Councilman Smith Talks City Business at FBBA General Meeting

Business, Community Organizations, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page
District 4 Corpus Christi City Councilman Greg Smith addresses FBBA (PaperTrail photo)

 

     On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at the regular monthly meeting of the Flour Bluff Business Association, District 4 Councilman Greg Smith shared what has been happening at the city level.  The citizens elected Smith their council member last November.  “I am a Flour Bluffian, Class of 1970, and the first person who actually grew up in Flour Bluff to be elected to city council,” said Smith.

Harvey Update

     Smith started his presentation by discussing the effects of Harvey on Flour Bluff.  “We really got a pass on this one.  We had mostly roof and fence damage, and overall it was not too bad,” said Smith.  “That said, the condos and hotels on Mustang Island within the city limits were severely damaged.  About 20%, our HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax) funds come from there.  None of those condominiums today are operating. The water was about 10 feet above sea level on Mustang Island.  It came out of Corpus Christi Bay, pushed up against those dunes, and really caused severe flooding.”

     The councilman went on to explain the issue with the brush and debris pickup, something that Judge Loyd Neal criticized publicly just last month. “For all of us in the Bluff and on the island, don’t put any more out.  The city’s not picking it up.  If you do, you will get a $75 bill,” said Smith.  “In 45 days, the city hauled more brush than they do in two years.  Corpus Christi is about 100 times the size of Port Aransas, which has more debris coming out of it than all of Corpus Christi.”

     Smith cautioned people about thinking we would not have another storm for many years.  He reminded everyone of the 1916 and 1919 storms of Carla, Beulah, and Celia that came within the same 9 years.  “We need to take what we learned from all these storms and apply it to the future.  The odds are we are going to have a storm much sooner than 47 years,” he said referring to the August 3, 1970, Celia that hit Corpus Christi directly.

Creative Commons Photo

     “I am going to be pushing for several things.  One is our roofs and the composition shingles.  Right now we’re required to have a 120 mph shingle that sells for $65 a square.  For $75 a square, you can buy a 150 mph shingle.  And, it will last nearly twice as long.  Instead of a 30-year shingle, you’ll get a 50-year shingle,” said Smith.

     “Flour Bluff – like Port Aransas – floods.  If the conditions are right, we could see the flooding here that Mustang Island saw.  If we increase the BFE (base flood elevation) to one foot above, everybody in Corpus Christi who is paying flood insurance will see a 5% reduction.  Anybody who builds at that standard will save money on their flood policy,” said Smith. “Both of these things can save us money in the long run.”

     Smith spoke of how some of the local haulers had upped their prices after Harvey but took the time to point out the Matt Eckstrom of Killian Calderon Disposal, was not one of them.  “I want to give a shout-out to Matt,” said Smith.  “He is a good local citizen who didn’t take advantage of his customers.”  Smith encouraged those in attendance to call on Eckstrom if they have need for his services.

City Budget

     Smith then talked about various aspects of city government, beginning with the budget that went into effect October 1, 2017.  “Most of us on the council are new to the process, so it’s been a learning year.  We basically received a staff budget,” Smith said.  Mayor Joe McComb and Smith asked that staff cut 1% across the board so that there would be money to put into streets.  When Council was told that there was no way to do that, Smith said, “When they told me they could not save one cent on the dollar, I had trouble with that.  We did get a half-cent on there, which was $3.4 million to go to our residential streets, not our arterials and collectors.”

     “Thirty years ago, all of our ad valorem taxes went to support our public safety, police and fire.  Our sales tax went to the other areas.  Today, all of our ad valorem goes to support police, and all of our sales tax goes to support fire.  I’m not saying these are dedicated funds.  We get $77 million in ad valorem, and our police budget is $77 million.  Our fire budget is $52 million, and we get around $54 million in sales tax.  Monies that were going elsewhere historically have gradually been shifted over to public safety.  I think our fire and police have excellent people there, and we are understaffed, more so in the police than fire.  We do have issues right now,” said Smith.

     Smith explained that increased evaluations did bring in extra ad valorem dollars.  “That money went to satisfy our contractual obligations to our police and fire departments.  We didn’t have anything left over at the end of the day.  We received an increase of $4 million in ad valorem increases, but we had $4 million obligated to raises to police and fire.”  He said that they are looking at different ways to address the issue.  “To put one more officer on the force, it costs the taxpayers $125,000 for each officer.”  If they increase by eight officers, it will cost $1 million.  “Right now we have about 400 officers,” said Smith.

