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Council approves pursuing grants, improving Shadow Creek Ranch Sports Complex

By Stacey Glaesmann

Mayor Tom Reid proclaimed June 14 as National Flag Day prior to the City Council meeting Monday (June 8) at City Hall, located at 3519 Liberty Dr.

A Public Hearing was also held, as required by Texas Parks and Wildlife, to discuss the City’s application for grant funding from Texas Parks and Wildlife to be used for Centennial Park improvements. This issue was later voted on during the meeting, and Council unanimously voted to proceed with the grant application.

Former Council Member Larry Marcott brought attention to an item on the Consent Agenda, which authorizes the City to participate in the Other Victim’s Assistance Grant (OVAG) through the Attorney General’s Office.

Since items on the Consent Agenda are not usually discussed, Mr. Marcott took time to thank Council for continuing to participate in this important program.

The Other Victim’s Assistance Grant (OVAG) provides funding to municipalities and other non-profit agencies for crime victim’s services. The City of Pearland has provided crime victim services for 23 years and has operated a Crime Victims Assistance Program for 13 years.

Since 2012, the program has assisted 1,812 Pearland crime victims, providing children, adults, the elderly, men and women, and those of a variety of races and national origins with access to crisis intervention, counseling programs, accompaniment to court, referrals to shelters, assistance with the completion of Crime Victim Compensation applications, and the follow-up resources for the victim to monitor progress of a case against an alleged offender through the SAVNS (Statewide Automated Victim Notification System) or VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) systems.

Some debate surrounded a Resolution to enter into an Interlocal Agreement with Brazoria County MUD District 26 and Brazoria-Ft. Bend County MUD District 1 to fund financial gaps in the plans for the Shadow Creek Ranch Sports Complex.

In November 2014, the City entered into an agreement with the Districts to provide a portion of the public water, sewer and drainage improvements at the Sports Complex.

Each District agreed to contribute $685,000 in exchange for the City’s agreement to purchase the land and construct and maintain basic facilities at a cost of $1,370,000.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently approved the use of the funds from the MUD Districts.

The Interlocal Agreement addresses the expenditure of the $1,370,000 in District reimbursements for additional recreational facilities by establishing a priority list.

The City agreed to use the funds to construct the following improvements in accordance with the priority listing until such time as the funds are entirely expended: Crushed granite trail around detention pond, clear and grubbing Phase 2 open space, a playground, a lawn amphitheater, volleyball courts, a maintenance building, a fourth lighted softball field and scoreboards for the softball fields.

Councilman Scott Sherman expressed concern that the citizens of both MUD Districts were basically “double paying” for the Complex and its improvements. He pointed out that the project had been on the books for over six years and that the finances were getting out of hand.

Sherman said that there was no reason to involve MUD Districts and that the City needed to fund the project to keep it as a feature of Pearland and let the Districts pay down their own debts. He also expressed concern that the residents of the Districts were unaware of these expenditures, as the Public Hearings on the matter were poorly attended.

Despite Sherman’s objections, the Resolution was passed by a vote of four to one, with Councilmen Tony Carbone, Keith Ordeneaux, Gary Moore and Greg Hill voting for it and Sherman voting against.

The final Resolution of the evening was to identify eligible projects for the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program funds. To date, only Alvin Community College and the Pearland Neighborhood Center have expressed interest. The Resolution passed unanimously, permitting these entities to pursue the grants.