Category Archives: Taking Care of Business

How Amazon plans to fix its massive returns problem

Amazon is handling a rapidly growing number of returns that are causing a massive problem for the e-commerce giant and the planet.

A National Retail Federation survey found a record $761 billion of merchandise was returned to retailers in 2021. That amount surpasses what the U.S. spent on national defense in 2021, which was $741 billion. 

Amazon wouldn’t share its overall returns numbers, but in 2021, the National Retail Federation estimates 16.6% of all merchandise sold during the holiday season was returned, up more than 56% from the year before. For online purchases, the average rate of return was even higher, at nearly 21%, up from 18% in 2020. With $469 billion of net sales revenue last year, Amazon’s returns numbers are likely staggering. 

Read more from CNBC…

Grapevine Walgreens goes back to normal business hours


Hey Grapevine! As of yesterday (4/28), Walgreens has gone back to their pre-COVID hours. They are open from 6am – Midnight again.

Location: 912 W Northwest Hwy, Grapevine Texas 76051

Phone: (817) 310-3072


They have paper products in stock and all employees are requited to wear masks and gloves. Social distancing markers are still in place.

Marshbugging: Mosquito Population on the Rise


Brazoria County Mosquito Control surveyor Darrin Griffith begins filling a truck with chemicals Monday at the department’s facilities in Angleton in preparation of spraying for the insects. (Photo: Andy Packard)

Brazoria County Mosquito Control surveyor Darrin Griffith begins filling a truck with chemicals Monday at the department’s facilities in Angleton in preparation of spraying for the insects. (Photo: Andy Packard)

Anyone who has stepped outside for any length of time the past few days likely hasn’t escaped the population explosion of the area’s most prominent pest.

Brazoria County Mosquito Control has caught the bug, too. Thousands of them.

Brazoria County Mosquito Control Director Jim Ryan said the county is experiencing its largest burst in mosquito activity in at least a year, based on a survey taken by the district.

The survey involves having people at about 200 spots around the county perform landing counts, in which they tally how many mosquitoes land on them below the waist without biting in a minute. Every counter reported more than 100 mosquitoes, with one reporting more than 500.

The next step for the district is to get those numbers down.

Brazoria County Mosquito Control will begin spraying today to help control the population — five nights with the trucks, and three days with the airplane to cover most of the populated areas, Ryan said.

Brazoria County Mosquito Control decides to spray based on information gathered in the field, said Darrin Griffith, a surveyor for the district. Surveyors check the number of mosquitoes in traps at surveillance checkpoints throughout the county. Surveillance is performed four days a week.

Employees begin their routes within 30 minutes of receiving their instruction, he said, and spray from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on a regular shift.

The department also factors resident input when determining areas to spray, Griffith said. People can call mosquito control district anytime they believe the mosquito population has crossed their tolerance level, he said.

“We do look at the fact of where people are calling as well,” he said. “It plays into it.”


While the recent spurts of rain have helped the breeding conditions for mosquitoes, they are not the main cause of the population surge, Ryan said. Tides pushed in by a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico last week are the larger culprit, pushing excess water into the marsh lands, a favored breeding spot for mosquitoes.

“Those eggs that laid there hatched off,” Ryan said.

Marshy areas around Jones Creek, Demi-John, Oyster Creek and Churchill are especially prone to heavy mosquito activity, but the newly hatched mosquitoes aren’t being selective in where they spread their misery, he said.

“It’s the same all over the county right now,” Ryan said.

Solicitan, a saltwater flood mosquito, is the most common species being seen right now, Ryan said. They come out of the marsh, are aggressive and bite during the day. They are strong daytime fliers, and can cover seven to 10 miles a day.

They also can stray more than 20 miles from where they hatch and are traveling to inland cities, Griffith said.

“The ones we’re fighting right now aren’t breeding in their neighborhoods,” Griffith said.

Solicitan is just one of the five dominant species in Brazoria County. A total of 44 species of mosquitoes, either single breed or a mix, can be found in the area.


The mosquitoes also could prove to be more than a nuisance, Ryan said. While they are not carriers of West Nile or other diseases, the volume can affect people with existing health conditions, including skin allergies, he said.

If disease-transmitting mosquitoes are found in Brazoria County, they usually are found in the northern half, including Pearland, Alvin, Angleton, and to a lesser extent, Lake Jackson, Ryan said.

“It has to do with what kind of urban neighborhood it is, and where those mosquitoes like to breed,” he said.

Residents can help fight the mosquito outbreak through simple upkeep of their property, Griffith said.

Brazoria County Mosquito Control recommends using yellow light bulbs instead of white ones on outside fixtures to repel the insect, drain any standing water, keep yards mowed and shrubs trimmed, and keep homes clear of any trash, brush or other debris.

“Mosquitoes are going to rest in shrubs, against grass and if there is a lot clutter,” Griffith said.

Agenda Available for City Council Public Hearing Sept. 8


To view or download the Agenda Packet, click HERE.

Special Meeting of City Council Addresses Budget Issues


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.

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

Agenda documents are posted online here:

Source: The Pearland Journal

County Aerial Mosquito Spraying Thursday, Friday and Monday

Brazoria County Mosquito Control will be doing aerial spraying in Pearland Thursday (Aug.14), Friday (Aug. 15) and Monday (Aug. 18) morning due to confirmed presence of West Nile Virus in tested mosquitoes. They will also increase their nighttime truck spraying in areas where mosquitoes have tested positive. While your county officials are taking measures to keep you safe, the best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to:

  • Avoid mosquito bites.
  • Use insect repellents when you go outdoors.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
  • Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
  • Use air conditioning, if you have it.
  • Empty standing water from items outside your home such as flowerpots, buckets, and kiddie pools.

Public Budget Meeting Dates Announced


Mark your calendars if you’re interested in the City budget process for 2015. You may look at the Proposed Budget here.

Officials Cut Ribbon on 35

IMG_6933-700x450Rain clouds overhead or not, a ribbon-cutting ceremony held last Friday at PISD’s administration offices was one that officials with the City, Chamber of Commerce and the County weren’t going to miss.

Standing on the newly reconstructed surface of State Highway 35, Pearland Mayor Tom Reid cut the ribbon that officially spelled the end of what seemed like endless delays and traffic snarls that plagued the corridor’s expansion.

The expanded corridor is now “substantially complete,” with some signal and turn lane work still to be completed.

State Rep. Ed Thompson, who had expressed concerns regarding the ongoing delays and provided regular updates on completion, was among those in attendance.

Construction began in 2009 and was expected to end in June 2013.

The project is a partnership between the city TxDOT, and was based on a 2007 study that recommended expansion to four lanes to ease traffic congestion.

Source: The Pearland Reporter News


City Looking for Citizens to Fill Board Positions

The City of Pearland depends on specialized boards and commissions, staffed and operated by residents, to assist and advise the City Council and the Administration on the community issues affecting Pearland.

City Council has open recruitment for seven boards with vacancies:

Animal Shelter Advisory Board
Building/Fire Code Board of Adjustments
Electrical Board
Gas & Plumbing Board
Parks, Recreation and Beautification Board
Library Board

Applications are currently being accepted. Click here to download an application.

For more information, contact the City Secretary’s office located at 3519 Liberty Dr., Pearland, Texas 77581 or call 281-652-1653.