     “We have way too much debt, and we’re not in favor of that.  This council, with five new members, is a much more questioning council than our last councils have been,” said Smith.  “We’ve got to do better as a city, and we’ve got to bring our services in cheaper.  For example, we have a wall behind the museum that needs to be re-built, and I agree with that.  The estimate came in at $10,000 a linear foot for the 200-foot wall.  That’s $2 million dollars.  When we build the Packery Channel bridge and the approaches to it, it will cost $4,000 a linear foot, and I asked why we would do this.  These are the kinds of things we’re addressing.

Wastewater

     The councilman addressed wastewater next.  “It’s kind of a silent thing.  We don’t often think about that, except maybe a couple of times a day,” Smith said, which was followed by a chuckle from the crowd.  He addressed the consolidation of the treatment plans that has been debated for months, an expensive fix that Smith did not deem necessary.  “All we have to do is repair and maintain what we have.”  This direction will allow the system made up of six plants to work and meet regulatory standards without costing the  rate payer $220 million dollars more than repairing the existing plants. “That comes out of our pockets, and there’s no reason for it,” said Smith.  “We have instructed staff to move forward and fix the plants we have to make them fully operational and efficient.”  This drew a round of applause from the audience members.

Water

     Smith then addressed the water system.  “Our peak year in water usage as 1989,” he said.  “We are using about 30% less water today, and we’ve added two sources of supply.  We have plenty of water.  We are trying to make everyone aware of that, particularly industry.”  Smith said that industry is a big consumer of water but there is still plenty.  “We are moving forward on desalination even though we have water.  We just authorized permitting for a desalination plant,” Smith said.  “One thing this council will not do is build that plant until we have the demand.  “However, we want to be ready in case we get a lot of industry come in, and we need the water.”  Smith sees Corpus Christi as a frontrunner in desalination, which will make the city known to industry both nationally and internationally.

     Smith explained that the state loaned the $2.75 million for desalination, which must be paid back at no interest in eight years.  “We will be adding a little to the industry rate since they’re the ones who really want this.  We’re not going to put this on the ordinary rate payer,” Smith said.

Streets

     Smith then moved to the topic of streets.  “The big one is streets, which is strictly a money issue.  For residential streets, we have a program in place, and it’s funded to maintain the good streets,” said Smith.  He explained that all streets in the city have been rated according to the PCI (Pavement Condition Index), a rating system of 1 to 100.  “Any street with a PCI of 55 or above is on a funded maintenance program,” he said in reference to the SPMP (Street Preventative Maintenance Program) started in January 2014 and funded by the SMF (Street Maintenance Fund) to pay most of the construction costs.  Streets that meet the 55+ requirement are eligible for maintenance work through either a seal coat or overlay every seven years.  According to the 2017 SPMP Work Plan, Waldron Road, which has a PCI of 57 from Caribbean to Yorktown, will receive an overlay in 2017.

     “The next classification of streets, which a lot of the Bluff streets are, is PCI 35-55.  We just approved $8 million dollars on addressing these streets,” said Smith.  He explained that this program is based strictly on PCI rating and has nothing to do with amount of tax dollars collected from a particular area.  Only one Bluff street will fall under this program.  “I was disappointed to see that, but it takes a million dollars a mile.  The City of Corpus Christi is going to recondition eight miles of streets city-wide,” said Smith.

Don Patricio Road, 2016 (SevenTwelve Photography)

 

     “The last tier is a PCI of 35 and below.  It costs $4 million a mile to fix those streets.  With over 400 miles of bad streets, that’s $1.6 billion.  We don’t have  $1.6 billion.  We don’t have anywhere near that amount,” Smith said.  He said that only two streets in the city with this rating are targeted for reconstruction, Ralston and Rogerson, neither of which is a Bluff street.  “It’s going to be a long, long time before we can get to the other streets.  Again, it boils down to money.”

     Smith later talked about the way that street repair is done currently.  “We are repairing streets today the same we did 75 years ago,” he said adding that it is not the most efficient way of getting the job done.  He said the city is testing a machine called an asphalt zipper that uses less labor, takes less time, and may do a better job than what the city street crews do now. “This machine does it all and has the proper tamping required to keep the asphalt in place,” Smith said.

     Part of the issue with streets is that developers, though required to do so, may not actually build a 30-year street.  “I asked how many streets have problems that are one- or two-year streets.  Currently, we have eleven streets that are supposedly 30-year streets that are now owned by the taxpayers that are already having to be patched.  Carolyn Vaughn and I want to require a two-year warranty instead of a one-year warranty on those streets,” Smith said.  “If they’re truly building 30-year streets, we should be able to get a two-year warranty.”

