Category Archives: Big Debate

Op-Ed: Thinking Critically to Move Towards Education and Peace

**This piece is entirely my opinion based on my own research and weeding out actual facts about the issues presented. It does not represent the opinions or the endorsement of any company, non-profit, person or other entity. – Stacey**

That being said, I’m sad, y’all. What is going on in this world we live in? I’m afraid that I may be a (small) cog in the biggest problem: the media.

I am a reporter for a small group of community newspapers. I like reporting the “good stuff,” not who got killed, raped, assaulted, threatened, etc. I think people like to read positive things. Obviously though, as a whole, the masses are also hungry for the negative. So, based on supply-and-demand, which 24-hour news channels created the supply for, demand increases. And so on.

I remember when things were first going down in Ferguson, MO. I don’t watch or read “big media” unless I have to, but I did hear about this WHITE police officer that shot an unarmed BLACK teenager. That’s ALL I heard for the longest time.

I tend to suspend judgment on an issue until I can get the facts, but I do see how it would be easy to just parrot what’s all over the news and social media. And parroting was rampant. It still is.

I was horrified at the thought of any officer shooting any unarmed person just for the heck of it. I knew there had to be more to the story. I couldn’t find it on social media or on the big news channels, though.

Since I am a volunteer for my local police department and a supporter of law enforcement, I have other sources in this area. I went to my “go to” sites: PoliceOne.com, Law Officer, the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Information was scarce for a while, but the facts leaked out slowly. After all, the matter was under investigation, and unlike the media and the masses, law enforcement officers and organizations are not allowed to say anything about an open investigation.

Their silence was interpreted by the big media as some sort of admission of guilt or an indication that someone was hiding something. That’s just not true. Even locally, members of the department cannot and will not talk to anyone about an open investigation. Period.

The reasons for the silence make sense if you think about it critically. If any member of law enforcement speculated about an open case, those opinions could (and probably would) be interpreted as fact. That person’s speculations would not only contaminate the investigation, but may produce bias in the people of the community and even in the people doing the investigation.

Also, when things are reported before investigations are complete, small details can make big waves.

There is a department elsewhere in Texas that made the mistake of posting a report about a two-car accident on their Facebook page. Within minutes, commenters were giving out the names and facts about the drivers, and soon after that, rumors about the drivers started flying: he was drunk, she was on drugs, I know him and he’s a real jerk. The department had to post a warning about discussing personal details and took the original post down.

No one had even been hurt in the accident. The department had posted it to alert citizens about road congestion around the wreck. They had good intentions, but what is that they say about the road to hell?

When an incident like the one in Ferguson happens, the agency has to conduct an internal investigation and may even hire a third party to do a separate query into the facts to determine whether or not the officer abused his duty to uphold the law.

In Ferguson’s case, the facts were submitted to a Grand Jury. And there were LOTS of facts to be gathered and presented, witnesses to interview (many of them were spoken to numerous times), video footage to watch and police band recordings to listen to. If you’d like to see everything that was presented to the Grand Jury, visit http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/11/us/ferguson-grand-jury-docs/index.html.

In the meantime, the silence from the police department left them open to threats of death, obstacles to doing their jobs (to the point where many officers couldn’t go home to their families for days) and the frustration of not being able to say anything. Their silence also gave the big media folks time to fill in the blanks with speculation and falsehood. It also gave the teenager’s family and their supporters time to get really, really mad.

And who blames them for being mad? Not me. I’d be mad as hell, too. I’d be hurting. I’d want to get revenge. I’d probably even want to stir up some trouble. Losing a family member or friend is one of the most painful things a human being can go through. Extreme emotions are common. It’s what people do with these feelings that matter in cases like this.

I can’t say for sure what I’d do if I were the parent of a teenager who was killed by a policeman. I do know what I wouldn’t do, however. I wouldn’t incite riots or violence and if others did in my child’s name, I’d do whatever I could to stop them. I’d want to keep my pain private. I’d definitely talk to members of the agency that employed the officer and I’d probably not be nice about it. But that’s me.

I don’t mean to imply that Michael Brown’s parents incited riots or even wanted them. It got to be bigger than them and bigger than their son. It morphed from a tragic incident to a war between the races and a war between the people and the police. I can’t imagine that Brown’s parents ever really wanted that.

