Pitre honored ahead of retirement

Sealy City Council passes drainage agreement, postpones EDC appointments

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Sealy City Council honored Immaculate Conception Church's Reverend Eric James Pitre with a symbolic key to the city at the biweekly council meeting on June 16 at the W.E. Hill Community Center. Mayor Janice Whitehead also proclaimed June 28 is going to be Rev. Eric James Pitre Day in the city ahead of the longtime pastor's retirement.

The council also approved a license agreement for public drainage infrastructure and called a special meeting to address appointments to the Sealy Economic Development Board Tuesday evening.

A license agreement for public drainage infrastructure between the city of Sealy and the Retreat at Sealy was up for approval. The agreement worked out the flow of drainage for the development. The city has already recognized the purchase of six acre-feet of drainage back in December of 2019, according to Assistant City Manager Warren Escovy.

This license agreement would make the developer responsible for the design and price material costs. Escovy also said building a piping system would help contain some of the water runoff from the two churches near the Retreat at Sealy into the pond rather than onto Retreat property.

Councilmember Chris Noack had concerns about the agreement with the developers when it came to their drainage plan.

“This ordinance just says that there’s a list of 21 things that these plans should have in them. So, I guess my question is: Are we going based on what is in our ordinance, or are we bypassing this sealed, signed engineer certified plan in situations like this,” Noack said.

Escovy said all ordinance rules and standards were followed in the drafting of this agreement.

“What this pipe is attempting to do with very small swell is to capture all of that; currently we're not capturing anything,” Escovy said. “Currently there's just a sheet flow that goes over the retreat property and then goes through a park. And so, this pipe with a swale will hopefully solve a lot of those existing problems along with capturing the new runoff that's going to come … from the retreat property.”

The agreement passed 7-3 with councilmembers Chris Noack, Sandra Vrablec and Larry Koy voting against it.

The council also agreed to hold a special meeting on June 22 at 5 p.m. to discuss Sealy Economic Development Board appointments. Four candidates were selected out a pool of 10 applicants, but several councilmembers wanted to be able to discuss all applicants before voting on the appointees.

“I don't like not being able to vote on another applicant that I feel would be more qualified,” Noack said. “In the future, I want transparency, we're here communicating transparency. I want to know who was signed up for these boards.”

Councilmember Koy echoed similar thoughts about the council’s role in appointing members to the board.

“It’s kinda offensive if I’m left out,” Koy said. “Why isn’t there a pool (from which) we choose somebody? This is not democracy; when you designate four people, that’s it. What about the others?”

Other items:

  • City Council also approved several resolutions and performance agreements between the Sealy EDC and several entities. Expenditure of funds to the Bellville Medical Center, Hendrix Industries and Bill’s Supermarket were approved for amounts not to exceed $180,000, $205,000 and $15,000, respectively.
  • Sealy EDC also reimbursed the City of Sealy for the 380 Economic Development Programs for Businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in an amount not exceeding $250,000.
  • A bid amounting to $29,865 was awarded to Turner Paving and Construction for the Sealy Business and Professional Women’s Park walking trail project.
  • City Manager Lloyd Merrell updated the council on the impact of COIVD-19 on the city’s financial status during a workshop prior to the regular council meeting. According to Merrell, the city was not as badly affected as its larger metropolitan neighbors. However, there was a decline in sales tax revenues in the last few months.

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