Pearland faces decisions in 2022 over water billing plan and drainage charges

The elected officials and residents of Pearland face big decisions in 2022.

This month, city council faces a potential upward or downward vote on whether to keep the current plan, known as “32/30,” to gradually recoup millions of fuel consumption. unbilled water, while citizens will go to the polls to vote on a proposed drainage charge.

These choices come against the backdrop of new facilities, including the planned opening of the nearly $ 20 million West Pearland Public Library on Shadow Creek Parkway earlier this year and the start of new grounds in the spring. cricket and rugby under the $ 8.8 million Phase 2 construction. at the Shadow Creek Ranch Sports Complex at 13050 Shadow Creek Parkway.

Also at the sports complex, the city has built a miraculous field that will be used for wheelchair baseball. and there are plans to open the field soon to an inclusive playground nearby for the use of children and parents.

Plans for the city in the New Year also include finishing the 21,000 square foot Shari D. Coleman Animal Shelter and Adoption Center and a new 12,000 square foot Fire Hall No. 4.

Mayor: Quick decision needed on 30/32

The 32/30 water billing plan has been in place since August 2020 and has so far recovered almost 60% of the money the city owes.

The shortfall stems from an imperfect billing policy change at the end of 2018. Under 32/30, water meters are read every 32 days and the billing schedule is set on a 30-day cycle until that all money owed by a customer is paid. As part of this plan, all money owed will be collected by early 2023.

Mayor Kevin Cole said council’s vote on the plan is an important part of bridging the trust gap some people have with the city on this issue.

“Citizens need to hear from us on this,” he said. “I ran (for the mayor) on the fact that I didn’t agree with 32/30. I thought a (one-off) adjustment plan was the way to go, and for those who can’t pay it all at once, then put them on a payment plan.

Cole said resolving the issue was a “confidence builder.”

“The sooner we get there (and make a decision), the more we can heal and move on,” he said.

City council is expected to decide between sticking with 32/30 or going for a one-time payment plan.

City council member Alex Kamkar earlier predicted that council’s path would upset some.

“No one is going to come out happy one way or another – it’s just not possible,” he said.

May election to determine the drainage fee proposal

A looming question will arise for residents of Pearland in May when they decide whether they want to pay $ 5 a month to fund drainage infrastructure projects and maintenance.

City staff said they are in reactive mode when it comes to addressing drainage issues and the city is working with limited resources to build new infrastructure to prevent homes from flooding. .

Council is divided on how to raise money for these drainage projects, with some members in favor of the royalty and others including Tony Carbone saying this type of work should be funded by bonds. However, all agreed that it should be up to voters, who will have their say on May 7.

Although he does not want to make any predictions on the outcome of the election, Cole said he is not optimistic based on the community’s conversations.

“From the citizens I’ve spoken to, I haven’t heard anyone supportive of this, and most of the questions I ask myself are, ‘Why aren’t we doing this within the normal budget? ‘ “, did he declare. noted.

The council recently took steps to tighten ballot language to limit how often fees can be changed and to link fee increases to the local consumer price index. He also clarified that 85 percent of the fee proceeds would go to drainage capital improvement projects, with the remaining 15 percent going to system maintenance.

The language of the approved ballad makes it clear that none of these details could be changed in the years to come without the approval of the voters.

Work towards an indoor sports facility

The Pearland Economic Development Corp. (PEDC) will continue to work in 2022 to develop an indoor sports complex. EDC President Matt Buchanan recently spoke about his organization’s efforts to find a location for the facility, which has been on the drawing board for a few years.

Melissa Black, EDC’s chief marketing officer, said her group sees the project as one of two community goals included in Pearland’s Prosperity Plan and the 2020 Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Master Plan.

“(This is part of) a strategic framework to ensure the quality of life and quality of the Pearland place in order to continue to attract and retain diverse individuals and families,” she said.

Cole said an indoor sports facility has the potential to make money for Pearland by hosting youth sports tournaments.

“The city has done several studies on what would be the best thing to do, and we know an indoor youth sports facility is one of them. The question has always been: how to pay for it? The PEDC is ready and able to finance it on its own, and (eventually) it will hopefully be able to finance itself, ”he said. “I think 2022 will be the decisive year for this.”

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