But it happened. The first person to get the idea to riot and loot most likely recruited some buddies to do it with him or her. Herd mentality takes over in human beings rather quickly. It’s ‘if they’re doing it, then it’s OK for me to do it as well.’ And who wouldn’t get angrier in the middle of destroying a store or a car or making off with stolen goods? Their actions may have initially been driven by herd mentality, but they were sustained by anger, which may or may not have been individually present when a person first decided to participate.

When a person dies, it is only natural to want to blame someone. If it is a natural death, many people go through phases of blaming God. But when a police officer kills a person, it is easy to place blame. The problem is that the blame starts getting generalized to every person in that occupational field. Even if Officer Wilson had been indicted, the anti-police movement was already in full swing. An indictment wouldn’t have brought peace anyway.

The Grand Jury no-billed Wilson after hearing, seeing and reviewing everything that they possibly could. Having read most of the evidence presented to them myself, I agree with their decision. It doesn’t change the fact that a kid is dead. But, when you look at the facts, Michael Brown decided to kill himself the minute he took a step toward Wilson after having already proven himself violent and ignoring Wilson’s warnings to stay put. People say Brown was “unarmed,” but sometimes people don’t need weapons to be armed. The kid was huge. He was a weapon himself.

That being said, I want to state that I am not some blind follower of law enforcement. There was recently an incident in south Texas in which an officer TASEREed an elderly man. I saw the video. It’s under investigation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the officer was found to have abused his authority. There’s nothing “right” about that…ever. However, I don’t think I’ll run down there to riot or protest if the officer is cleared. In fact, I’ve stayed out of it. It’s not my monkey and it’s not my circus. Neither was Ferguson.

This new wave of race wars and anti-police movements are my circus, though. It’s America’s circus, whether you lend your voice to it or not. You are being represented in one way or another by big media anyway.

I say all of this long-windily to encourage everyone to start thinking critically. Get the facts from several, dependable sources. FOX, NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC and all of the other giant media conglomerates are not dependable. They all have an agenda. They want to tell you what to think. And different media outlets present opposing points of view on purpose. They want to stir the people up. Anxious and angry people are easy to manipulate and control. Think about that next time you take something you heard on the news as gospel.

There is no easy solution to these problems. There’s a pro-police movement that’s gaining momentum, but all that does is give opposition to the anti-police movement. You can’t have a war with only one side.

Race issues have been in existence since the beginnings of humanity. I know it’s worse in some parts of the country than others. There are plenty of racists out there of ALL colors and ethnicities. Most of their bias comes from ignorance.

Perhaps the best baby step toward solving these problems is the use of critical thinking and education to learn about “the other side.” Find the opposition’s humanity. That, after all, is what we ALL have in common.

Oh, and turn off the news already. It’ll make you a happier person.

Click HERE to send hate mail, flames and love letters to the editor.

Pearland City Council Narrowly Approves Ivy District Zone-Change Application

Council

Councilmember Scott Sherman (center) voiced opposition to the project. “We’re now going to have one gateway to the city that has a rundown flea market and another gateway that is basically a glorified apartment complex,” Sherman said. (Photo: Kristi Nix)

The Pearland City Council voted three-to-two to approve a zone-change application recently to advance a proposed 48.5-acre mixed-use development that will replace the ill-fated Waterlights District.

Situated at the corner of Spectrum Boulevard and State Highway 288, the 11-block Ivy District development proposed by American Modern Green Development Houston LLC., has been the center of debate for months among city officials.

Mayor Tom Reid voiced support for the development.

“We’ve been talking about making Pearland a destination city. Outside of Shadow Creek Ranch and Pearland Town Center, there’s not really anything to draw people to Pearland,” he said. “The summary of phase one and phase two of this development shows it will have a hotel and 15,000 square-foot conference center. We don’t have any conference centers around Pearland.

“This development will have 120,000 square-feet of restaurants and shopping which are ideal for nightlife. It will also have a 10,000 square-foot community center, which is something we don’t have now. I’d like to talk them into putting in a performing arts center out there, which is ideal for drawing people into the city and presenting them with something we don’t have now,” Reid said. “This development has more items that can draw people to Pearland than any other development I’ve seen in the last several years. I think it is going to create some night life and some things we want to have happen in this city.”

The project features restaurants, a 150-room hotel and conference center, parks, open space and an assortment of other amenities including a mix of 1,150 apartment, condo and loft style multi-family units. In addition to Mayor Reid, the development has drawn its share of supporters but many west Pearland residents who live in nearby Shadow Creek Ranch opposed the project, saying the area already has more than enough apartments.

