Drainage, transportation among bond proposals

In Friendswood by Reporter NewsLeave a Comment

By NICOLE JONES

Friendswood City Council on Monday opted to put an assortment of bond propositions before voters in November.

An ordinance laying out specific propositions and amounts will be presented to city council at an Aug. 12 meeting for approval.

Among the propositions, which were studied and recommended to the city by a citizen’s advisory team, is $41 million in drainage and public works improvements. The money would serve as the city’s share when collaborating with other entities.

“I am confident that if voters pass this $41 million, we would work until the cows come home to get partnerships and make this happen,” Mayor Mike Foreman said.

While the advisory team estimated the tax rate impact of the bond packages would be 5 cents maximum, the reality could depend on future growth, city staff said.

“If we’re being truthful with our residents, you can anticipate anywhere from a 5 to 10-cent impact on the tax rate,” City Manager Morad Kabiri told the council on Monday.

Also on the proposition list are a $9 million for a community center that could double as an emergency shelter and $2 million for renovating a public works facility on Blackhawk Blvd. Transportation projects also include $4.2 million as the city’s share of extending Friendswood Parkway in partnership with other agencies.

“Whether you want to say evacuation routes or mobility, we are impacted on either side by the growth of League City and the growth of Pearland and we’re going to need some opportunities to address the impact of congestion in our community,” Kabiri said.

Mobility improvements include $2.1 million for sidewalks, an item that Councilman John Scott was less than excited about.

“I have a big problem spending over $2 million on sidewalks. Our citizenry is more dogged by backed up traffic than the need for pedestrian walkways,” he said. “I’m just expressing my personal view as it relates to this particular item.”

Councilman Steve Rockey appeared unconvinced overall.

“Over 20 years, you can have a lot of economic changes, but your debt is the first thing you have to pay,” he said. “We’re putting a lot of debt on the city.”

Inflation remains a concern with bond projects, particularly with drainage. which would be planned in multiple stages.

“Until a project is bid, you’re not going to know the dollar amount,” Kabiri said. “Until a project is designed, you’re not going to know the dollar amount.”

While the city is not responsible for Clear Creek, it is responsible for streets, internal drainage to subdivisions, police and fire. In addition, Kabiri noted, partnering with local drainage districts and flood control is the best and likely only way to land federal assistance and partnerships for large projects.

City Council meets Monday at City Hall, 910 S. Friendswood Dr., and a period for public comment is provided.

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