A friendly wager

Bellville mayor wears Tiger jersey to Sealy council meeting

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It was an impromptu friendly wager that paid off for Sealy Mayor Janice Whitehead.

While attending a regional meeting of mayors the Saturday before the inter-county rivalry football game between Bellville and Sealy, she and Bellville Mayor James Harrison each made boasts about having the best football team while doing introductions.

That led to a friendly wager. The loser would have to attend a city council meeting of the other while wearing the opponent’s jersey.

True to his word, the affable Harrison appeared before the Sealy City Council Tuesday wearing a Sealy Tigers football jersey after Sealy defeated Bellville 34-14 in the Battle of Mill Creek. As Whitehead introduced him, Harrison’s daughter gleefully snapped photos with her cell phone.

The levity of the moment set the tone for the brief city council meeting that followed.

More introductions were made as Public Works Director Mark Pulos introduced each member of this staff to the council, all wearing bright blue button down work shirts.

“I think we have a good team here,” Pulos said. “I think I found the right people. This is the first time in 25 years we have had a full staff of utility personnel.”

There are 13 people on his team and most of them were in attendance.

Settling down to business, the council made an adjustment to a performance agreement between the city and Harvest Moon Apartments that changed the name of the development’s ownership to Sridhar Patibandla and affirmed incentives.

Councilman Larry Koy felt that the $100,000 the Sealy Economic Development Corporation was refunding to the developer was too much money. He also questioned the precedent being set by offering enticements to housing developers to come to the city.

City Attorney Tim Kirwin and Sealy EDC Director Robert Worley assured him it was a one-time deal that would not be offered again.

Kirwin said that there were special findings made by the EDC board for Harvest Moon and Dove Tail because Sealy desperately needed new housing in order to attract new businesses.

“Because you don’t have a lot of residential and because you’re in desperate need of housing, this will help stimulate business development. I spoke with Robert (Worley) with the EDC, and you likely won’t see any more residential coming before the city. The reason you see these is because of the lack of (housing).”

“When we looked at this there was nothing of a residential neighborhood on the front burner,” Worley said. “We told the board when we did this it would do this one time and it was to spur industrial development so we could tell some prospects that housing was coming.”

Kirwin noted that housing developments are coming quickly now and that circumstances have changed so that incentives no longer need to be offered.

The council approved the performance agreement with Koy opposing and Councilman Chris Noack being absent.

In other action:

* The council made an adjustment to the city’s personnel policies and procedures manual to adjust how holiday pay is handled.

* The council approved on second reading utility rates for the city.

* The council set Nov. 2 as the date of the Keep Texas Beautiful Fall Sweep clean-up day, with a rain date of Nov. 9.

* In his city manager’s report, Lloyd Merrell said he and several other officials from Sealy and Austin County would be joining a delegation from the Greater Houston Partnership on a trip to China Oct. 28 through Nov. 9. “The goal is to bring more jobs and investment back to Sealy,” he said.

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