Councilmember Scott Sherman said he didn’t like that the first thing many people would see when coming to Pearland would be multi-family housing.

“We’re now going to have one gateway to the city that has a rundown flea market and another gateway that is basically a glorified apartment complex,” Sherman said.

According to agenda documents, the development will include 1,150 multi-family units including 750 individually-owned flat and loft-style units and 400 rental units. In addition, the project will include a retirement community to incorporate 225 independent living and assisted care apartments.

“Essentially what we’re looking at is another 1,375 multi-family units,” Sherman said. “You can call them what you want; you can put lipstick on a pig but they’re apartments, plain and simple,” he said. “I think everyone here knows my position on the apartments and I know where this is going today. Folks out there just don’t want more apartments.”

Councilmember Gary Moore also voted against the zone-change application.

“I voted no against this project simply because I was elected by the people to represent the people and all the residents I talked to last year when I campaigned and this year when I campaigned said they were not for any more apartments,” he said when interviewed after the meeting by The Journal. “I personally think this is a good project, especially if it owns up to what they say it is going to be. I think it is going to be a nice gateway to our city. However, residents said they weren’t for the multi-family units there.

“I appreciate what Modern Green has done to lessen that amount. But at the end of the day it still has multi-family units and I am basically listening to my constituents,” he said.

“With me voting no against this project doesn’t mean I am anti-development. I’m just not for this project at this time with the multi-family units. I’m not saying no to developing the city. We have roughly 43 square-miles left to develop in this city and I’m ready to get it developed,” Moore said.

The Green Ivy development will be constructed in two phases. The first phase will build out seven city blocks to include the retirement community, hotel and convention center, recreational open spaces along Clear Creek, offices, some retail and shopping and 575 residential units.

Councilmember Keith Ordeneaux said many residents who had contacted him were concerned Pearland schools would see an influx of new students once the apartments were built. He wanted to go on the record that the development will be located inside Harris County and the children who ultimately live there will not attend Pearland or Alvin ISD schools.

“Any child (that lives in this development) will be zoned to a Houston ISD school,” Ordeneaux said.

Councilmember Tony Carbone said he supported the project as it would generate economic development to an area that had been sitting vacant.

“It would be great if we could get zero multi-family but if it doesn’t work, it’s going to sit there vacant for how many years?” Carbone said. “I’m looking forward to the tax base and the economic impact to the area. Hopefully, it will spur off some additional development.”

The zone-change application was approved three-to-two at a council meeting held Tuesday (Sept. 22). Voting in favor: Carbone, Ordeneaux and Greg Hill. Voting in opposition: Moore and Sherman.

Source: The Pearland Journal

Agenda Available for City Council Public Hearing Sept. 8

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To view or download the Agenda Packet, click HERE.

Special Meeting of City Council Addresses Budget Issues

CityHall

On September 2, the Pearland City Council held a Special Meeting (often referred to as “Town Hall” meetings) in which residents were encouraged to come forward to speak to City Council (Tony Carbone, Scott Sherman, Keith Ordeneaux, Gary Moore and Greg Hill), Mayor Reid and City Manager Clay Pearson about their thoughts on lingering budget issues for the 2015 Fiscal Year (FY).

The first order of business was the proposed 2014 Tax Rate for the 2014-2015 Budget. Council explained that the Tax Rate is split into two different pieces: Operating and Debt Service. The proposed increase will affect ONLY the Operating Tax Rate and is $0.2221, which is an increase of .0070 from the current year. The Debt Service rate stands at $0.4900. This yields a proposed Tax Rate of $0.7121, which currently stands at $0.7051.

The second order of business was to discuss changes made to the Fiscal Year 2015 (which begins October 1) budget filing, due to the Budget Workshop Process. The Budget as proposed stands at $66,910,350. Proposed changes from the workshop process includes $260,000.00 in reductions of recurring expenses and $25,578 in non-recurring expenses. The potential sources of this total of approximately $285, 500.00 include six (6) full-time General Fund positions, the full merger of the Fire and EMS Departments, landscape contract increases, operating expenditures of new parks coming to fruition in 2015 (Max Road, Shadow Creek Ranch, Centennial Park), replacement of the City’s Enterprise Resource Planning/Management system (Information Technology) and a pavement/sidewalk rehabilitation initiative. Revenues may also be generated from proposed increases in the Water/Sewer Fund of 4.63%. This increase breaks down (residentially) to approximately $4.00 more per month for households that use 8,000 –  10,000 gallons of water monthly. Households using less than 2,000 gallons per month will see no increase. The increase for Commercial users will be higher.

The third order of business was to review changes to the Budget from the initially-filed Budget of July, 2014. They consist of:

  • Reduction of the Operating & Maintenance (O&M) component of the Tax Rate from $0.2251 to $0.2221;
  • Lowering the Debt Service tax rate from $0.4950 to $0.4900;
  • Water/Sewer Fund adjustment of $36,132;
  • Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) changes related to inter-fund transfers and funding related to Shadow Creek Ranch Park, lift station projects,and lowering spending on Hillhouse Annex Phase II;
  • Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC) funding added; and
  • Removal of an Animal Control study from the City-Wide Donation Fund

The Council then moved on to Topics for Discussion that are still under consideration for the FY 2015 Budget:

  • Police Expenditures (Personnel)
  • Natatorium HVAC Repair/Replacement
  • City Hall Renovations

Council is considering one of three options to satisfy the City’s need for more Police Personnel:

  1. Promoting two (2) Sergeants/Hiring two (2) Officers: $342,000 (Recurring and Non-Recurring Expenses);
  2. Promoting two (2) Sergeants/Hiring three (3) Officers: $433,000 (Recurring and Non-Recurring Expenses);
  3. Promoting two (2) Sergeants/Hiring four (4) Officers: $599,000 (Recurring and Non-Recurring Expenses)

The current Proposed Budget includes promotion of one (1) existing Officer to Sergeant. Police Sergeants are the main supervisory positions over patrol squads, of which Pearland currently has five (5) each for day and night shifts. They are divided into Districts A, B, C, D and E.

Council is also considering the Public Works Department’s need to remove and replace of deficient sections of sidewalks that have been displaced mainly by soil expansion and contraction. There are currently 563 open work requests from citizens and businesses for sidewalk repair dating back to 2009. The request is for $1.1 million, which would result in about 10 miles of sidewalk rehabilitation.

The four-year-old Natatorium suffered HVAC failures on August 19 and is currently dependent on a rented carrier unit. The City will be adding $500,000 to the General Fund Contingency to be available for unit repair or replacement. An engineering study is currently underway to determine possible solutions, including any repairs that may be made under warranty.

Pearland City Hall was constructed in 1986. A major renovation to what is referred to as the City Hall Complex (includes Community Center) has been in planning stages for several years. Recently, $400,000 in allocations for Certificates of Obligation were approved to fund studies and the estimation of design cost, which total $4.1 million. This amount falls within the construction budget approved in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

No Executive Decisions were made at this meeting. The next Public Hearing is scheduled for Monday, September 8, 2014 at 6:30pm at City Hall (3519 Liberty Drive). Residents are encouraged to attend and lend their voices to assist Mayor Reid, City Manager Pearson and City Council in completing the FY 2015 Budget.

Public Hearing on Proposed City Budget September 2

Budget

Read more at http://pearlandtx.gov/departments/finance/proposed-budget.

Breaking News: Modern Green No Longer on Council Agenda

From Council Member Scott Sherman (via Facebook): FYI for anyone planning on attending the City Council meeting tonight on the Modern Green project — I have just been informed that the project has been pulled by the applicant from the agenda…again. Looks like it will be on a future agenda but no date set yet.

The Pearland City Council Meeting You Won’t Want to Miss

If you only attend (or tune into) one Pearland City Council meeting this year, tonight’s meeting is the one you won’t want to miss. Why? Political forces are at work that will bring forward serious and potentially heated discussions as city officials debate proposed cuts to the city budget and a zone change application needed to advance a proposed $300 million development on the city’s west side.

Budget Cuts

In recent weeks, city officials have been working to hammer out details of next year’s budget which currently includes a slight property tax increase and increases in water, sewer and trash service rates. The council is expected to next decide where to find more than $250,000 in necessary cuts. Among the items under the budget knife: a $20,000 contribution for Keep Pearland Beautiful for the recycling program, a Pearland Parks Department maintenance worker position, a part-time Pearland Fire Department investigator position and cuts to the Pearland Police Department budget.

West Pearland Development

Remember the giant sculptures of the presidents’ heads and the Waterlights District? That development failed several years ago but the 48.5 acre parcel was recently purchased by another developer who has been working with city officials to advance a new $300 million mixed-use project. Tonight Mayor Tom Reid and the City Council will consider a zone change application that would allow the project to move forward out of the planning phase.

Named the Ivy District, the proposed project is being developed by American Modern Green Development, the U.S. division of the Chinese company Modern Green Development, and would include 140,000 square feet of office space, 160,000 square feet of retail businesses, a 150 room hotel and a 15,000 square-foot conference center. In addition, the Ivy District would include a 225 unit continuum care retirement community and a residential component comprised of condominiums and apartments.

The proposed project has drawn its share of supporters as well as those who question traffic issues and the number of apartments it would add to the area.

The City Council meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and is being held at Pearland City Hall located at 3519 Liberty Drive. The meeting is open to the public. Citizens who wish to speak during public comments are asked to arrive early and sign in with the City Secretary.

Can’t make it to the meeting but want to listen in? Pearland City Council meetings are broadcast on the city website and on the city access TV channel.

For more information, visit www.pearlandtx.gov.

Agenda documents are posted online here: http://documents.pearlandtx.gov/WebLink8/5/doc/807102/Electronic.aspx.

Source: The Pearland Journal

The Ivy District Brings Debate to the City

If you’ve been paying attention to social media lately, you’ve probably noticed a big push by developer American Modern Green to get citizen input for their Planned Development (PD) called The Ivy District.

According to their Facebook page, “The Ivy District will be a $300 million plus dynamic mixed-use, walkable center complete with high-end retail and restaurants, state-of-the-art offices, a conference center, modern hotel, upscale residential and 18 acres of dedicated green space. Located off of Highway 288, the district is south of the Houston Medical Center just past Beltway 8. It will contain 800,000 plus square feet of retail, hotel and office space. The Ivy District will also offer upscale residential options for all age demographics. The district will be built using energy-efficient technologies that will reduce energy costs for businesses and residents. The Ivy District will be a beacon of modern development in the Pearland community.

America Modern Green Development is the developer of Ivy Disctrict. It is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based listed company, who is global real estate pioneer dedicated to the comfortable and energy-efficiency green buildings.”

The Pearland City Council will vote on the zoning requests at their next meeting on Monday, August 25. To view the presentation, click HERE.

Kevin Cole, Vice President of Development for Modern Green, answered some questions about potential problems with the development that residents were posing.

Q: This development will bring 800,000 + square feet of commercial space along with 1,150 residential units and green space over 48.5 acres. Won’t this be too dense for the area, creating more problems with traffic and generally getting around?

A: This project was basically approved in late 1998/early 1999 in the City’s Comprehensive Plan. In 2008, this area was planned to be the Water Lights District, but that developer went bankrupt. The Ivy District, which is part of “The Lower Kirby Urban Center,” which was approved in January, 2013, will actually have less residential units than the approved Water Lights District, along with more green space. So, this project is really nothing new to the City.

Q: With so many rental units available, won’t there be an influx of lower socioeconomic status families?

A: There will be only 400 rental units out of the 1,150 available. All of these units are geared toward single professionals or couples and are priced as luxury units. Rent will be between $1,400 – $2,000 per month and the sale prices will range from $200,000 – $400,000. Therefore, a certain demographic will be drawn to the area, much like Mid-Town in Houston.

Q: With such an influx of people, how will they get around easily? It looks like there are no direct ways to get to Beltway 8 and folks will have to use a feeder road to get to 288.

A: Right now, S. Spectrum Drive leads to Kirby and then the dead-end street called Fruge. This street will be built out as an easy way to get to the Beltway. Residents and retailers will have to use the feeder to get to 288, but Bass Pro customers have to do that now, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. We have to follow rigorous rules set by the City and the Texas Department of Transportation and must do traffic studies during development to determine what roadways are needed. As far as 288 goes, if our PD passes in City Council, it will be at least 2 years before any retail space opens. The toll roads on 288 may be open as early as 2017, so this could benefit customers and retailers as far as traffic is concerned.

Q: Some residents are concerned that there are no plans to look over and therefore, they assume drainage plans and design standards are still very fluid.

A: There will be 12 blocks in The Ivy District. Each block already has a designation of use: residential/commercial/mixed. We cannot deviate from that. Also, drainage plans are in place. As development goes along, we may have to change certain things, but we can’t do that without City Council’s approval. Our design has to meet the City’s Unified Development Criteria, which is very specific.

Q: When building starts, won’t that cause a big problem as far as traffic on 288 and the Beltway goes?

A: The Ivy District is set to be built in 2 phases. Our Market Study was completed and approved by the Planning and Zoning Committee in July. Phase 1 will take 4-5 years to build out and will consist of 8 blocks of commercial space. Phase II can’t begin until Phase 1 is completed. The design requires commercial buildings to be completed first, as the residential units will make up the second floor of the buildings. We are putting the commercial spaces in first to start generating revenue and creating jobs for the City. We expect to generate $3 million per year and create 900+ jobs. This design ensures that the City has no risk. Modern Green will even be maintaining the private streets inside the District.

While Mr. Cole’s answers may soothe some residents’ concerns, some members of City Council still have some issues. Council Member Keith Ordeneaux recently posted on Facebook that, “I cannot support the percentages in Phase Two, the area on the map in red. But I do believe that multi-family will be part of any development in this area due to the demographics and market studies. So at this time I am leaning towards supporting the PD if they will pull out Phase Two totally and add streets connecting to Kirby and/or Beltway 8.”

The map that he is referring to is below:

MGMap

Council Member Tony Carbone says, “Overall, I believe the developer and staff have worked well to get to a final product that is beneficial to the city.”

Council Members Greg Hill, Gary Moore and Scott Sherman were not available to comment on the issue before press time.

The City Council meeting on Monday, August 25 is sure to be an interesting one. If you cannot attend at 6:30pm at City Hall, you can watch it live via the Internet, Pearland TV or on cable TV (U-Verse channel 99).

If you would like to give your opinions to the Council, click here to send an email to them.

Proposed Modern Green Ivy District FAQs

Find answers to the following questions HERE.

  • Where can I find the proposal online? 

  • What could be the potential benefits of the development? 

  • Will this development put more stress on traffic, schools, crime and recreational spaces?

  • Is the current congestion situation a result of poor City planning for the potential growth?

  • Why doesn’t the city council and all of the planning/zoning commission work with the Modern Green developer to use similar percentages of land use as was proposed earlier by the Waterlights Planned Development?

  • Why isn’t the focus of all newly approved plans by the city council to invite more large employers to the city and provide favorable incentives to them?

  • Many residents of west Pearland purchased property in Pearland because of plans to build the Waterlights Development. That plan was in line with similar high-end developments in The Woodlands, Plano, Austin and Sugarland which have a much higher percentage of non-residential use than the proposed plan put forward by Modern Green. How is this good for Pearland?

    Source: City of Pearland

City Positioned for Long-Term Financial Health After Debt Refinancing and Structure Change

Pearland City Council took another step towards ensuring the long-term financial health of the City by approving the refinancing of $24.85 million in existing debt and approving $11.6 million in new debt structured over 20-years for infrastructure needs identified in the City’s Capital Improvement Program that provides for road widening and extensions, park and drainage improvements.

Similar to a homeowner taking advantage of lower interest rates, the City is refinancing existing debt at a lower interest rate saving approximately $1.6 million over 13 years or $124,699 annually. The City is also structuring all new debt with a 20-year maturity; versus 25-year which has been the City’s past practice.

Over time, the structure change will save the taxpayer future interest payments estimated at $37.7 million in addition to the $1.6 million for the refinancing, based on the City’s 2015 – 2019 Capital Improvement Program. The new repayment structure will pay off 89 percent of new debt anticipated to be issued over the next 5 years in 20-years versus 56 percent in 20-years based on the City’s current practice.

Changing the City’s debt structure now increases Pearland’s financing flexibility for future major public investment work needs such as road expansions as Pearland continues to mature and be attractive for residential and business selection. City staff and City Council policy makers are also planning on asset management for rehabilitation as the City ages.

The immediate refinancing provides an example of sound financial planning, lowering interest costs. The City maintains an AA credit risk rating from Fitch, affirmed in January, which will be reviewed again in the coming weeks, on its General Obligation debt. The January outlook from Fitch was “Stable”; AA is classified as a high-grade rating.

Some of the new debt financing, to be paid back over time by property taxes, pays for funding towards construction for Max Road Soccer Complex, Shadow Creek Ranch Park, Kirby Drive Extension and CR59 Expansion, among other projects.

Source: City of Pearland