On the agenda: Purchasing more parks, TV crews for council meetings?

March 13, 2016

A new park – the possible acquisition and development of more parkland is the Monday city council agenda item with the highest price tag: $7-10 million.

It is an never-ending discussion for West U  buying more parkland …and Councilmember Burt Ballanfant is always the driving force.

In 2006, West University Place voters approved a $2 million expenditure for additional parkland. Ballanfant argues the 2005 bond vote granted authorization to the city council to purchase additional land without any $2 million price restriction.

Ballanfant’s reasoning? Burt says that if a prior city council had acted immediately, $2 million would have been plenty. Ballanfant says that prior city councils were “derelict in their duties” by not spending the $2 million already. So in Ballanfant’s eyesight the current city council should not be bound by the $2 million limit.

Two possible future park sites will be presented once by parks director Tim O’Connor. But the first image in O’Connor’s staff presentation will be a retell of the 2015 citizen survey which indicated an ambivalence towards the issue of acquiring more parkland.

O’Connor’s first potential park site is located at the southwest corner of Pittsburg Street and Mercer Street and has an estimated purchase price of $3.86 million. O’Connor’s second possible park site is at the northwest corner of Mercer and Duke – the estimated land cost of the ⅔ acre is $3.85 million.

It is estimated the total developed cost of either possible park site would be between $7-10 million.

Kelly’s Follies

Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Kelly is a proponent of televising city council meetings and along with Brennan Reilly offers an agenda item that would have West University Place dive in the the arena of reality TV, or vanity TV.

For comparison: The City of Bellaire has a dedicated television station for the broadcast of its city council meetings and they average less than five viewers per meeting. West U already videos the meetings for security purposes and any resident can request the video at no cost from the city secretary (I do it for every meeting).

The estimated additional cost for the proposed production quality taping of the city council meetings for the first year would be between $25-75K.

Cop Talk

The agenda item reads “Police Department Activity Matters.” The backstory is that residents are concerned about crime. The police chief will deliver a predictable spiel – a police car patrols the front of each homestead between 4-5 times everyday which exceeds the matrix of any city in Texas.

If you have any questions, please contact City Secretary Thelma Lenz at 713.662.5813

George Boehme

George Boehme is the publisher of InstantNewsWestU.com and West University Essentials magazine.

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