Corpus Christi City Manager, Margie Rose, Addresses FBBA

Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

margie-rose-and-melanie

     Corpus Christi City Manager Margie Rose spoke to the general membership of the Flour Bluff Business Association at its November 2016 regular monthly meeting.  Ms. Rose was appointed City Manager on July 12, 2016. She served as Interim City Manager, beginning on June 23, 2016 and has been Deputy City Manager since June 2014. Prior to that, she was Assistant City Manager for 12 years. She has over 29 years of local government management experience.  Ms. Rose focused on issues that would directly affect the Flour Bluff citizens.

  • A new traffic light at Purdue and Flour Bluff will be installed in 2017 as part of the 2014 Bond traffic signal project.
  • 18 Flour Bluff streets will receive seal coats or overlays beginning in the spring of 2017.
  • Laguna Madre Wastewater Treatment Plant capital improvements are occurring now.  As part of the City’s long range plan, the plant may be eliminated as part of the Wastewater Consolidation Plan.
  • The City partnered with NASCC will be working in 2017 to improve the truck staging area at the main gate to improve traffic flow and safety.
  • Parts of the 2012 and 2014 bonds include projects in Flour Bluff.  (Parker Park is part of the 2012 Bond.)
  • Passage of Proposition 1 in the recent election will allow the City to replace the portion of Type A sales tax that expires in 2018 with the adoption of a one-eighth (1/8th) of one percent sales and use tax (about $7.5 million).  Of these funds, 50% goes to economic development, up to $500,000 annually to affordable housing projects, and the balance to be used for construction, maintenance, and repair of arterial and collector streets and roads.
  • Passage of Proposition 12 will allow the City to spend about $11 million of the $18 million to start work on residential streets.  Two streets (Rogerson and Ralston) are being used as a testing ground for reconstruction of residential streets.  These streets, not located in Flour Bluff, will become the reference points for future residential street reconstruction.
  • The Council has established priorities:  residential streets, water supply, and economic development.  In January they will come together to re-evaluate the priorities.  TCEQ water updates are being provided to Council on a regular basis.  Ms. Rose explained that even the filing of late paperwork can result in a water boil notice by TCEQ.  The City will provide their comments concerning these kinds of regulations.  This topic will be addressed at the November 15, 2016, Council meeting.

Ms. Rose asked those in attendance if they had any questions.  The following questions were addressed:

  • Where are we getting the consultants who will be working on the test streets, and what will we gain?  Answer:  The engineers are local and will be able to offer the kind of knowledge necessary to ensure proper construction of the test streets.
  • What is the status of the ESD#2 emergency services ambulance, which has been ready to operate since August 31, 2016, but has been delayed due to negotiations with certain City staff?   Answer:  Because this topic will be discussed in executive session at the November 15, 2016, Council meeting, Ms. Rose was not at liberty to offer specifics.
  • What is the status of the promised Litter Critter Program in Flour Bluff?  Answer:  Ms. Rose said that she would find out the answer to this question and relay the information to the organization.
  • Is Ms. Rose aware of the formation of the Flour Bluff Citizens Council?  Answer:  She is aware of the group and is looking forward to working with them on Flour Bluff issues.
  • What is the status of the Laguna Madre Wastewater Plant, and how will it affect future growth of Flour Bluff? (This question arose out of a concern about Flour Bluff Drive being reconstructed without a wastewater line and consolidation of wastewater plants to save money at the possible expense of growth in the Flour Bluff area.)  Answer:  Ms. Rose said the goal is to eliminate the Laguna Madre plant in the distant future.  Currently, the City has hired a consulting firm to create a plan that will serve the City in the best way possible.  She encouraged those who have a concern about this issue to let their voices be heard. (The video of the Council report can be viewed here.)
  • What is happening with the online application process at Development Services? (The question arose out of concern about the system being down and a lengthy experiences of lengthy wait times for permitting.)   Answer:  Ms. Rose was told by the Development Services that the online system was working well.  However, with the concern raised at the FBBA meeting, she will be looking into the issue to see what is happening with the implementation of the online service.
  • What is the status of the Navy’s study on the effects of wind generators?  Answer:  There has been no official report at this time.
  • Is there a possibility that Council member terms will be changed to 3- or 4-year terms?  (This question was based on concerns about the frequency and cost of training of Council members.)  Answer:  The Charter Committee recently discussed the issue, but no change was suggested to Council.

