A regular roundup of local-authority activities by Lora-Marie Bernard and Trishna Buch
A NEW SCHOOL and a nearby development of up to 1,500 homes caused city commissioners to approve an engineering contract for a $4,300,000 sewer line on Wednesday.
The Texas City commissioners heard that a pressurized 16-inch pipe known as a force main is needed to service a junior high school and a neighboring subdivision in a “relatively undeveloped” area under their jurisdiction north of Dickinson Bayou.
The school, owned by Dickinson independent school district, is due to open for the fall 2018 semester and the Southlake subdivision, west of FM-3436, is expected to contain at least 1,200 homes when completed.
If the sewer line is to be ready in time, the city needs the engineering for the project to start immediately as it does not supply the development area with sanitary sewer service at present.
When hooked up, the force main will transport the area’s untreated wastewater from a point on FM-517 to one near the intersection of SH-3 and 25th Avenue North, from where an existing line will carry it to the city’s Bay Street wastewater treatment facility.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the city commissioners approved an engineering agreement with Houston-based ARKK Engineers, which will be responsible for the project’s design, permitting and coordination with outside entities, as well as bidding assistance and construction-phase services, for a total fee of $698,280.00.
Bangers and gnash
A FIREWORKS stand was once again the topic of discussion when Dickinson city council held a second public hearing on a land-annexation proposal on Tuesday.
The city is considering plans to annex 91 properties on unincorporated land to the north of downtown, in an area bounded on the west by SH-3, the north by Deats Road, the east by Hill Avenue and the south by Salvato Street.
During the previous public hearing, six people spoke against the annexation, three of them on behalf of a fireworks stand.
They feared the annexation would render the stand – Mrs Becky’s Fireworks Warehouse – illegal because the facility would be taken inside the city limits.
One of the stand’s owners, Johnny Pate, returned on Tuesday to make his voice heard once again, along with another of its owners, Rebecca Rodriguez, and employees Mary Abshire, Tracy Brown, Joann Gonzales and Jessica Thaji.
The employees’ common concern was that the annexation would result in the loss of the stand, which would cause the loss of a decent source of income for them.
Apart from the concerns about the firework stand, another resident was not sure whether the city’s police department would be able to handle the increased call volume he said would be caused by the annexation and two others said they want to remain in the unincorporated area to continue paying lower taxes than their incorporated neighbors.
During the discussion, mayor Julie Masters clarified a public misconception that the annexation would result in private properties being rezoned as commercial properties.
The city council’s first reading of the annexation ordinance will take place on April 3 and it is expected to hear the second reading and vote on the measure on April 11.
In brief …
• League City councilmembers have created a committee to assist with transportation projects and issues in the city.
• League City’s finance committee will meet tomorrow, Monday, at 4:00pm at 300 West Walker.
• League City councilmembers have created a “clean and green” committee to focus on keeping the city’s roads clean, especially during road construction projects.
New sports deal boosts county coffers
By Lora-Marie Bernard
A NONPROFIT dedicated to promoting student athletics is to pay the county more than $11,000 per month to operate the public sports complex at Jack Brooks Park.
The payment includes a profit share greater than any previously paid to the county for the right to operate the facility.
The county commissioners this week approved a contract with Westchase Express under which the Houston company will pay rent and a share of the facility’s profits for three years, with a two-year option to renew the agreement.
Westchase, which was the only bidder for the concession, will pay $11,400 rent per month in the first year, raising the figure by 3.5 per cent annually, as well as a 2.5 per cent revenue share this year, increasing to 3 per cent next year. It will also pay the electricity and water bills for the facility, its second endeavor since opening for business two years ago.
During their meeting on Tuesday, the four attending county commissioners unanimously approved county parks and cultural services director Julie Diaz’s recommendation to accept the bid after receiving a report in which she said she was impressed with the offer.
The report described the profit-share deal as a “very good option for the county” and “more than any other previous concessionaires”.
In the agreement Westchase will assign an event director to manage and maintain the property, organize its ball-game and meeting-room schedules, operate its lights and handle special requests.
The company’s proposal also includes plans to apply for funds from Major League Baseball’s Tomorrow program to upgrade the field’s lighting poles and other physical improvements.
Westchase, which has operated Houston high school Northland Christian’s sports facility since 2015, describes itself as a tax-exempt nonprofit dedicated to addressing confusion in student athletic competitions and empowering youth to graduate.
Under the agreement, Westchase will charge schools and nonprofits $15 per hour to rent the field; $10 per hour for lights and $50 for any special request. Youth programs will be charged $22.50 per hour for the field, $15 per hour for lights, $75 for special requests and a refundable deposit of $75.
Adult programs will be charged $30 per hour for field rental, $20 for lights, $100 for a special request and a $100 refundable deposit.
Youth leagues will be charged $17.50 per hour for field rentals, $10 for lights, $50 for field preparation, $75 for special requests and a $200 refundable deposit.
Adult leagues will be charged $25 per hour for field rentals, $15 per hour for lights, $100 for field prep, $100 for a special request and a $400 refundable deposit.
Tournament fees will be $65 per game, including all field services, $20 for lights for each game, a $75 advertising fee and gate fees from $5 to $10.
The meeting room will cost $15 per hour for schools, other youth programs and nonprofits and $20 for all others, with a $35 cleaning fee.
• Precinct-one commissioner Darrell Apffel was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.