     Monette Bright, local businesswoman, asked, “Why are utilities not put in for an entire subdivision when it goes in?  Why are they allowed to put in gas and water taps after the street has already gone in?  Doesn’t digging into the pavement destroy the integrity of the street?”

     “That has definitely been the case in the past.  With the newer subdivisions, the taps are now put in place before the paving begins.

Homelessness

     “This is something that affects us all, especially in the Bluff.  The Flour Bluff Citizens Council and the Flour Bluff Business Association have done great work.  I think if the city had done that, it would be terrific,” said Smith in reference to an FBCC Town Hall meeting on October 16, 2017, where the citizens were educated on the state of homelessness in Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff.  “We are looking for a way to know where these folks are,” said Smith, referring to the proposed Coordinated Entry plan for the city, which helps keep track of the homeless as they move in and around the area.  Smith said that the city is looking at helping reunite individuals with their families.  Two other proposals include a work program and a housing program.

     “Personally, I think I have a lot of support on council with this.  We have to be compassionate.  People have issues that we have to help take care of.  We have to take care of the people who need and want help,” said Smith.  He added that in doing so that we be careful not want to create an environment where Corpus Christi becomes a destination spot for homeless.  “It’s a balancing act.  Citizens in Flour Bluff are concerned about safety and sanitary issues when they go to Parker Park,” said Smith, something that he said is a concern in most parks in the city.  Smith went on to describe a homeless person becoming physical with a woman who was serving attendees at a local function.

Image result for homeless in corpus christi + commons
Homeless camp (PaperTrail photo)

     “From a policing standpoint, currently our department’s attitude is that we cannot solve homelessness.  However, when we have someone who is physically aggressive, as a city, we need to strengthen that,” said Smith.

     Dan Hogan addressed petty theft around the neighborhood and its relationship to homelessness.  “I call this a revolving door problem.  We have these homeless people who get on drugs and become a nuisance to themselves and our community.  When they get arrested, they get put right back out on the street,” said Hogan.  “There has to be a solution in some city somewhere.  Let’s figure out what to do about this,” said Hogan.  “Let’s find out where those bus tickets are coming from and buy return tickets.”  This drew many comments of agreement from the audience.

Election Year Coming

     Smith reminded everyone that we are coming upon an election year in 2018.  “Council members are elected for two year terms,” said Smith.  He cautioned everyone to be aware of candidates making promises that they cannot keep in order to get votes.  “Usually, you get votes by spending money.  When you cut, you lose a lot of votes.  Commissioner Chesney is like I am.  He stands firm on the budget.  We have to make the hard decisions.  It irritates people when you cut programs out, but sometimes these cuts are necessary.  I will continue to ask those hard questions and make cuts where necessary,” said Smith.

Audience Concerns

     Joe Lynch, resident and local businessman, voiced a safety concern about the Laguna Shores SPID intersection.  “Even a small vehicle has difficulty making that right-hand turn onto Laguna Shores without swinging out into the lane that goes up on the freeway,” Lynch said.  “Sometimes the driver comes to a complete stop to let the Laguna Shores traffic go, which is dangerous for the driver pulling onto SPID because he doesn’t have a clear view.”  Lynch suggested that the right turn lane on Laguna Shores be moved more toward the Laguna Madre to allow for the necessary space for safe turning.  Lynch was concerned that someone was preparing to build on that property, which might prevent the movement of the lane.

     Smith thanked Lynch for his comments and said that Laguna Shores improvements will be on the 2018 Bond that will go to the voters next November.  “That’s the kind of thing we need to catch before the design.  You’re right.  It is a problem,” responded Smith.

     Jennifer Welp asked about what seems to be a new fee implemented by the City Solid Waste Department right after Harvey.  “It severely affects roofers and remodelers who have to haul debris or building materials,” said Welp.

     “You’re referring to the MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) fee.  It’s been in effect since 2001.  If a hauler like Matt, let’s say, is called by a roofer to haul the material, and he takes it to the city landfill, he pays the fee, a fee that is for street maintenance.  If the roofer takes it himself to a private landfill, the fee doesn’t get paid.  If Matt takes it to a private landfill, it was already in his bill, and the fee gets paid.  Again, it was started in 2001, and the city staff picked right after Harvey to implement it, so it looks terrible.  We’ve had a lot of complaints from the roofers who are paying about $200 when they ought to pay about $20.  Staff is now going back and looking at what was charged and bringing those charges in line to what they ought to be,” said Smith.