Ms. Rose stayed after the meeting to respond to questions from individuals.  She encouraged everyone to stay apprised of Council action on topics discussed by attending meetings or checking the City website for additional information.

Please follow and like us:
error

You Don’t Want to Miss Flour Fest on September 17!

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

Image result for flour bluff business association

 

     On Saturday, September 17, 2016, from noon to 6:00 p.m., at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff, this small but tight community will come together to celebrate homecoming week and 65 years of the Flour Bluff Business Association.  You don’t want to miss this!  Our community is one rich in history from its unique name, a result of the Pastry War between France and Mexico, to its yearly Santa float that still winds it way through the streets of Flour Bluff bringing candy and smiles to all in the Christmas season.  There is no place like Flour Bluff!

 

 

Image result for flour bluff business association

     According to local historian, Murphy Givens, “The Sept. 8, 1838, Telegraph and Texas Register reported that Col. Edwin Morehouse was back from Corpus Christi Bay after his militiamen interrupted Mexican smugglers unloading cargo on the Encinal Peninsula, a wedge of land between the Cayo del Oso and the Laguna Madre. The smugglers met a company of Mexicans on shore ready to load the goods on pack horses to carry into Mexico. When the Texas militia arrived, they dumped 100 barrels of flour and parts of a steam engine and ran.  That flour-dumping incident gave Flour Bluff its name, although the first usage of it as a place name has been lost in the footnotes of history.”

     The FBBA will commemorate Flour Bluff’s role in this war by having its own Pastry War, a pastry eating contest.  It is open to people of all ages.  All the contestants must do is sign up at the FBBA table for the battle that begins at 3:30 p.m.  Prizes will be awarded for winners in each contest.  If you love pie and pastries, this could just be the event for you!  Our local celebrities and candidates for local offices are encouraged to take part.  Aprons and napkins will be provided.  Just bring an appetite!

     Of course, the Flour Bluff story will be part of the event.  Greg Smith, lifetime resident and descendant of the Dunn family who settled the area and ran cattle on Padre Island, will tell our story at 12:20 p.m. following the opening ceremonies.

      Live music will be a major part of the day.  The FBBA welcomes Michael Burtts, Cat House (award-winning blues power trio from Corpus Christi), and Jimmy Spacek (considered the Godfather of San Antonio blues).

Michael Burtts
Cathouse
Jimmy Spacek

     Coastal  A’s and Rods will have cool cars and trucks for all to “ooh” and “aah” over, while the FB Fire Department (ESD#2) will let you take a whack at an old car to help raise money for the Santa float, a tradition of Flour Bluff that continues to bring smiles to the faces of young and old alike.

Image result for flour bluff business association

Free game/ride cards for the first 200 kids!

Live music!

Coastal A’s and Rods Show!

Storytelling!

Take your frustrations out on an old car while raising money for the FBFD Santa Float!

Local vendors!

Sign up for the newly-formed Flour Bluff Citizens Council!

Pastry Wars Pie-Eating Contest for kids and adults!

Spin the roulette wheel to win Keep It In the Bluff memorabilia (t-shirts, koozies, stress balls), Whataburger coupons, Walmart gift cards!

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error

Representative Todd Hunter Addresses FBBA

Around the State, Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA

     State Representative Todd Hunter addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association members at the regular monthly meeting on June 8, 2016, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Representative Hunter  is serving his sixth term in the Texas House of Representatives.  Hunter recognized candidates for local office and elected officials who were in attendance and thanked them for their willingness to serve the area.

IMG_5634

Hunter updated the audience on:

  • Education:  Funding of public schools has been determined legal.  Independent school districts have autonomy to function as they see fit within the confines of State law.  Making sure that schools offer recess daily, a topic brought up by an audience member, is in the hands of the districts.  Hunter said, “If you have trouble with TEA, then contact me, and I’ll help you as I can.”  He went on to say that Flour Bluff ISD in partnership with Del Mar offers job training for the cruise ship industry.  Later in the Q&A session, Hunter spoke strongly against standardized tests and the expense related to it.
  • Cruise Ships:  Hunter has actively worked to bring the cruise ship industry to Corpus Christi.  Talks will begin in September, and he wants Flour Bluff involved.  Brownsville is in the running, too.  “We win either way.  If we don’t get it here, you’ll get enough attention that you’ll get increased travel tourism anyway.”
  • Desalination:  Hunter recently toured the desalination plant in El Paso, Texas, to see what they are doing.  Their problem is getting water to run through the plant, which is not the issue for Corpus Christi.  In the fall, he will begin pushing ocean/sea water desalination for our area.  He encouraged those who want to get involved to contact his office.
  • Windstorm:  Weather events in Dallas and San Antonio has Hunter concerned that Corpus Christi will be targeted.  It continues to be an issue for coastal cities.  He would like to see the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Windstorm Association abolished because they are not consumer-friendly.  Last September, the new law went into effect.  To beat the start time of the law, TWIA held an emergency meeting to raise rates by 5% and was backed by the Texas Department of Insurance.  “That’s bad government,”  said Hunter.  “I plan to go in and try to reverse that.”
  • Transportation:  Hunter discussed autonomous cars now in the Austin area, a test city for Google and these kinds of vehicles.  It is predicted that in three years these cars will be everywhere.  As a result, state legislators and transportation departments are scurrying to create laws to catch up with this kind of technology.  “How do you do school zones?  How do you handle accidents?” asked Hunter.
  • Space travel:  In Brownsville, Waco, and West Texas, three different billionaires are buying land and doing space travel tourism.  They are already doing rocket launches, which affects private property rights.
  • Drones:  Texas A&M Corpus Christi is a drone-testing site.  Hunter said, “John Sharp, Chancellor of Texas A & M, said that in three to five years, technology will exist to send drones over ranch and agricultural land.”  He explained that these drones would actually be able to do soil tests and even test for diseases by entering the hides of the ranch animals.  That creates a whole new area for laws to regulate such activities.  “Science and computers will have an overall impact on the laws,” he said.
  • Budget Forecast:  In December, the legislators will receive the certified budget, which is based on the last two years. It will be down because gas, oil, and energy is down.  Because the budget must be balanced, legislators can only budget and allocate what they have. “Overall, you’re going to do well.  Things are good in Texas,” Hunter added.
  • Panama Canal and Cuba:  “One of the reasons I’m pushing these cruise ships is because Panama Canal and Cuba are opening up, and we are closer to those locations than a lot of areas in the state.”  He hopes this will improve the transportation industry in the state.
  • Power on Film and Power on Music:  Hunter explained that the video game industry is twice as big as the film industry.  There are even local companies in the Corpus Christi area.  In 2014, Power on Film and Video Game Industry took place in Corpus Christi. In October of this year, the Texas Music Power On will take place in Corpus Christi.  “It’s a good moneymaker and brings good jobs,” said Hunter.  “Right now they go to Louisiana.  I need to do everything I can do to bring it to Texas.”

     “I’m honored to be your representative, and I’m always going to fight for the Coastal Bend. I don’t think we get a fair shake, and I think sometimes they run us over,” said Hunter.  He also explained that he is not thin because he is sick or afflicted by cancer; he just lost weight.  He closed by encouraging everyone to contact his office and get involved in the discussions surrounding the issues that affect the Flour Bluff area.  FBBA President Melanie Hambrick thanked Rep. Hunter and awarded him an FBBA certificate of appreciation.

Read more about this meeting:

Cliff Zarbock, “Mr. Real Estate”, Receives Spotlight Award from FBBA

FBBA Receives Funds from Chesney, Pusley, and Neal

 

Please follow and like us:
error

Congressman Farenthold Visits with FBBA at April Meeting

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

https://i0.wp.com/farenthold.house.gov/uploadedphotos/mediumresolution/14d18942-321b-4372-b418-1c20a807f9e9.jpg?resize=208%2C313&ssl=1

 

     Michael Morgan, FBBA Events Coordinator, welcomed U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold to the April 6 meeting.  The congressman is serving his third term in Congress representing the 27th District of Texas.  Representative Farenthold is working towards a smaller, more accountable and transparent government through his service as a committee member on the House Oversight Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress, his diverse career included working as a conservative radio commentator, seven years of law practice with the Kleberg Law Firm, and founding Farenthold Consulting LLC, a computer consulting and web design firm. He continues to pursue his passion for broadcasting, appearing frequently on radio and television.

     Farenthold addressed a great many topics with the group.  He talked a little about the primary election and the presidential election, assuring everyone that the Congress still has its work to do no matter what is happening with the elections.  Proud of the work that he has done, he looks forward to the possibility of working with a Republican president.  “We want actual legislative language that will indicate the changes to be made in the tax code.  We have to lay out what we as conservatives want,” said Farenthold.

