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Ron Cox recognized for service
Manvel City Council
Meet the Candidates
February 8, 2012
Manvel City Council heard a presentation from a
CenterPoint Energy spokesman at a recent council meeting. Jason Fabre
explained the new smart meters to the area, which have recently been
installed in and around Manvel. The meters will combine with other
technologies and are expected to transform the future purchase, delivery,
and consumption of electricity.
CenterPoint Energy is a gas and electric company that
serves over 3 million industrial, commercial, and wholesale customers with
natural gas over several states and manage two interstate pipelines and
perform field services where they capture and process natural gas. They
also are an electric transmission and distribution company that serves
mainly the greater Houston area with just over 2 million customers.
The smart meters are used by their electric customers and
through a rolling installation process eventually all of their service area
will see the meters installed. Fabre likened the smart meters to a gas pump
for a car. If a user’s budget only allows fifty dollars of gas, that user
will avoid unnecessary trips so as to remain within budget. Smart meters
will allow consumers of electricity to budget in much the same way. The
present system offers little ability for the consumer to know what level of
consumption they are expending as the bill arrives after the fact.
Smart meters will allow the user to determine how much
electricity they are consuming and offer a real-time view of what it is
costing so that better management and conservation can be exercised. Fabre
explained that retail electric providers will be able to offer pre-paid
service to control costs and will also be able to provide remote connects
and disconnects. Time of use rates will likely come into play in an effort
to encourage more consumption during the off-peak times such as late at
night into the early morning or late morning into the early afternoon.
The smart meters will capture data and communicate
through cell relays to the central station and downstream providers. Among
other things, the communications will help the company repair failing
transformers before they actually go off line and will notify of service
interruptions before the customer is even aware of there being a problem.
Other benefits as described by Fabre include no longer
bearing the problems associated with meter readers, such as damaged fences,
barking dogs, invasion of privacy, etc… All meter reading will now be
automated. Faster disconnects and re-connects will make it more convenient
for customers as it will no longer be required to wait the customary three
days that is typical today. The provider will be able to determine whether
or not there is a problem with electricity feeding the house. Many service
calls are in fact problems within the home itself which requires a private
electrician to repair. Unnecessary service trips should be curtailed
significantly saving both the provider and the customer time and money. The
smart meters will be compatible with third party offered Home Area Networks
that will allow users to control their appliances remotely, see how much
power a particular device is requiring, and other similar conveniences.
Fabre claims the smart meters will help to reduce the
amount of energy required to be produced to power over 175,000 homes. Or,
two to four generators could be offset in the near future which represents
millions of dollars of investments that would ultimately get passed on to
the consumers. Being greener and conserving the environment are additional
benefits the meters bring.
Additional information can be had at
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Cox recognized for service
February 15, 2012
Manvel city council honored Ron Cox for his service as
Interim City Manager with a special proclamation at this week’s council
meeting. Cox was appointed to the interim position last July and served
until January 17 when the city’s new full time city manager, Kyle Jung,
assumed the position. In expressing the city’s appreciation for all his
work, Mayor Delores Martin recognized his contribution to the growth and
success of Manvel.
Cox has enjoyed a long and distinguished history with the
city, serving in several advisory and consulting capacities before accepting
the interim city manager position. He was instrumental in directing the
city in the early stages of the city’s new charter that was passed by voters
last May and led the effort in the hiring process for the new city manager.
Cox was grateful for the recognition and admitted he was
“suffering from withdrawal”. He said it has been an adjustment not
receiving the regular phone calls and admitted that he missed it.
Cox will continue his involvement in city governance as
he carries on additional advisory and consulting activities.
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February 15, 2012
Manvel City Council approved a resolution approving a
Joint Election Agreement between the city and Brazoria County Clerk Joyce
Hudman for the conduct and supervision of the Political Subdivision Election
to be held on May 12, 2012. An Ordinance was also approved that will
provide for the holding of a general election for the purpose of electing
three council members.
Up for election this May are Council Position 1, held
currently by Bob Long; Position 2, currently held by Mack Ivy; and Position
4, held by Melody Hanson. Preliminary indications are that neither Bob Long
nor Mack Ivy will seek re-election. Melody Hanson has expressed an initial
intention of running for another one year term.
Applications for those interested in running for one of
the positions will be accepted at City Hall through March 5.
