This month’s Jersey Village City Council meeting included some very lively and interesting discussion about a variety of issues.  I would encourage you to listen to the meeting yourself below for all of the details, but I will cover some of the highlights.  Also, please note that the long period of silence in the second half of the sound file below is due to the executive session held in order to discuss confidential matters with the city attorney.

Golf Course Finances

During discussion about the city manager’s report, there was a short discussion about the finances of the golf course.  Council Member C.J. Harper raised some questions about the cost of the golf course, asking whether the golf course lost approximately $150,000 year to date.  As was clarified by both Parks and Recreation Director Kimberly Terrell and by Mayor Justin Ray, there are two issues that would cause the number to look that high.  First, Ms. Terrell noted that this time of year is generally a slow period for the golf course, with revenues picking up more during the summer.  Mayor Ray also pointed out that the figure cited by Council Member Harper included depreciation.  Instead, the loss for the golf course was less than $50,000 year to date.

Banning New “Motels” in Favor of Hotels

As anyone who has lived in Jersey Village long enough knows, the Motel 6 on 290 is a blight on our community.  Crime in “motels”, or lodging where individual rooms open to the outside, occurs at a much higher rate than in hotels.  The Planning and Zoning Commission met recently and made a formal recommendation to the city council to prohibit the construction of new lodging which lacks a central entrance with rooms opening to an interior hallway.  The city council took up that proposal and there was significant discussion about the logistics of entrances and exits in new hotel built under the proposed ordinance.  Ultimately, the city council voted to enact the ordinance with the understanding that some minor adjustments may need to be made later in order to account for some common designs of hotels which would have multiple entrances (such as an alternate entrance/exit at the end of the building opposite the main lobby).

In my opinion, this is a positive step to ensure that new lodging built in Jersey Village will not be a hub of crime and will be a positive addition to our city.

Increased Budget for Public Outreach Concerning Long Term Flood Planning

A lengthy discussion took place regarding a proposal to modify the agreement with Dannenbaum, the engineering firm hired by Jersey Village to study possible measures to mitigate flooding, in order to provide funding for videos for public outreach about the flood study.

Dannenbaum proposed subcontracting with Crouch Environmental in order to develop a video and website in order to support presentation of information at the March 2017 open house and to provide a resource to the city in order to better communicate possible solutions to flooding to regional, state and federal agencies in order to obtain cooperation and possibly funding for those solutions.

I highly recommend listening to the discussion that took place from 51:25 to 1:27:30.  There are too many issues involved in the discussion to do them justice here.  Needless to say, I think that a very healthy discussion about how best to ensure that citizens of Jersey Village understand the results of the study and the potential solutions presented took place, and ultimately city council came to a unanimous decision on how to proceed.  Ultimately the proposal passed and we will all get to see the first fruits of that decision at the open house scheduled for the evening of March 23rd at the Jersey Village Civic Center.

My Takeaway

This month’s meeting involved an unusual amount of discussion for this city council, and I think that’s always a good thing.  It’s important for citizens to know how their elected officials reach the decisions they make.  All too often, ordinances and contracts are adopted by Jersey Village City Council with very brief discussion of the various issues.  While these longer meetings may be messy, they are the result of a very transparent legislative process.

Don’t take my word for it, however.  If you couldn’t make it to the meeting in person, take the time to listen to the entire meeting for yourself.