District workshop looks to the Future

Creation of TIRZ for East Aldine will fund additional projects

Board members and East Aldine staff participated in a day-long workshop last Friday, assessing the year’s accomplishments and setting out plans for the next year.

The district will have income totaling over $15 million dollars, according to projections, and the workshop and subsequent budget workshop made plans for projects using the funds.

Consultant David Hawes informed the board that a new Aldine TIRZ#1 had been formed, to bring new revenue and mechanisms for additional projects in the district. TIRZ revenue is the increment the county receives above current assessments, not an additional tax stream, he said.

The board heard from staff members about accomplishments to date. Scott Bean said the district had established 1400new water and sewer connections, and finished about $50 million in water and sewer work.

In economic development, Lance Dean reported participation in our grant programs for business improvements and demolition grants. He is pursuing new wholesale and retail businesses, including a major grocery store for the area.

Monaca Campos reported on continuing plans for marketing the District to the public, and to residents. The Shop Local program now has 200 participants.

Executive Director Richard Cantu reported on 59 new street signs, and 305 new LED streetlights. He also said that road projects are progressing, including extension of JFK, and W. Gulf Bank through Keith-Wiess Park.

Victor Besara reported that the Deputy contingent now stood at 21, and eventually we will add more to reach 25. The board has authorized more Flock license plate reader cameras, up to 60, and more Zaladium area scan cameras. He reported that the Explorer groupts with the Sheriff’s Office and the Westfield Fire Department have been successful in engaging our youth.

Alma Dejelandra reported on our successful schedule of special events throughout the year. We will continue many successful programs, including the “unlimited possibilities” for special needs persons. The next event is a Wizard Festival. Durint the year, she has planned several events each month for families and residents. In July there will be 4 first-run theater type movies shown at the Amphitheater.

Susan Hill reported on our support of Community projects including scholarships, grants, and youth programs. She pointed out the importance of the free car seat program, and solicited ideas for more projects.

David Hawes said that the creation of the Aldine TIRZ #1 will provide additional revenue, approximately $4.5 million over the next 5 years. The TIRZ will be able to issue revenue bonds, leading to more improvements to the District.

Carlos Silva reported that the Arts Council continues to pursue civic art projects, and notes the value it adds in tourism dollars to the District. It also encourages young artists in the area, both in visual and performing arts.

The board also discussed the need for continuing support for the Westfield Fire Department, who are now manning the second station on Bentley. In the budget, $150,000 was allocated for this department.

The District plans to acquire some property on Aldine-Westfield for a service yard.

Adding additional residences to the District was discussed, and ways to encourage this. 180 new units are planned now on a site on Aldine-Bender.

The District heard of the success of the Recycling Center, and plans to add a ramp to make disposal easier.

The District will encourage planners to design Retention basins for dual use when possible, with walking trails or recreation.