I attended the work session and regular city council meeting. As with past meetings, I enjoyed hearing the concerns and input of multiple city residents. During the executive session, the City Secretary complimented the citizens of Jersey Village for being so involved. The meeting was well attended as are most meetings. I agree, the involvement of Jersey Village citizens is above average. As part of the city manager report, the police chief introduced three new officers in the city.
This is the first official live streaming meeting. You can view the archivedvideo on Youtube. Jersey Village is blessed to have such transparency in the government.
Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
The city received the 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The auditor was very positive in their review of the city finances. The firm commented that Jersey Village was a 2016 recipient of the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officer’s Association. I found this award is only issued to 1% of cities wi
th a population less than 9,999 people. In the opinion of the auditor, the city is in a better financial position than it was one year ago. Thank you city council and city staff!
Jersey Village City Employee Wellness Program
The City Manager Austin Bleess presented a wellness program for city employees. This program would improve employee health and thereby reduce workplace injury, health care costs, sick leave and absenteeism. There was a lengthy discussion that led the subject being tabled for further review at a later date. The city manager was encouraged to provide additional information on the financial impact to the city. Completion of the wellness program requirements would reduce the employee share of healthcare costs from 25% to 5% share.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
The City Manager Austin Bleess requested council approve him to apply for a FEMA grant for two city projects. The grant could be applied to improve localized drainage in the Wall Street Neighborhood and the Golf Course Berm Project. Austin Bleess has been instrumental in the pursuit of grant funds by the city. The council has already expressed intent to f
und 100% of these projects. City staff would need limited work hours to apply for a grant that could fund 75% of the project. This would mean a $4,709,178 savings for the city. Wisely, the council approved this item.
In the Fall of 2017, Jersey Village applied for FEMA grant funds to raise 18 homes. The total dollar requested was $321.4 million dollars. Announced at the meeting, FEMA has completed the eligibility review and identified our application as one ‘identified for further review’. Jersey Village was one of only fourteen grant applications in the State of Texas identified as ‘identified for further review’. FEMA has indicated that this stage of the process is to review the application for verification. Each application will be verified and then final award notification issued in May.
Elimination of Used Oil Recycling Station at City Hall
Many years ago it was difficult to dispose of used oil. A city resident and eagle scout constructed a used oil recycle station in the parking lot of city hall. Over the years this station has been abused and used as a dumping station for numerous hazardous materials. Several years ago I became a Hazardous Materials Technician through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. I fully understand the difficulties of proper disposal of hazardous materials such as paints, lacquers, and other substances collected at this location. Today, disposal by a resident is easily accomplished through the Harris County Household Hazardous Waste location at 6900 Hahl Road, Houston, Texas 77040. This service is provided to all Harris County residents wh
o do not reside in the city limits of Jersey Village.
The Public Works department will return to council with a contract to dispose of the accumulated waste.
Dillard Park Donation
The Wallace & Marie Dillard Family Partnership Ltd. has approached the city with a plan to develop a park off Dillard Drive. Through a partnership with the Greater Age Movement, the park will be designed and built without any taxpayer funds. After completion, the parcel and park structures will be donated to the City of Jersey Village. The Greater Age Movement advised this would be the first Senior Park in the United States. The City C
ouncil expressed interest in the project. The Dillard Family will continue with their plans and return to the city with additional information. I am excited about the opportunity to add park space but concerned about the cost of maintenance to the city. The Greater Age Movement stated they would assist the city with donations for the cost of maintenance.
Jersey Meadows Golf Course Marketing Plan
That was a little bit of a shock wasn’t it? The marketing team asked that you take 48 hours before turning the idea down. I strongly suggest watching the discussion. I have covered the golf course in past Facebook posts, but would like to concrete my stance that I am pro-golf course. A golf course is the best use for the property and many of the past years have been profitable. I am confident that revenue will increase after 290 construction is completed. I also agree with the marketing experts that now is the best time to change the name of the course. The group reviewed nearby courses, interviewed the staff, and sought to understand the audience perception of the course. They used “who you are, what you are, and who you do it for” and market opportunities to develop the brand name. I would love to hear your feedback, please send me an email or call me at 281-571-3299.
Golf Course Berm Project
There was a lengthy discussion during the work session prior to the regular city council meeting. The city engineer provided numerous options. I believe there are numerous projects being discussed and it’s important for the city to prioritize a timeline of events. The city engineer provided several options, including a pumping of stormwater from Wall St and Carlsbad to the Golf Course. This water would be contained by the berm until it could be discharged into the bayou. Councilman Mitcham presented research on the use of ponds in the golf course to create greater storage. In order to proceed, council directed city staff to provide a topographic map and renderings of the purposed berm. One of the major concerns with the berm project is the impact on the homes along Village Drive. While the project is beneficial to a large number of residents, it is important ensure we are eliminating risk not moving it to a new location.
The city council adjusted the May regular city council meeting to May 14th at 7pm. The annual Budget Retreat was scheduled for May 19th at 9 am. The personnel policies were adjusted and areas highlighted for additional revision. Waste Corporation of Texas and the City Manager will negotiate a new contract for residential trash pickup. The final contract will come back to city council for approval. The City Secretary and City Manager evaluations were conducted in executive session.
My apologies for the long email but there was a lot to cover in this past meeting. Early voting is April 23rd. I would appreciate your support with your vote. This past week I was endorsed by Former City Councilwoman Joyce Berube. I have several other endorsements in the works and cannot wait to share with you.