In other council news, approval was granted for the
annual report for the 2011 TIRZ #3. TIRZ #3 encompasses the planned 1600
acre Seven Oaks development as well as an additional 500 acres extending
from the developments north boundary to include areas along state highway 6.
The TIRZ is designed to increase the value of taxable
properties through construction of new public and private infrastructure
improvements. The incremental value on the increased property assessments
is set aside in dedicated funds for improvements in the zone.
In a related action, council approved Mike Pyburn to be
re-appointed Chair of the TIRZ #3 Board as well as Chair of the South Manvel
Council unanimously approved a one-year extension on a
development plat for Palm Court Section 2 in Rodeo Palms. A spokesperson
for the developer requested the extension explaining that economic
conditions have not been advantageous for development.
Council also finally approved the final reading of the
pipeline ordinance that has been under discussion for some time. City
Attorney Bobby Gervais delivered verbiage satisfactory to council in
addressing their concerns on foliage replacement (primarily trees) and a
required acknowledgment to be filed with the county regarding any
development within 100 feet of a pipeline. The ordinance forbids any
development within 50 feet of a pipeline. Council’s intent is to make every
effort to ensure full disclosure to current and future property owners of
the existence of the pipeline easements.
And approval was given for the submission of a grant
application for police equipment to the Governor’s Office, Criminal Justice
Division. The grant program is 100% funded with no matching requirement.
The same grant funded over $68,000 for three new police cruisers for the
city in 2010. Police Chief Ralph Garcia has identified two projects to apply
for. One was applied for previously and denied, but will be put on the list
again this time around. That program is called the Life Scan program.
There are various stations around the state that have automatic fingerprint
identification systems (AFIS) with the nearest one to Manvel being located
in Angleton. Currently in Manvel, after fingerprints the old-fashioned way,
they must be delivered to Angleton to await results. The LifeScan program
will provide a digitized fingerprint system that will streamline the process
and allow for digitized records to be maintained by the local police.
$36,000 will be requested to cover that system.
The priority for the grant is the replacement of eight
mobile laptop computers that serve the city’s fleet. Currently each of the
units is at least four years old with some as old as eight years. The
computers are an integral part of the operating system where they can check
license plates, driver’s licenses, and other information without having to
go through dispatch. They also allow officers to complete their reports in
the field without having to return to the station. None of the current
computers are Windows 7 capable which will be a requirement as the city’s
dispatch equipment is updated. The cost of the computers is also projected
to be $36,000.
There is some optimism that approval will be granted to
at least one of the requests, with the computers holding priority, due to
the amount being asked for is not that large in comparison to many of the
other agencies competing for the limited grant funds.
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February 22, 2012
The Alvin-Manvel Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored a
“Meet the Candidate” luncheon at Grace United Methodist Church on Monday. A
crowd of more than 100 people were in attendance to hear candidates running
for various county positions. Each candidate was given ninety seconds to
introduce themselves to the crowd, but much mingling went on before and
after the session, as well while the lunch was served.
Six candidates are vying for the District 14 US
Congressional seat that will be vacated when long time Congressman Ron
Paul’s term ends this year. Paul is not seeking re-election. Candidates
represented a cross section of experience and backgrounds, including current
State Representative Randy Webber and Pearland City Council member Felicia
Harris. Others include John Gay, Robert Gonzales, Zach Grady, and Michael
Candidates for State Senate, District 11, included Daniel
McCool, Dave Norman, and Larry Taylor. McCool has been a public servant his
entire life, as a veteran and peace officer. He says he disagrees with a
lot that has gone on in the community and no longer wants to support
candidates who fail to do what they say. This year he decided to run
himself. He claims to have plans for personal property rights and border
security. Dave Norman says he is not a politician but a small business
owner and proud veteran. He says he will serve Texas and listen to his
constituents. Larry Taylor believes it is not the government’s job to
create jobs but to create an environment where the people can create jobs.
He claims to have a ten year proven record of representing Galveston County
as a State Representative.
Candidates for State Representative, District 29, include
Debra Rosenthal-Ritter and Ed Thompson. Rosenthal-Ritter said the talking
points are pretty much the same among the candidates; what is different is
the people who are running. She is a former teacher with a Master’s Degree
in Education earned from Texas A&M. She says that more than 60% of the
state budget is spent on education and that it is important to have
representation in Austin that not only understands education as a parent and
a teacher. She is a Certified Financial Planner and claims to see people
every day that are “scared to death on what their future holds”. She admits
to not being a career politician but boasts that she is the right choice to
represent District 29. Thompson gave four reasons that he is running for
State Representative; his four grandchildren. He wants them to have the
opportunity to have the same Texas that he has enjoyed, with a good public
education and an opportunity to own a small business. He says he we need to
work on education, transportation, and the issues of water in the State so
that we can grow the economy and keep it vibrant.