     The congressman answered questions from the audience on several topics, including:

  • Problems within the Veterans Administration mounting with the increasing numbers of veterans as the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan; antiquated computer system used to pay doctors of veterans is still an issue that will hopefully be resolved soon;
  • Update on the widening and deepening of the ship channel, as per the Army Corps of Engineers, in the next budget cycle;
  • Possibility of getting rid of the Department of Education with Trump or Cruz in the White House and a cooperative Congress (Forty percent of all federal education dollars never make it to the schools);
  • FAA Reauthorization Bill;
  • Second Amendment concerns;
  • Non-citizens to be counted for redistricting purposes to maintain status quo;
  • Credit unions versus banking;
  • Section 8 housing projects and the role of the federal government.

Other Business:

       Melanie Hambrick, President of the FBBA, welcomed the many dignitaries who were in attendance and moved on to announcements:

  • April 22, 2016, Beautify the Bluff Community Clean-up
  • Flour Fest:  a first-time event in early stages of planning to include live music and food at the Gateway to Flour Bluff next to Candlewood Suites
  • Ethel Eyerly Senior Citizen clothing drive for needy students
  • FBISD Foundation for Educational Excellence Big Event
  • Children’s Book Festival at the Central Library

 

Special Recognition:

Larry Teeter was given a certificate of appreciation for the past 16 years he has spent with the Flour Bluff Business Association.

 

 

    Spotlight of the Month: NavyArmy Community Credit Union representatives Mary Mata and Dan Tribble accepted the award.

 

Important Updates:

Meeting dates for the FBBA will be moved to the second Wednesday of the month starting in May to make it easier for more members to attend.  The time and place will remain the same:  Noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.

The new website is up and running.  Visit it here.

Board of Directors

Melanie Hambrick, President

Jennifer Welp, VP

Roshan Bhakta, Treasurer

Michael Morgan, Secretary

Mark Thomas, Director

Dr. Tom Hollingsworth, Director

Jonathan Vela, Director

Larry Teeter, Director

Jeff Rank, Ex-Officio

Please follow and like us:
error

FBBA Holds February Meeting

Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA

     On February 3, 2016, the FBBA held its regular monthly meeting at noon at Funtrackers on Flour Bluff Drive.  Melanie Hambrick, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association, opened the meeting by welcoming Jonathan Vela, owner of Dani’s Lock and Key, as the newest board member.  The purpose of the FBBA, according to the official website,  is “to initiate, sponsor, promote, and carry out plans, policies, and activities that will tend to further the prosperity and development of merchants, manufacturers, professionals, and other parties engaged in trade who maintain a business location in the area known as Flour Bluff, Texas, for their mutual advantage and protection, and to engage in all lawful activities and operations usually and normally engaged in by a non-profit association.”

Jonathan Vela FBBA
Jonathan Vela, owner of Dani’s Lock and Key

     After recognizing Vela, Hambrick moved on to a report on panhandling in the city and the new ordinance that goes into effect in March.  She explained that the ordinance does not include all of Corpus Christi because city-wide restrictions  have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts across the nation.  Hambrick, who serves on the Advisory Council on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, voiced a personal concern:  “I am right next to Papa Murphy’s.  We have a lot of panhandling issues.”  Hambrick explained that several initiatives are being put in place to include the entities that serve the homeless.  She explained that citizens should re-think handing cash to the homeless since the research shows that this money is typically used to support bad habits.  It was suggested that gift cards, pre-packaged snacks, and bottles of water or sports drinks be given in lieu of cash.  “Keep the Change” signs are going up around the city to remind citizens to donate their dollars to the charitable organizations, such as Metro Ministries, Timon’s, and the Salvation Army that work to feed, clothe, and house the homeless.  “Although we empathize and understand and want to help, let’s not support bad habits,” Hambrick suggested.

Melanie Hambrick2
Melanie Hambrick, President of FBBA

     The Spotlight of the Month went to Javier Wiley, general manager of the Flour Bluff HEB on Waldron Road.  Wiley explained the recent changes to the store, which was built eight years ago.  “We added close to 4000 new items, and when new items are added, something goes.  That’s just the way it is,” said Wiley.  “A lot of the changes came from customer feedback.” Wiley gave the example of how the chips and beer aisles are now separated.  Other changes include a new Healthy Living Department with bulk bins and a gluten-free section with a freezer section to be added.

     Hambrick thanked Mr. Wiley and said, “We are so grateful to have their participation.  Of the $3000 spent for the toys for the children at the Community Christmas event, HEB contributed $1500.”