     Matt Eckstrom asked, “When you enact that MSW fee on the roofers, are they going to do that through the building permits that they pull?”

     “Yes, it has been switched to the building permits from the landfill bill.  They were supposed to be paying that at that time.  We’ve heard a lot of justified concerns about it,” responded Smith.

     Another business owner asked, “Do those fees go into a street maintenance fund, or do they just go wherever?”  Smith said that the 400-page budget has 66 different funds, which makes it very difficult to track where those dollars go.  “It’s like the convention center.  The taxpayers spend $10 million a year on it, but there are so many funds that the money comes out of that nobody knows what the actual number is.  So, with this fund, it’s supposed to go to the streets, but it goes a little here and a little there.  When the mayor asked that question about what adds up to around $300,000 a year, staff said the money was being spent on multiple city programs.  We are watching that.”

     FBBA President Jennifer Welp thanked the councilman for addressing the FBBA and awarded him with a Keep It in the Bluff Certificate of Appreciation.

Other FBBA Business

  • FBBA elections were held at the November general meeting. Jonathan Vela of Dani’s Lock and Key, Javier Wiley with HEB Plus, and Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites are candidates for the three open positions.  Tom Hollingsworth and Cliff Zarbock will be stepping down from the board.  President Jennifer Welp thanked them for their service and gave each one a certificate of appreciation.
Jennifer Welp and Dr. Tom Hollingsworth DC (PaperTrail photo)
Cliff Zarbock of Premier Realty (PaperTrail Photo)
  • President Jennifer Welp welcomed three local businesses to the FBBA: Matt Eckstrom of Killian Calderon Disposal, Susan Chandler of SCC Jewelry, and Vandana Andrews of Andrews Flowers.
Vandana Andrews, Jennifer Welp, and Matt Eckstrom (PaperTrail Photo)
  • Tire Recycling Program Recap: The FBBA partnered with Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney and DEGOLA Resource Conservation and Development District to offer a free tire recycling event on November 4, 2017, from 9 to 5.  Lots of tires were collected, which really made an impact on the Flour Bluff community.  The FBBA would like to thank Wes Womack and his 4-wheel-drive club for helping with collection of dumped tires.  Another free tire-recycling event is planned for early next year.
  • The FBBA Membership Drive is still going on. The FBBA thanked all who are members.  All local business owners are encouraged to join in the last quarter of the year.  The annual dues is $65.00, which can be paid online at https://www.flourbluffbusinessassociation.com/application .

 

C’est Bon Mixes It Up with FBBA Members December 13

     On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Flour Bluff Business Association will have their December Mixer at C’est Bon Seafood located at 10210 S. Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, Texas, from noon to 1:00 p.m.  Come join us as we introduce the newly-elected FBBA board members and enjoy some good seafood while mixing and mingling with other Flour Bluff business owners.  If you or your business would like to sponsor our mixer next month, please let us know.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

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Kim Sneed Updates FBBA on FBISD News

Business, Community Organizations, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA president, Jennifer Welp, and FBISD Public Information Officer, Kim Sneed (Photo by SevenTwelve Photography)

     Kim Sneed, FBISD Public Information Officer, addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association at its regular monthly meeting held at noon on September 13, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Sneed, who took Lynn Kaylor’s place nearly two years ago, has over a decade of experience in public information.  Sneed spent the first part of her career with Corpus Christi ISD.  Sneed introduced Tracy Dennis, the new Director of Instruction, who joined the district from Judson ISD before speaking to the group about what has been happening at Flour Bluff ISD.

     Sneed said, “Just before Hurricane Harvey came to visit us, the Flour Bluff Board of Trustees adopted the 2017-18 budget of about $52 million, which included a 3% raise for all employees, something a lot of districts have not been able to do.  The board, finance department, and superintendent worked hard to make this possible while keeping the effective tax rate a little below last year’s rate.”

     Sneed went on to give an accounting of the 2013 Bond projects.  “A lot of our bond projects have been completed.  We just finished up at the end of the year the Primary and Elementary library, and it is a beautiful facility.”  She described the library as a place that houses books and study tables in the main area, while providing separate classroom and meeting spaces for the two campuses.