Rita Ashley is running for the State Board of Education,
which is charged with selecting the curriculum in schools, granting charters
to open enrollment charter schools, and oversees the $25 billion public
school fund. She is a former teacher and business owner who “fell in love”
with technology and the potential it holds for improving education. “If you
like what they are doing in schools right now and love the public education
system in Texas”, she says, “then vote for my opponent”. “If you want a
change, then vote for me”.
Brazoria County Tax Assessor-Collector Ro-Vin Garrett is
seeking re-election and is running against Debbie Gleaves. Precinct 3
Constable Buck Stevens is being challenged by current Sheriff’s Deputy Chase
Grupe, and Precinct 3 County Commissioner Stacy Adams is running unopposed.
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February 29, 2012
Manvel city council heard from a developer wanting to
improve additional residential lots south of the Rodeo Palms Subdivision.
The proposed development would be established through a Municipal Utility
District (MUD) and a PUD (Planned Unit Development) and would provide lot
sizes of 50, 55, and 60 foot widths with most depths to be 115 feet. The
developer explained that they currently have 60 foot lots in nearby
developments that are not selling and feel the market justifies the smaller
50 and 55 foot widths.
Council member Mack Ivy pointed out that the difference
in cost between a 55 foot lot and a 50 foot lot would amount to
approximately $5,000 and asked if that amount of money would really make a
difference in whether or not a new home would sell. The developer answered
that indeed it would. Concern was also raised about the side setback
requirements that provide just 5 feet from the property line. Council
member Larry Akery pointed out that when the eaves of the homes are
considered that the distance between homes would be well under 10 feet and
expressed concern that a fire could potentially spread easily to neighboring
houses. Council was unanimous in its feedback that 60 foot lots would be
the minimum considered when the new PUD is negotiated.
Council also heard from representatives of the Alvin
Independent School District (AISD) regarding a variance request submitted
that would reduce the right-of-way (ROW) requirement on Kirby Drive just
south of County Road 59. The school district recently acquired acreage
along south CR59 just east of its intersection with Kirby Drive for the
building of the district’s 15th elementary school. A 60 foot
parcel connects the main tract to Kirby Drive and it is on that piece that
the district requested the variance.
The ROW along Kirby is currently platted at 100’ from
CR59 south to its end, including a portion under county control. The
portion north of CR59 that is in the city of Pearland is also platted at a
100’ ROW. A new four lane divided and curbed road was recently put in place
by the SouthFork developer that utilizes a 100’ ROW. School district
representatives made the case that because all the road is currently platted
at 100’ and that only a small portion of road frontage is subject to the
Subdivision ordinance, that it’s 60 foot portion be granted the variance
maintaining consistency with the balance of the road as it currently exists.
Council was not convinced to grant the variance and due
to the proposal not being opened for a vote, effectively killed the
request. Some council members expressed support of PD&Z’s unfavorable
recommendation. In explaining the Board’s position, Windy Arnold said the
group felt the variance request did not follow the city’s thoroughfare plan
and was not seen as a necessity. Mayor Delores Martin expressed her feeling
that city rules are only useful if they are adhered to. Some others on
council felt it important to maintain the larger ROW in case future
expansion of the road may be required.
In other council news, approval was granted for the
receipt of Community Development Block Grant funds in the amount of $136,000
and the appointment of a contractor to replace a currently existing 4” water
line serving Rogers Road with an 8” line along with new taps and meters.
City Manager Kyle Jung explained that if the project is able to be completed
at the budgeted $105,000 that the balance of the funds could be used to
extend the water line up to state hwy 6 which would allow it to loop into
the city’s existing service lines on the north side of the road, which among
other things would provide additional fire hydrants along the road.
Windy Arnold, Debbie Harrison, and Dorothy Wynne were all
approved for re-appointment to the Planning, Development, and Zoning Board
for two year terms. Ed Armstrong and Buddy Williams were both approved for
re-appointment to the South Manvel Development Authority Board and the
related TIRZ 3 Board, with terms to expire in May 2013.
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