Javier Wiley
Javier Wiley, General Manager of Flour Bluff HEB

   “I plan on being more involved and being a good neighbor to everyone.  I want you to count on HEB,”  Wiley responded.  Wiley ended with a brief explanation of how HEB is taking advantage of the E-commerce market by creating HEB.com.   There is even an HEB app that can tell the customer on which aisle a particular product can be found in their local store.  “We’ve been around 111 years.  The leaders in our company saw a need for us to get into this as they were planning 10 to 20 years out.  We want to be the Amazon of the future.”

     The keynote speaker this month was Andy Taubman, a local businessman who re-imagines distressed apartments and turns them into middle market housing, currently serves as the chairman of the Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee.  Taubman lives on Padre Island but has properties throughout the city, including Flour Bluff.  Originally from Oklahoma, Taubman worked as a Wall Street banker for many years and moved with his wife to Corpus Christi from San Diego, California, four years ago. Taubman said of his choice to move here, “This is the place where I believe people are free; they’re independent; they’re self-aware; and they are able to make a change because they can do what’s right.  We have two small boys, and we want them to grow up in Texas for that very reason.”

     Taubman and his wife own 26 units on Barton Street.  “We are part of Flour Bluff.  This is home to us and something we feel has tremendous opportunity, and we’d like to be a part of it.  When one looks at that business as an example, you can see the difference between a vision and a plan.  The asset was the same; the building was the same; but it was beat down and maybe had people who were up to no good or on the wrong side of the law.  We come in; we re-imagine it; we make it safe; we paint it; we add lighting; we tell the people who aren’t helpful to find some other place to live, and they do.  The people who come in are really wonderful people who know how to build neighborhoods, and that’s what we’re personally doing for Flour Bluff.”

Taubman FBBA
Andy Taubman, FBBA Keynote Speaker

     Taubman explained how his knowledge of the way both big and small businesses run helps him as he looks into the way the city maintains streets.  “From time to time you have to look at what, how, why, and where things are being done,” said Taubman about the role of the streets committee. “And that’s healthy.  To be very clear, this isn’t a process that shows up when there are problems.  This isn’t a process because we stand in judgment.  This is a bunch of people who have a wide variety of experience and expertise who get together and say ‘What are we doing?’  If the goal is to make it perfect, it’ll never happen.  If the goal is to make it better, then we can’t fail because I think we already have done that.”

     Taubman then told the audience that the committee found that the seal coat program was a year behind, a problem related to a program vested in the practice of using a sole provider for a specific job.  “By improving the contracting process, we can get more contractors involved.  We can have better time frames between when the analysis of a street is done and work is done and the payment is made. We can get smaller contractors involved because the jobs would be broken down into smaller increments with shorter time frames.”

IMG_4005

     The second area is related to how streets are chosen for repair.  “The city needs to expand information systems and their processes to be proactive so that they keep lists in mind.”  Taubman said that PCI (Pavement Condition Index) data is not always indicative of actual street condition but is currently the primary source for deciding which streets get fixed.  He said the committee is asking the city staff to look into a better way of looking at street condition, keeping track of street problems and work, and working from lists created by city personnel who actually look at the streets and assess pavement condition, ride quality, and risk.  “There’s no substitution for looking at the streets.  When people make decisions sitting in an office, and they’re disconnected from what they’re managing, it leads to bad decisions,” Taubman said.

     A third topic of discussion at the committee level is that of involving the RTA in assisting more with providing ADA improvements, which are mandated but not funded by the federal government.  “When we looked at the SPMP and overlay processes, we found that 23% of every dollar spent did not go to the street.  It went to ADA.  This is where the RTA can play a big role,” said Taubman.  He went on to say that the RTA can serve their target community and be true to their mission, and every dollar spent on streets will actually go to the streets.

     Taubman ended by saying, “I’d like to thank the city council for giving us this opportunity.  I’d especially like to thank them for giving us the members they’ve given us on the committee.  I can say that this committee functions very well.  I’d like to thank the city staff and the city management.  They’ve been very supportive of our effort and very helpful in getting information to us.  At the end of the day, will the street committee be judged successful?  I don’t know.  We’ve addressed a lot of issues with specific suggestions.  We’ve found a lot of areas for improvement.  What we bring to the table is common sense.  That’s our skill, our special super-hero power that we’re applying.  Can the city absorb common sense as a means of doing business?  I don’t know.  The jury is still out on that one.”

Please follow and like us:
error