue with sand in the lines anytime there is a large amount of water being used anywhere in the system. Sand will settle at the bottom of the pipes unless a lot of water is used such as that of a fire hydrant.
There are some sections that have stagnant water due to the lack of completed homes. It is important to flush those lines more often than required to prevent this from happening. A water flushing system was purchased and will be set to have a more frequent flushing of the system. It will be at a low rate of speed to prevent sand or sediment from being disturbed. Loop lines will help with stagnant water and are to come online when section four of Lakeland opens up for construction. Mr. White needs residents to call in anytime day or night the minute they have a water issue such as a smell or discoloration. If it occurs at 2 a.m. then please call at 2 a.m. If you wait the issue may be gone by the time they hear about it and then there would be no way to trace the source. The number to call during normal business hours is 281-585-4997 after normal business hours please call 281-489-1212.
Story by Terry Ruiz