     “The junior high is still experiencing construction on the expansion of the cafeteria.  This campus is also in the process of getting an additional gym.  The bids were just accepted, and the work will be starting soon,” said Sneed.  “Over the summer, the swimmers were able to get into the new natatorium and test the waters.  That gave Coach Hutchinson, who is also the natatorium supervisor, an opportunity to learn the facility and learn to use the state-of-the-art equipment.  They have been having practice in there.  Brian wanted me to let everybody know that the district is working on a plan to allow swim lessons and lap swimming for the public.  The first step to that is to make sure we have lifeguards.”  Sneed went on to explain that more information regarding public use of the pool would be forthcoming in the next few weeks.  She ended the update on bond projects by telling the audience that the bus wash would soon be under construction now that the board has accepted the bids.

    “Hurricane Harvey has created some new challenges for the district.  The district experienced minimal damage, consisting of a few uprooted trees, some water seeping in, and debris on the grounds, but nothing that would impede our work or operations,” said Sneed.  “After taking a drive to Port Aransas, we realized that many kids would be displaced and would need a place to call ‘home.’  We put a plan in place pretty quickly and started school up one week after the original start date.  We held a special registration at the high school for these kids.  It was awesome, and it was emotional.  Many of the Port Aransas folks hadn’t seen each other since before the storm.  They were hugging each other and were so overwhelmed by the support from this entire community.  To date, we have enrolled close to 250 kids mostly from Port Aransas, but also from Aransas Pass, Rockport, Woodsboro, and Houston.”

     Sneed went on to tell of a conversation she had with a close counterpart in Gregory-Portland ISD.  “As of today, they have enrolled 1300 kids.  They were able to accept all of them because they just opened a new elementary school, and they have a sixth-grade campus – that had been a junior high campus – that they were able to reopen.  It has been an entire Coastal Bend area effort to ensure that these kids have some sense of normalcy.”  She went on to thank the City of Corpus Christi, AEP, and out-of-state utility companies that helped get the school back on line.  Sneed thanked the joint efforts of Walmart and the Corpus Christi Police Department for donating school supplies and other groups who made certain the displaced children had appropriate clothing for school by donating spirit shirts to help them feel like part of the Flour Bluff family.

     The Port A ISD faculty and staff have been working hand-in-hand with Flour Bluff to look out for the children from Port Aransas and help them feel more at ease in their new environment.  “We really appreciate their efforts,” said Sneed.

    Attendees were encouraged to take part in H.O.S.T.S. (Helping Our Students To Succeed).  It is a mentor program established in September 2014 to be a partnership of FBISD and dedicated community member serving the needs of our students in grades 3 – 12.  For anyone interested in being a mentor, Sneed encouraged those in the audience to contact Dr. Linda Barganski at Central Office.  “The volunteers usually meet with the kids once a week for 30 minutes to an hour and just be that positive role model for them.”

     “Football season has started!  We only have three home games this year, and one of those is Homecoming on Friday, October 13.  The Homecoming Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, October 9, and will travel along Waldron from Compton to Hornet Stadium where we will have the Swarm and the burning of the FB.  There will be many activities for the students throughout the week, so look for that,” Sneed informed the group.

     “Mr. Schuss and Dr. Alvarado will be in Austin on Friday with intermediate math teacher Jack Marley as he receives recognition as the ESC Region II Teacher of the Year.  Because of Harvey, the actual service center announcement and celebration was postponed but will take place on Thursday, September 21, at ESC II downtown,” added Sneed.

     Several people in attendance asked about the traffic issues.  “We have had a few issues with new bus routes and just getting in sync the first days of school.  We’ve also had changes in start and release times that have added to the traffic problems,” replied Sneed.  She explained that many of the displaced students must be driven to school, which adds to the traffic problems.  “To help alleviate some of this, the displaced students are going to be picked up at Schlitterbahn.  We just ask for your patience,” said Sneed.  Everyone was encouraged to check out flourbluffschools.net for more information.

More FBBA News and Community Announcements

  • Flour Fest is October 28 at Parker Park. Volunteers are needed.  Please contact Jonathan Vela, Special Events Coordinator.
  • High school Homecoming Mums will be customized by the PTA for the displaced students.
  • Add info@flourbluffbusinessassociation.com to your address book so that you can receive emails from FBBA.
  • Javier Wiley from HEB told the group that the new Hornet football helmets are part of a donation from HEB. Curbside is now open as another shopping option.  Shipt is also still available.  Visit hebtoyou.com.  HEB put in an official request to public affairs for disaster relief in Port A (i.e. mobile showers, mobile kitchens, mobile pharmacies).  Wiley handed out $2000 in gift cards to Port A citizens and $1000 to Flour Bluff.  Welp thanked HEB for always being the last to close and the first to open when disaster strikes.
  • The FBBA is partnering with Nueces County and and organization called DeGoLa (Dewitt, Goliad, and Lavaca Counties), a Resource, Conservation, and Development District, to hold a tire recycling program event in Flour Bluff on Saturday, November 4, 2017, and again in March of 2018.
  • Next FBBA General Meeting: October 10, 2017, at noon, at Funtrackers

