John Kelley’s Council Report
Public Comment1. Mark Escamilla President of Delmar College called into praise the joint venture on the new Police Academy on Delmar’s South campus.2. The head of a private gas company called in to make a pitch to buy the city gas company.
City Managers Report1. La Bonte Park will be open for Easter at a reduced level because of Covid. There are 33% fewer sites, down to 62with only one RV being permitted per site. The city recently planted hundred new trees at the park.2. There neighborhood meetings for input on the area development plans for Flour Bluff and Padre Island have been scheduled and can be found in the city website3. Halo Flights made a presentation. They made 1,235 flights last year. They are a nonprofit and much of their funding for people can’t afford their services is from $35 per household membership fee. That membership fee also prevents members from having to pay any out-of-pocket expense on Halo flights.
Motion to reconsider
At the end of last meeting (3-16-21) after returning from executive session Council Member Barrera made a motion to approve a resolution stating “The City of Corpus Christi opposes any legislation that expands authority of the Port of Corpus Christi Authority or Nueces County, Texas”, seconded by Council Member Pusley. The Resolution passed with Molina, Martinez, against and Hunter abstaining.
At this week’s meeting Councilman Lerma made a motion toreconsider the Resolution. The reconsideration motion required six votes. The motion failed to with only Lerma, Martinez, Molina, Hernandez voting aye and Hunter abstaining. Guajardo, Pusley, Smith and Barrera voted agains reconsideration. Lerma, Martinez, Molina and Hernandez consistently vote to support Port and County interests.
Item 12 a competitive bid was awarded for design of the new police Academy to Ramirez, Turner and Associates. There also the designer for all of the South Del Mar campus. A couple ofCouncilman asked that bid matrixes be included in the information of future awards. They also asked about interviews which were subjectively scored. Phillip Ramirez was one of the biggest donors to City Council campaigns this election cycle.There are 950 applicants for the new police Academy.
Item 15 gas bills
The increase in the price of natural gas during the freeze resulted in $35-$40 million in extra cost to the City, this must be recovered from customers. In order not to consumers with huge bills rates are being adjusted. Plan is to pay part of the charges out of the reserve fund and finance the rest. Consumers pay the money back over 70 years. That program will start in June and tell them bills will be calculated at the pre-event rate of $0.93 MCF (1000 cubic feet). See the rates below:
Current Rates Proposed GUMP Rates
Previous Minimum Charge- $11.65 per month
New Minimum Charge- $18.60 per month
Previous Volume Charges per mcf (block rates)
First 1 mcf- $0
Next 2 mcf- $5.81
Next 3 mcf- $3.36
Next 4 mcf- $3.26
Next 20 mcf- $2.71
Next 50 mcf- $2.25
New Volume Charge per mcf (single rate)
First 2 mcf- $0; 3 mcf or more – $2.25
Current Average Bill Proposed GUMP Average Bill
Summer- $16.35 (1 mcf) Summer- $23.30 (1 mcf)
Annual- $26.86 (2 mcf) Annual- $28.00 (2 mcf)
Winter- $37.37 (3 mcf) Winter- $34.95 (3 mcf)
Legislative Agenda Update (Will be provided weekly to Council). 1. No discussion of City/County/Port legislative conflicts.2. Against- SB10 (city/county) HB749 (every political entity) would take away right to lobby- a city could be sued when perceived as lobbying against personal interests of an individual or company.3. Trying to limit consequences, trying to avoid being “for defunding police” really a state grab after local power. SB23 and two other bills for the sick to penalize cities for “defunding the police”. State Senator Hinojosa described it as “a solution looking for a problem.”
Any of the bills would have negative unintended consequences. They would result in changes in collective bargaining, staffing levels, overtime and catastrophe impacts on city budget. It is really an attempt to impose state level control over City budgets. Penalties include withholding sales tax, sending the budget to an election. Some of the bills include all of public safety, fire, ems etc.4. Against- Bill preventing Cities from issuing debt unless voter approved.5. Would remove local disaster response and substitute total top down- aimed at Austin –pandemic- huge negative consequences. Not desirable given the states recent performance with Covid 19 and the freeze6. Supporting – Bill on air quality monitoring funding. Vetoed last time by Abbott.