Although no action was taken at Rosenberg’s first special city council meeting of the year, Mayor Bill Benton wanted to give council the opportunity to mull its options on an election bond before it’s too late.
On Tuesday, Benton called the meeting to discuss funding for the Seabourne Creek Park Nature Center design and construction, as well as a splash pad, by way of a bond election.
In December, council members discussed a May 2021 bond election to provide funding for the Seabourne Creek Park Nature Center design and construction and a splash pad.
This item was initially placed on Tuesday’s regular council meeting, but was taken off the agenda by council member Isaac Davila.
“This is a meeting that I’ve called,” Benton began. “I had this on the regular agenda. Isaac pulled this item. Of course, I have the right to call a special meeting.
“We’re not going to belabor this. I just wanted to give y’all the opportunity to reconsider. The deadline is mid-February and we’re not going to have many opportunities to discuss this.”
Council has between Jan. 18 and Feb. 12 to decide whether to hold the bond election in May.
According to city staff, the benefit of funding the projects through a bond election is to provide a mechanism to pay for the projects without taking from the general fund.
The first step in building a nature center at Seabourne Creek Nature Park includes paying for a $385,000 engineering study.
Maintenance and operations costs of $125,000 per year would be expended from the city’s general fund, The nature center project would total $3 million upon completion.
The nature center would include an interactive educational space, office space, a pavilion, deep porches, a classroom, integrated solar roof panels and native plant life.
The splash pad, to be located at Travis Park, would cost $575,000.
“Let’s say the voters approve $4 million and we don’t need $4 million (to complete the projects) and we get grants or take it out of other funds and we only need $2 million,” Benton explained, “if we so desire, the council could execute only $2 million (of the bond).”
Council members have already agreed to fund the engineering plan of the nature center project through the parkland dedication fund. According to Assistant City Manager Joyce Vasut, the parkland dedication fund has $650,000 in it.
“The thinking here is when y’all get into the budget over the summer, if y’all discuss these items and you have this (bond) approved in the election, you have the option to use these funds. Or you can decline the option. It’s just food for thought.”
No one else spoke on this item.