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

Constable Mitchell Clark Connects with Citizens through FBBA and FBCC

Business, Community Organizations, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Government and Politics
Constable Clark receives Certificate of Appreciation from Jennifer Welp, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association

     Newly elected Nueces County Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark made the rounds this month in Flour Bluff.  On April 12, 2017, Clark spoke to the members of the Flour Bluff Business Association at the regular meeting held at noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Five days later, he addressed the members of the Flour Bluff Citizens Council at their general meeting held on the evening of April 17 at Grace Community Church on Flour Bluff Drive.  Since taking office, Constable Clark has been busy making changes at his department, and he is working to get the word out.  Clark reminded both groups that the constable’s office has historically been known as the “people’s police department.”  Precinct 2 covers Flour Bluff, Southside Corpus Christi, and the area in and around Chapman Ranch.  “My vision is to get back into community policing,” Clark said.

     Clark explained that the role of the constable is to keep the peace.   As a peace officer, he therefore has the statutory duties and authority of a peace officer within his precinct. As an exception to this general rule, five categories of peace officers, constables among them, may make an arrest outside their jurisdiction without a warrant for any crimes committed in their presence or view.   “The perception is that all we do is serve papers, and we do.  As a matter of fact, we make the county quite a bit of money by serving anywhere from 1000 to 1400 papers per month. In addition, we are available to assist you with non-emergency kinds of calls.  If you have an emergency, you should call 911.  Otherwise, call our office at 937-6306.  We are available 24/7.  After 5:00 p.m., our phones rotate over to the dispatcher, so we will still get the call.  I am here to serve you.”

Constable Clark addresses citizens at the Flour Bluff Citizens Council general meeting at Grace Community Church

     The constable explained that he has several new programs in the works.  One program, called Walk with the Constable, is one that is designed to get neighbors together and actually walk their neighborhood while listening to their concerns.  “Call us.  We’ll do it any day at any time.  You just let us know, and we’ll be there.”  Another, Talk with the Constable, will all citizens to meet and have a conversation with Clark and his deputies at his office, which is located in the Ronnie Polston County Building on Compton Road in Flour Bluff.  “My social media will be up and running soon so that we can communicate that way, too.  I want to hear your concerns.”

     Clark told the FBCC about other programs that he is initiating.  “I am working on a gun safety class just for women called Guns and Roses,” said Clark.  He also told the group that he is going to spend more time at the schools giving age-appropriate talks regarding safety and protection.  “We have badges for the little ones and comic books for all age levels.  All of this is at no cost to the taxpayer.  I have had these items donated.”  For the adults in the community, he will offer a Constable’s Citizen Police Academy, which includes ride-alongs.

      “We are even making changes in our uniforms,” said Clark.  “We are going back to Stetson hats, which have also been donated.  No tax dollars will be used for our uniform changes.”

     Constable Clark reiterated to both groups his willingness to work with the citizens of Precinct 2, the Corpus Christi Police Department, and all other law enforcement entities to keep the peace.  “We answer all calls for service.”

NOTE:  Constable Clark is a regular contributor to The Paper Trail News.  His articles can be accessed by searching the site.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

District 4 Councilman Greg Smith Addresses Flour Bluff Business Association

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page

Keynote Speaker:  Councilman Greg Smith

     Newly-elected District 4 Councilman Greg Smith addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association members at the general meeting held January 11, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Smith, a native of Flour Bluff and small business owner, has been a community activist for many years, especially in the areas of windstorm insurance, desalination, water, electrical transmission, and coastal erosion and protection. He is currently a member of the FBBA and of the newly-formed Flour Bluff Citizens Council.

     Smith gave an update on some of the issues the City of Corpus Christi is facing.  He spoke about the $870 million budget ($2.4 million per day) and how the city is carrying one of the highest debt levels in the nation in terms of debt compared to revenue.  He added that this debt level could very easily prevent the city from borrowing money for much needed street repairs.  “We have borrowed to the limit,” said Smith.

     Smith outlined a few of the big-ticket items.  He assured everyone that the pension fund is much better than before, with $70 million going to the Corpus Christi Police Department and $50 million going to the Corpus Christi Fire Department.  When discussing recent city efforts to consolidate the waste water plants, he asked, “Do we really need to consolidate our plants?”  Presently our sewer cost is second highest in the state.

     The new councilman said that there are lots of good people who work for the city, and he commended them on the jobs they are doing. “This council expects more out of staff,” Smith said, as he spoke about necessary changes that the council would be discussing at their retreat on January 13, 2017.  He expressed how he wants to see a culture of value developed within the city departments so that progress can be made.  Smith wants everyone to be more aware of what is being spent and how purchasing technology should offer some savings in another area of the department.  He spoke of a $337,000 software for Development Services that was intended to streamline the department, how it had not met the expectations that many had in terms of customer service, and how it failed to eliminate any positions.  He ended by saying that industry is very interested in Corpus Christi and that he was looking forward to the retreat where he believed the conversation would continue to be centered around streets, water, and waste water and emphasized that the “status quo is not acceptable.”

Other FBBA Business

    Out-going president, Melanie Hambrick, was recognized by newly-elected president, Jennifer Welp, for her service on the board. Hambrick is credited with actively growing the association and building positive relationships with local, state, and federal agencies. President Welp will lead the new board which includes Vice-president Roshan Bhakta, Secretary Shirley Thornton, Treasurer Jonathan Vela, Programs Director Michael Morgan, Membership Director Lynn Kaylor (appointed to replace Jeff Rank who resigned in December), Director Mark Thomas, Director Tom Hollingsworth, and Director Cliff Zarbock (appointed to replace Melanie Hambrick who resigned in January). Welp expressed how she is looking forward to serving with the new board and growing the association even more.

President Jennifer Welp thanks Melanie Hambrick for her work on the FBBA board, serving as both a director and as president.

     Welp thanked all the Flour Bluff businesses, Flour Bluff ISD school groups, and board members who made Community Christmas a success.  Over 300 children received gifts at the event, while dozens more were distributed by the Flour Bluff Fire Department via the Santa Float.  Still more were donated to Driscoll Children’s Hospital when the need for more gifts was shared with the FBBA.  Businesses and organizations who helped with Community Christmas include:

  • HEB Plus
  • Fleet Reserve
  • Funtrackers
  • Walmart #490
  • Colonia del Rey
  • Ethel Eyerly
  • Children’s Center
  • ESD#2 (personally delivered Santa and Mrs. Claus to the event)
  • County Commissioners Brent Chesney and Mike Pusley
  • County Judge Loyd Neal
  • Flour Bluff HS NHS
  • Eisenhauer’s School of Twirling
  • Flour Bluff Intermediate Choir
  • Jack and Jill (Santa stage, lighting, and Christmas tree)
  • Monette Bright
  • All the small businesses and individuals that donated toys, supplies, or time

     Welp recognized new member Hilde Hermann of First Direct Financial, a credit card processing company located in Flour Bluff.  Member Susan Lawson reminded everyone to support the Parker Pool Patriots.  Elaine Motl of Barefoot Mardi Gras updated the group about the plans for a bigger and better Mardi Gras Beach Parade on February 25, 2017.  The event is a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the island charter school.  The board of directors held a financial workshop immediately following the regular meeting.

     Next month, the FBBA will host its regular meeting at noon on February 10, 2017, at Funtrackers.  The keynote speaker will be Jim Lago, the host of the long-running morning show “Lago in the Morning,” on KKTX radio here in Corpus Christi.  Lago was recently named to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

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Flour Bluff Business Association Holds November Meeting: Community Christmas Is Coming!

Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA Community Christmas Promotional Video by Jonathan Vela

 

     Before welcoming keynote speaker Margie Rose, City Manager of Corpus Christi, FBBA President Melanie Hambrick called the regular meeting to order at noon.  First, she welcomed all members, guests, and dignitaries.  She went on to thank Funtrackers for allowing the association to hold their monthly meetings at the Raceway Cafe’.  Hambrick encouraged everyone to access the FBBA website to stay abreast of what is happening within the association.

New Businesses:  The following businesses submitted applications for membership and were approved by the Board of Directors:

Spotlight of the Month:  Unlock Texas, Owner Thomas Corey

thomas-corey
Thomas Corey, owner of Unlock Texas

     Thomas Corey, owner of Unlock Texas, was named the Spotlight Business of the Month.  Unlock Texas is owned and operated by Thomas Corey. With over 10 years of experience, he provides locksmith services, tire changes, jump starts, and fuel delivery. They serve Corpus Christi and surrounding areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

     “We started off as a roadside service company, but we are now licensed by the State of Texas to be a full locksmith company,” said Corey. “Thanks to Jonathan Vela for all his help through this process.  We provide many services and offer military and first-responder discounts. We offer a 10% discount to them.  We also provide a community service, a child lockout service when a child is locked in a car or a house, absolutely free.  That’s a little bit of our way of giving back.”

FBBA Board Elections:  

     Elections for the Board of Directors was held.  Jennifer Welp, Jeff Rank, and Shirley Thornton are up for re-election for 3-year terms.  No additional candidates submitted their names for consideration.  All members in attendance filled out and turned in paper ballots.  New board members will be inducted at the FBBA mixer on December 14, 2016.  Directors will take office in January 2017.

Announcements:  

  • Jeff Craft, publisher of The Flour Bluff Messenger, announced that he is celebrating the first anniversary of the newspaper.  Craft went on to say that he will begin publishing a paper every two weeks instead of monthly.  He encouraged everyone with a business in Flour Bluff to advertise in the Messenger.  Ads run for as little as $30 per month.
  • Melanie Hambrick thanked HEB for their generous contribution to Community Christmas.
  • Javier Ramirez was introduced as the new Edward Jones financial adviser working out of the office of Melanie Hambrick on Waldron Road.
  • Anyone wanting to help with the Community Christmas event may contact Jonathan Vela, Events Coordinator, at 361-434-0332.

Next General Meeting:  The next meeting will be a mixer at 6:00 p.m. on December 14, 2016, at Candlewood Suites.  

 

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us:

FBBA Spotlight Business of the Month: Boat Stop

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics
ryan-pridgeon
Melanie Hambrick congratulates Ryan Pridgeon of Boat Stop Storage for being the Spotlight Business of the Month.

 

Ryan Pridgeon, manager of Boat Stop Storage, accepted the Spotlight of the Month Award from Melanie Hambrick, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association on September 14, 2016, at the regular monthly meeting.  Boat Stop, located at 502 Graham Road in Flour Bluff, provides secure storage with a private ramp and dock nearby.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the construction that’s going on.  We had 196 units and were at 100% occupancy.  We are just finishing up a separate building that has 70 additional units, and we’re about to start construction on another 70 units after that.  We’ll have plenty of spaces if you know anybody who has a boat and needs to store it.  We also store trailers outside,” said Pridgeon.

Pridgeon went on to say that they have a mechanic on site (Mike’s Marine 361-937-0422).  “He’s a separate business, but he’s at the storage units.  I believe he will be joining the business association, as well.”

There are plans to fix up the existing boat ramp that sits at the end of Graham Road.  “It’ll be a lot nicer with concrete and a parking area,” added Pridgeon.

Other Announcements:

  • New members were announced:  Boat Stop Storage and Grande Communications.
  •  Many candidates running for office were present, including:
    • Jeff Rank and Flo East, Flour Bluff ISD School Board, Place 3
    • Jennifer Welp, Flour Bluff ISD School Board, Place 6 (unopposed)
    • Mike Morgan, Flour Bluff ISD School Board, Place 7 (unopposed)
    • Greg Smith and Dr. Lloyd Stegemann, District 4 Corpus Christi City Council
    • Chad Magill, At-large Corpus Christi City Council
    • Alex Garcia, Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Place 1
  • An update was given on Flour Fest, which was held on September 17, 2016, at Funtrackers and was deemed a real success by those in attendance.
  • The Flour Bluff Citizens Council will hold its first general meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at Grace Community Church located at 1514 Flour Bluff Drive, at 6:00 p.m.  All who are interested in attending are encouraged to visit the Facebook page  where the bylaws, Membership Application, and information about the organization can be found.
  • Ken Knight of Coastal Wellness , located at 9929 SPID in the Bluff Plaza, announced that they are expanding in November.  They will be adding a coffee and juice bar and a yoga studio.  Coastal Wellness offers free health education and has partnered with the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and other health-related groups.
  • Javier Wiley, General Manager of HEB Plus in Flour Bluff, announced the passing of Howard Butt, older brother of Charles Butt, CEO of HEB.  He also informed the group about a new service that HEB will launch on Tuesday, September 27, 2016.  HEB has partnered with SHIPT to provide home deliveries, which Wiley said will be beneficial to those living on the Island, those who are unable to go to the store, and those who are too busy to go to the store.  Click here for more information.
  • Captain Tony Hahn, USCG, was the keynote speaker.  Click here for the full story.

October meeting:  The October 12 meeting will be highlighted by a candidate forum.  The FBBA meets at Funtrackers at noon, the second Wednesday of each month.  Stay informed by visiting the FBBA website.

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.

Please follow and like us: